Interna'tional Phonet'ic Al'phabet
the set of symbols and modifiers designed, principally on the basis of articulatory considerations, to provide a consistent and universally understood system for transcribing the speech sounds of any language: devised by the International Phonetic Association. Abbr.: IPA, I.P.A. See table under phonetic alphabet.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.