Definition of mater lectionis in US English:

mater lectionis

noun

  • A letter which performs the function of a diacritical mark; (specifically in Hebrew writing) a consonantal sign which indicates that a vowel sound is to be supplied.

Origin

Mid 17th century; earliest use found in Brian Walton (1600–1661), bishop of Chester and biblicist. From post-classical Latin mater lectionis from classical Latin māter + lectiōnis, genitive singular of lectiō reading, probably after post-biblical Hebrew 'ēm (ha)qĕrī'āh, lit. ‘mother of the reading’.