1. A note or character of time, equivalent to two semibreves or four minims. When dotted, it is equal to three semibreves. It was formerly of a square figure (as thus:), but is now made oval, with a line perpendicular to the staff on each of its sides; formerly much used for choir service.
2. Any writ or precept under seal, issued out of any court.
3. A curved mark <breve/ used commonly to indicate the short quantity of a vowel.
4. (Science: zoology) The great ant thrush of Sumatra (pitta gigas), which has a very short tail.
Origin: It. & (in sense 2) LL. Breve, fr. L. Brevis short. See brief.