phonic

adjective

pho·​nic ˈfä-nik How to pronounce phonic (audio)
also
ˈfō- How to pronounce phonic (audio)
1
: of, relating to, or producing sound : acoustic
2
a
: of or relating to the sounds of speech
b
: of or relating to phonics
phonically
ˈfä-ni-k(ə-)lē How to pronounce phonic (audio)
 also  ˈfō-
adverb

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web French, which has a much more restricted phonic range than English, generates puns naturally—whole sentences can be turned into homonymic equivalents with very different meanings. Luc Sante, Harper's magazine, 10 Jan. 2019 An orca hears with its face and talks with its head: Plunging below 100 feet, K35 used phonic lips on either side of his blowhole as deftly as a horn player. The Seattle Times, 19 May 2019 The video, diving into the phonic craze, represented a rarity for the Trump White House, a jokey parody perhaps targeted at social media that did not delve deeply into anything overtly political. Eli Rosenberg, Washington Post, 17 May 2018 Tics can also be phonic such as grunting, throat-clearing or sniffing. Kate Murphy, New York Times, 14 Sep. 2017 Jeremiah Lockwood Friday, February 2, 7:00pm & 8:30pm, Joe Henderson Lab Lockwood mixes blues and multi-phonic African singing with the cantorial tradition of his Jewish heritage. Jim Harrington, The Mercury News, 15 June 2017 The clicks, produced in organs known as phonic lips at rates of up to 1,000 clicks per second, are inaudible to the human ear, but detectable through special, underwater microphones. Joanna Klein, New York Times, 9 Nov. 2016 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'phonic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History

Etymology

borrowed from New Latin phōnicus (in centrum phōnicum "place where the speaker stands when an echo is produced" and parallel terms), from Greek phōnḗ "sound made by something living, voice, speech" + New Latin -icus -ic entry 1

First Known Use

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of phonic was in 1823

Dictionary Entries Near phonic

Cite this Entry

“Phonic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phonic. Accessed 9 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition

phonic

adjective
pho·​nic ˈfän-ik How to pronounce phonic (audio)
 also  ˈfō-nik
1
: of, relating to, or producing sound
2
: of or relating to speech sounds or to phonics
phonically adverb

Medical Definition

phonic

adjective
pho·​nic
ˈfän-ik, except 2b also ˈfō-nik
1
: of, relating to, or producing sound
2
a
: of or relating to the sounds of speech
b
: of or relating to phonics
phonically adverb
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