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Definition of Circumflex

Circumflex: Curved like a bow. In anatomy, circumflex describes a structure that bends around like a bow. For example, the circumflex branch of the left coronary artery.

In linguistics, a circumflex is a caret-shaped mark (^) used over a vowel to indicate the pronunciation, length or the omission of a letter formerly pronounced. In French, it is called "un petit chapeau" (a little hat).

From the Latin circumflexus, bent around, circumflex, past participle of circumflectere, to bend around : circum- + flectere, to bend.

Source: MedTerms™ Medical Dictionary
http://www.medicinenet.com/script/main/art.asp?articlekey=23419
Last Editorial Review: 6/14/2012

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