/breev, brev/, n.
1. a downward dipping curved mark over a vowel to show that it is short, or to indicate a specific pronunciation.
2. Law.
a. an initial writ.
b. a writ, as one issued by a court of law.
3. Music.
a. the longest modern note, equivalent to two semibreves or whole notes. See illus. under note.
b. Also, brevis. a note in medieval mensural notation equal to one-half or one-third of a longa.
4. Pros. a mark over a syllable to show that it is not stressed.
[1250-1300; ME < ML, L breve, neut. of brevis short; see BRIEF]

* * *

Universalium. 2010.