syl·​lab·​ic | \ sə-ˈla-bik How to pronounce syllabic (audio) \

Definition of syllabic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : constituting a syllable or the nucleus of a syllable:
a : not accompanied in the same syllable by a vowel a syllabic consonant
b : having vowel quality more prominent than that of another vowel in the syllable the first vowel of a falling diphthong, as \ȯ\ in \ȯi\, is syllabic
2 : of, relating to, or denoting syllables syllabic accent
3 : characterized by distinct enunciation or separation of syllables
4 : of, relating to, or constituting a type of verse distinguished primarily by count of syllables rather than by rhythmical arrangement of accents or quantities



Definition of syllabic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a syllabic character or sound

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Other Words from syllabic


syllabically \ sə-​ˈla-​bi-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce syllabic (audio) \ adverb

Examples of syllabic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective First pushed to write lyrics by Billy Joe Shaver of the Texas Playboys, Shires’ work today evokes the phrasing, narrative forms and syllabic alignment familiar to contemporary fiction or poetry. oregonlive, "Live music in Portland: March blooms with 23 must-see concerts," 27 Feb. 2020 In total, the show had upwards of 20 artists taking the stage to perform disjointed sets over their own vocals, with unusually long and awkward multi-syllabic call and responses chants. Marcel Friday, Billboard, "Los Angeles Shows Up to See 03 Greedo One Last Time at Globe Theatre Event," 18 June 2018 People who hear laurel are hearing a syllabic l in the second syllable, which has some similarities to the vowel sound at the end of yanny. Rachel Gutman, The Atlantic, "A Linguist Explains Why 'Laurel' Sounds Like 'Yanny'," 15 May 2018 See Cam’ron at this hometown show for a reminder of his syllabic splendor. New York Times, "Pop, Rock and Jazz in NYC This Week," 21 Dec. 2017 And with that, sensing there were no more multi-syllabic answers on the horizon, the questions ceased. C. Trent Rosecrans,, "Frustration boiling over as Cincinnati Reds' season nears end," 29 Sep. 2017 For English speakers, another huge obstacle may be the German language, with its syllabic pileups. Eric Asimov, New York Times, "WINE SCHOOL," 27 Apr. 2017 In contrast to Kendrick Lamar, who uses Compton’s rap history as the foundation for fanciful flights of syllabic dexterity and lyrical nerve, YG treats it as destiny. Jon Caramanica, New York Times, "Review: YG’s ‘Still Brazy’ Has the First Great Protest Song of the Election Season," 15 June 2016 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Most phones and keyboards need extra software to handle syllabics, so young Inuit text and email mainly in English, says Crystal Martin-Lapenskie of the National Inuit Youth Council. The Economist, "The Inuit agree on a common writing system," 3 Oct. 2019 Three use syllabics—characters to represent syllables—rather than the roman alphabet. The Economist, "The Inuit agree on a common writing system," 3 Oct. 2019 Thug is also a master of the art of taking mono-syllabic exclamations and turning them into nonverbal rhythmic signatures. John Adamian,, "Young Thug and Machine Gun Kelly at Xfinity in Hartford," 4 Oct. 2019 Elders who grew up with syllabics fretted that the shift to roman letters would erase part of their culture. The Economist, "The Inuit agree on a common writing system," 3 Oct. 2019

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

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First Known Use of syllabic


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1880, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for syllabic


Late Latin syllabicus, from Greek syllabikos, from syllabē syllable

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Time Traveler for syllabic

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The first known use of syllabic was in 1728

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Cite this Entry

“Syllabic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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More Definitions for syllabic



English Language Learners Definition of syllabic

linguistics : of or relating to syllables


syl·​lab·​ic | \ sə-ˈla-bik How to pronounce syllabic (audio) \

Kids Definition of syllabic

: relating to or being syllables

More from Merriam-Webster on syllabic

Nglish: Translation of syllabic for Spanish Speakers

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