“Diacritic, Diacritical Mark (noun): A distinguishing mark given to a character or letter to indicated stress or pronunciation, such as a superscribed accent; phonetic sign. Adjective: diacritic, diacritical.
‘The ‘etymons,’ as he called them were the root terms for Pass and Fail, but inflected with prefixes, infixes, suffixes, and diacritical marks to such an extent, and so variously from fragment to fragment, that conflicting interpretations, in his opinion, could be said to figure the intellectual biography of studentdom, as has been amply demonstrated in a wealth of what he called Geistesgeschichten…. John Barth, Giles Goat-Boy.'”
Excerpted from: Grambs, David. The Random House Dictionary for Writers and Readers. New York: Random House, 1990.