Definition of grave accent in English:

grave accent


  • A mark (`) placed over certain letters in some languages to indicate an alteration of a sound, as of quality, quantity, or pitch.

    • ‘I did put together the first of two photo galleries at the weekend, but on its completion I realised with horror that I had mixed up my acute and my grave accents.’
    • ‘When the word has a grave accent over the vowel, it is pronounced with a voice that starts at a low level and then falls even lower.’
    • ‘In any case, what I said about combining diacritics still stands - for example, to handle Yoruba, you need to be able to combine underdotted vowels with acute and grave accents (for tone).’
    • ‘I guess it's possible that the reporter does know the difference, and is writing about the use of single quote and back quote as a method for keyboarding acute and grave accents; but if that's it, why not say so, and give an example?’
    • ‘Sorry, I didn't know how to use MS Word to put all the other accents, that is, the curvy ones, the marks that go below the letters, the grave accents, and so on.’


Early 17th century: French grave (see grave).