| Definition -
A curved line placed over a vowel to indicate that it is short.
1. Its opposite is the macron, which is used to show that the vowel is long.
Etymology - The term derives from the Latin breve, short.
Oxford English Dictionary - Its first citation is from 1851:
"The different uses made of the breve, the macron, and the accents."
(G. Brown Gram. of Gramm. 810 note)