Definition of phonestheme
: the common feature of sound occurring in a group of symbolic words He points to a 1929 experiment by Edward Sapir in which Sapir's subjects were asked to match nonsense words with small and large versions of the same object. The subjects tended to match words with a high vowel (such as ee) to the small object and those with a low vowel (such as the o in “cot”) to the larger object. British linguist J.R. Firth later called these links between sound and meaning “phonesthemes.” — Michael Erard
phonesthemicplay \fō-ˌnes-ˈthē-mik\ adjective
Origin and Etymology of phonestheme
blend of phoneme and esthetic
First Known Use: 1930
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