mono·​syl·​la·​ble ˈmä-nə-ˌsi-lə-bəl How to pronounce monosyllable (audio)
: a word of one syllable

Examples of monosyllable in a Sentence

He answered all their questions with monosyllables like “yes” and “no.”
Recent Examples on the Web And so, while the two talked at and around Andy Warhol and to each other, Warhol sat with his tiny dachshund, Archie Bunker, in his lap and snapped the reporters’ pictures with his new Polaroid camera, answering direct questions with shrugs or vague monosyllables. Stephen Birmingham, Town & Country, 10 Aug. 2023 Hearing this jab of monosyllables is like being poked in the eye. Anthony Lane, The New Yorker, 4 Aug. 2023 His surprise was expressed in a monosyllable. Roger Robinson, Outside Online, 21 Dec. 2021 But where the two Stegosaurus brothers speak in Jurassic monosyllables, Stegothesaurus has the gift of a bountiful vocabulary. Meghan Cox Gurdon, WSJ, 22 June 2018 The result is an idiom of great spareness and simplicity: The words are short, mostly monosyllables. Gregory Hays, New York Times, 5 Dec. 2017 Original writer Derek Kolstad and director Chad Stahelski have returned for the sequel, alongside the taciturn Reeves, who brews up more of his Wickian magic while speaking infrequently and mostly in monosyllables. Katie Walsh, The Mercury News, 9 Feb. 2017 Still on the ground, Huete answers with monosyllables before using a cell phone to call his sister, who arrived at the scene soon after … James Hohmann, Washington Post, 26 May 2017 The title of Frantz is something else again, neither a piece of hand-holding nor an act of mild subversion, but a monosyllable with a gift for multitasking—and an index of the impacted richness that the film displays for roughly an hour. Leo Robson, Newsweek, 4 May 2017 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'monosyllable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


modification of Middle French or Late Latin; Middle French monosyllabe, from Late Latin monosyllabon, from Greek, from neuter of monosyllabos having one syllable, from mon- + syllabē syllable

First Known Use

1533, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of monosyllable was in 1533

Dictionary Entries Near monosyllable

Cite this Entry

“Monosyllable.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


mono·​syl·​la·​ble ˈmän-ə-ˌsil-ə-bəl How to pronounce monosyllable (audio)
: a word of one syllable

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