A mark (¸) placed beneath the letter c, as in the spelling of the French word garçon, to indicate that the letter is to be pronounced (s).
A hooklike mark put under c, as in some French words, to indicate that it is to be sounded as the voiceless palatal fricative (s), as in façade.
(orthography) In the spelling of Catalan, French, Portuguese and some other languages, a mark sometimes placed under the letter c to indicate that it is pronounced /s/ rather than /k/, as in French menaçant and Portuguese almoço, and also used in various other languages to change the sounds of other letters.
Origin of cedilla
- Obsolete Spanish diminutive of ceda the letter z (so called because a small z was formerly written after a c, and later below it, to indicate that the normal hard c was to be pronounced as a sibilant, like s or z) from Late Latin zēta zeta from Greek zeta
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- Spanish cedilla, from older zedilla (“little zed”)