Did You Know?
Both surd and its more common cousin absurd come from the Latin word surdus, meaning "unhearing, deaf, muffled, or dull." Absurd traveled through Middle French before arriving in English in the early 16th century. Its arrival preceded by a few decades the adoption of the noun version of our featured word directly from Latin, which referred to an irrational root, such as √3. By the early 17th century surd had gained a more general application. The adjective describes speech sounds that are not voiced-for example, the \p\ sound, as opposed to the voiced \b.
Origin of surd
Latin surdus deaf, silent, stupid
First Known Use: 1610
Definition of surd
1a : an irrational root (as √3)b : irrational number
2 : a surd speech sound
First Known Use of surd
Seen and Heard
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