con·​so·​nant | \ ˈkän(t)-s(ə-)nənt How to pronounce consonant (audio) \

Definition of consonant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : being in agreement or harmony : free from elements making for discord The decision was consonant with the company's usual practice.
2 : marked by musical consonances consonant chords
3 : having similar sounds consonant words
4 : relating to or exhibiting consonance : resonant



Definition of consonant (Entry 2 of 2)

: one of a class of speech sounds (such as \p\, \g\, \n\, \l\, \s\, \r\) characterized by constriction or closure at one or more points in the breath channel also : a letter representing a consonant usually used in English of any letter except a, e, i, o, and u

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Other Words from consonant


consonantly adverb

Examples of consonant in a Sentence

Adjective the temples and palaces of ancient Greece are among the most consonant buildings in architectural history his gentle behavior is consonant with his expressed belief in pacifism
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective The Tsimané have shown perceptual differences before: In an earlier study by McDermott and his colleagues, the Tsimané rated dissonant combinations of pitches, which Western listeners find grating, to be just as pleasant as more consonant chords. Quanta Magazine, "Perceptions of Musical Octaves Are Learned, Not Wired in the Brain," 30 Oct. 2019 An alternative theory is far more consonant with the facts. Joseph E. Stiglitz, Scientific American, "The American Economy Is Rigged," 1 Nov. 2018 Sample garments abound on shelves and dress forms at Knit Schitck — schtick being Yiddish for an entertainer’s routine and sharing some consonant sounds with stecken, German for stick, like knitting needles might be. Hillary Davis, Daily Pilot, "Of earls and purls: Costa Mesa knitting group makes accessories to look the part at ‘Downton Abbey’ showing," 13 Sep. 2019 That would never be consonant with border security! Colin Barrett, Harper's magazine, "“Just Keep Going North”," 5 July 2019 The Founders’ art consisted in the creation of a national institutional framework consonant with the Revolutionary commitment to local self-government. Thomas Wendel, National Review, "The Beginning of a Nation," 4 July 2019 The Assad government issued visas selectively and its minders herded journalists to stories that were consonant with its narrative. Muhammad Idrees Ahmad, The New York Review of Books, "How Assad Made Truth a Casualty of War," 7 Sep. 2018 Yiddish Jews were one recognized minority group in the ethnic hodgepodge of the Austro-Hungarian and Russian empires, and the only group whose status wasn’t consonant with a piece of land. Martin Peretz, WSJ, "‘Rooted Cosmopolitans’ Review: Of Persons and Peoples," 8 May 2018 But amid the double-consonant chants that filled the Wells Fargo Center with McConnell’s name, there was another side of the story, and an interesting one. David Murphy,, "Robert Covington had an all-star performance of a different kind in Game 4 | David Murphy," 8 May 2018 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The more words, the less fill — and so the fewer consonants. Washington Post, "Style Conversational Week 1354: Let’s do the twist," 17 Oct. 2019 In the new study, researchers gathered blood samples from 200 living people in groups whose DNA is poorly known, including foragers and hunter-gatherers in Namibia and South Africa who speak Khoisan languages with click consonants. Ann Gibbons, Science | AAAS, "Experts question study claiming to pinpoint birthplace of all humans," 28 Oct. 2019 In this reverberant space, though, consonants could have used more projection. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "D-FW connections abound in N.M. performances by pianist Haochen Zhang and the Santa Fe Desert Chorale," 6 Aug. 2019 Chords, some consonant, some whatever the cat might have created walking on the keys, came and went, came and went, most quietly. Mark Swed,, "Review: Why ‘Noon to Midnight’ is the new-music bargain that’s hard to beat," 3 June 2019 And a vowel followed by two consonants added a final 30 milliseconds. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "If you listen closely, the drumbeats of Amazonian tribes sound like human speech," 24 Apr. 2018 Click sounds, such as those found in some languages in Africa, make perfectly good consonants. Anne Pycha, Scientific American, "Why Click Speech Is Rare," 1 Dec. 2017 Whiskey and wine share a common consonant, and the two beverages will also share top billing at the Chicago Whiskey & Wine Festival. Adam Lukach, RedEye Chicago, "5 things to do this weekend in Chicago," 23 Feb. 2018 But if that vowel was followed by a consonant, the time after the beat went up an average of 80 milliseconds. Catherine Matacic, Science | AAAS, "If you listen closely, the drumbeats of Amazonian tribes sound like human speech," 24 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consonant.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of consonant


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


14th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for consonant


Middle English, from Latin consonant-, consonans, present participle of consonare to sound together, agree, from com- + sonare to sound — more at sound entry 1


Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin consonant-, consonans, from present participle of consonare — see consonant entry 1

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Time Traveler for consonant

Time Traveler

The first known use of consonant was in the 14th century

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Statistics for consonant

Last Updated

13 Nov 2019

Cite this Entry

“Consonant.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 6 December 2019.

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More Definitions for consonant


How to pronounce consonant (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of consonant

 (Entry 1 of 2)

formal : in agreement with something
music : in harmony



English Language Learners Definition of consonant (Entry 2 of 2)

: a speech sound (such as /p/, /d/, or /s/) that is made by partly or completely stopping the flow of air breathed out from the mouth
: a letter that represents a consonant especially : any letter of the English alphabet except a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y


con·​so·​nant | \ ˈkän-sə-nənt How to pronounce consonant (audio) \

Kids Definition of consonant

1 : a letter in the English alphabet other than a, e, i, o, or u
2 : a speech sound (as \p\, \n\, or \s\) produced by partly or completely stopping the flow of air breathed out of the mouth

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very cautious or careful

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