phonology

noun

pho·​nol·​o·​gy fə-ˈnä-lə-jē How to pronounce phonology (audio)
fō-
1
: the science of speech sounds including especially the history and theory of sound changes in a language or in two or more related languages
2
: the phonetics and phonemics of a language at a particular time
phonological
ˌfō-nə-ˈlä-ji-kəl How to pronounce phonology (audio)
 also  ˌfä-
adjective
or less commonly phonologic
ˌfō-nə-ˈlä-jik How to pronounce phonology (audio)
 also  ˌfä-
phonologically adverb
phonologist noun

Examples of phonology in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web An expert in music and mathematics and an authority on English phonology, he had been contacted by the editor James Murray to assist with compiling what would become the Oxford English Dictionary. Malcolm Forbes, WSJ, 7 Dec. 2023 To me, the most interesting result here is that taboo words don't have a characteristic phonology, but phonology does determine how easily a word can be paired with a taboo term. Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2020 The calls and songs of some species in these groups appear to have even more in common with human language, such as conveying information intentionally and using simple forms of some of the elements of human language such as phonology, semantics and syntax. Betsy Mason, Smithsonian Magazine, 25 Feb. 2022 The authors then tried to predict the tabooness of each word based on 23 variables, which included both semantics (meaning) and phonology (word length and sound). Neuroskeptic, Discover Magazine, 31 Mar. 2020 Baker-Bell says Black language is a legitimate language with syntax, grammatical features, phonology and semantics. USA Today, 17 June 2021 Lian-Hee Wee, a professor at Hong Kong Baptist University who studies Cantonese phonology, is slightly more optimistic in Hong Kong’s case. Mary Hui, Quartz, 3 July 2020 What — beyond a better understanding of the social and economic consequences of English phonology — does Eliza Doolittle actually get from Henry Higgins? Chris Jones, chicagotribune.com, 30 Apr. 2017 See More

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

Word History

Etymology

phono- + -logy

First Known Use

1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of phonology was in 1798

Dictionary Entries Near phonology

Cite this Entry

“Phonology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/phonology. Accessed 21 Feb. 2024.

Medical Definition

phonology

noun
pho·​nol·​o·​gy fə-ˈnäl-ə-jē, fō- How to pronounce phonology (audio)
plural phonologies
1
: the science of speech sounds including especially the history and theory of sound changes in a language or in two or more related languages
2
: the phonetics and phonemics of a language at a particular time
phonological
ˌfōn-ᵊl-ˈäj-i-kəl also ˌfän-ᵊl-
adjective
also phonologic
phonologically adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on phonology

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!