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 State constitutional and statutory schemes prohibiting private militias and paramilitary activity are therefore completely consonant with the Second Amendment. Jonathan Backer, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Opinion: Wisconsin should not tolerate illegal private militia groups," 19 Oct. 2020 So the only way to get there—and in any case the only way that is consonant with Trump’s toxic modus operandi—is to smear Biden as (1) corrupt and (2) a closet Marxist. Michael Tomasky, The New York Review of Books, "Biden’s Journey Left," 4 June 2020 The single change in consonant doesn’t begin to encompass the transformation. Steven Levy, Wired, "Big Tech Has a Trillion-Dollar Problem," 7 Feb. 2020 The show’s themes seem particularly consonant now in a country whose political atmosphere seems sick at heart. Peter Marks, Washington Post, "Insanity thrives, giddily, in Signature’s ‘Assassins’," 22 Aug. 2019 And, fittingly, some of the festival’s marquee names — Thundercat, Mark Giuliana, James Francies — are smoothly consonant with the best tastes of young listeners. oregonlive, "29 February concerts to love for Portland’s best live music," 28 Jan. 2020 The three operas varied distinctly 21st-century musical strategies, triangulating film music, Sondheim and latter-day minimalism’s consonant drive. Washington Post, "At the Kennedy Center, WNO’s Opera Initiative unveils a trio of novelties," 12 Jan. 2020 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 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Jason Pieper planted the 9-foot-tall and 11½-foot-wide consonant outside his Lake Elmo home in time for it to be dusted with a light snow. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "From Lake Street to Lake Elmo, big red K shines brightly again," 14 Dec. 2020 Jason Pieper outlasted all the others and on Tuesday won the two-week online battle for the giant metal consonant that drew 66 bids. Paul Walsh, Star Tribune, "Bidder's nearly $2K wins him the big red 'K' from atop the former Lake Street Kmart," 1 Dec. 2020 Every consonant was divided, so that the consonants disappeared. Rachel Syme, The New Yorker, "Mandy Patinkin Is Still Singing," 11 Oct. 2020 English and Dutch speakers are attuned to a similar vowel sound in bovine vocalizations, but hear different consonants at the start. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, "Animal noises sound different in other languages," 21 May 2020 The component sounds of Spanish words, cut down to two vowels and four consonants, are conveyed by whistling, the trick being to curl your fingers against your mouth with one finger outstretched, as if your hand were a gun. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, "The Alluring Promises of “The Burnt Orange Heresy” and “The Whistlers”," 28 Feb. 2020 Spoken languages all use contrasts in both vowels and consonants, organized into syllables with vowels at the core. Louis-jean Boë, The Conversation, "Examining how primates make vowel sounds pushes timeline for speech evolution back by 27 million years," 11 Dec. 2019 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

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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Cite this Entry

“Consonant.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Jan. 2021.

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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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