pho·​nate ˈfō-ˌnāt How to pronounce phonate (audio)
phonated; phonating

intransitive verb

: to produce vocal sounds and especially speech
phonation noun

Word History


back-formation from phonation, borrowed from French, from Greek phōnḗ "voice, speech" + French -ation -ation — more at phono-

Note: The French word has been credited to the anatomist François Chaussier (1746-1828), but it is not clear where or even if he used it in a publication.

First Known Use

1876, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of phonate was in 1876

Dictionary Entries Near phonate

Cite this Entry

“Phonate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

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