Collins Concise English Dictionary © HarperCollins Publishers::

cedilla /sɪˈdɪlə/ n
  1. a character ( ¸ ) placed underneath a c before a, o, or u, esp in French, Portuguese, or Catalan, denoting that it is to be pronounced (s), not (k). The same character is used in the scripts of other languages, as in Turkish under s
Etymology: 16th Century: from Spanish: little z, from ceda zed, from Late Latin zeta; a small z was originally written after c in Spanish, to indicate a sibilant



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