- (linguistics) In the French language usage of the letter h at the start of a word which allows liaison with a preceding consonant.
- The French word homme ("man") begins by a mute h. Consequently we can say l'homme /l‿ɔm/ and les hommes /le‿zɔm/, but never /lə ɔm/ and /le ɔm/, like we do with the aspirated h.
- 1913, James Geddes, French Pronunciation, page 83:
- Whether the h be a mute h or an aspirate h, it may be regarded in either case as absolutely silent.
- 1994, Thomas M. Donnan, French Lyric Diction, page 83:
- In French initial h’s are called either mute h’s (the greatest number) or aspirate h’s (fewer in number, but frequent nonetheless).
- 2006, Laura K. Lawless, The Everything French Grammar Book, page 29:
- The only difference between the two is that a mute h allows contractions and liaisons in front of it, and an aspirated h does not.