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

Examples of syllabary in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Cherokees had developed a syllabary and published their own newspaper. David Treuer, Foreign Affairs, 9 June 2020 This syllabary allowed reading, writing and later printing to prosper in the Cherokee Nation. Smithsonian Magazine, Smithsonian Magazine, 16 Feb. 2023 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 examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'syllabary.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

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 23 Apr. 2024.

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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