syl·​la·​bary ˈsi-lə-ˌber-ē How to pronounce syllabary (audio)
plural syllabaries
: a table or listing of syllables
specifically : a series or set of written characters each one of which is used to represent a syllable

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web It was written in Cherokee syllabary, a writing system that was only formally adopted by the tribe a few years prior. Megan Gannon, Smithsonian Magazine, 3 May 2022 The museum’s new curator Ugochukwu-Smooth C. Nzewi, who organized the exhibition, is pictured above with a selection of that sui-generis syllabary. The New Yorker, 4 Mar. 2022 With a collaborator, Rozin devised an experimental curriculum that moved children through degrees of linguistic abstraction by teaching them Chinese logographs followed by a Japanese syllabary, and only then applying the same logic to English. New York Times, 27 Dec. 2021 But nearly 600 years ago, a scientifically minded Korean king introduced hangul, an indigenous writing system often called the best designed syllabary in the world. New York Times, 15 June 2019

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

Word History


New Latin syllabarium, from Latin syllaba syllable

First Known Use

1586, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of syllabary was in 1586

Dictionary Entries Near syllabary

Cite this Entry

“Syllabary.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2022.

Kids Definition



syl·​la·​bary ˈsil-ə-ˌber-ē How to pronounce syllabary (audio)
plural syllabaries
: a set of written characters each of which stands for a syllable

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