pal·​a·​tal ˈpa-lə-tᵊl How to pronounce palatal (audio)
: formed with some part of the tongue near or touching the hard palate of the roof of the mouth posterior to the ridge of bone behind the upper teeth
the \sh\ and \y\ in English and the \ḵ\ of ich \iḵ\ in German are examples of palatal consonants
of a vowel : front sense 2
: of, relating to, forming, or affecting the palate
palatal noun
palatally adverb

Examples of palatal in a Sentence

The first sound in the English word “jar” is a palatal sound.
Recent Examples on the Web Researchers found that the probability of an individual having infectious mononucleosis rose with palatal petechiae presence.5 The Epstein-Barr virus (EBV), which can cause mono, is not the only germ that can lead to palatal petechiae. Reven Widener, Health, 31 May 2023 As Romance Languages started to evolve out of Latin, the ñ was born from the need to represent the palatal nasal, a sound that was nonexistent in Latin. Lorenzo Reyes, USA TODAY, 16 Sep. 2022 In Dutch, it is pronounced Hakhar, using a palatal consonant that exists in Hebrew (though not in the name Hagar) and in Dutch. Cnaan Liphshiz,, 22 Sep. 2021 Kung-Ekoka, a musical language of nasal tones and palatal clicks. Juman Malouf, New York Times, 1 Dec. 2016

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

Word History

First Known Use

1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of palatal was in 1668

Dictionary Entries Near palatal

Cite this Entry

“Palatal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


pal·​a·​tal ˈpal-ət-ᵊl How to pronounce palatal (audio)
: of, relating to, forming, or affecting the palate
palatal itching
palatally adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on palatal

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