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syl·​lab·​ic sə-ˈla-bik How to pronounce syllabic (audio)
: constituting a syllable or the nucleus of a syllable:
: not accompanied in the same syllable by a vowel
a syllabic consonant
: 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
: of, relating to, or denoting syllables
syllabic accent
: characterized by distinct enunciation or separation of syllables
: of, relating to, or constituting a type of verse distinguished primarily by count of syllables rather than by rhythmical arrangement of accents or quantities
syllabically adverb


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: a syllabic character or sound

Examples of syllabic in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Still an inexperienced group player, André does show an inborn knack for instrumental conversation and picks his spots well, running short phrases while toying with syllabic inflections and extending runs without obstructing other players. Jonathan Rowe, SPIN, 7 Dec. 2023 What a listener hears are syllabic cries and whispers, as well as groans and shrieks, enhanced with further discordance from a varying set of instruments. Michael Dirda, Washington Post, 31 Aug. 2023 Making sense of his experience, for Auden, involved synthesizing in his art the disparate and divided, using formal principles, metric or syllabic or stanzaic. Nick Laird, The New York Review of Books, 16 Mar. 2023 The program can also handle complex, multi-syllabic words with ease, and can be instructed to add stress to words or syllables to alter the interpretation of sentences. Nathaniel Scharping, Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2018 The Americas, in turn, received the wheel, the horse, sugar, wheat, livestock, a syllabic script and, of course, rice. New York Times, 11 Nov. 2021 Germany’s nearly four-month-long lockdown has entailed no restrictions on the language’s propensity for multi-syllabic, often tongue-twisting words. Washington Post, 1 Mar. 2021 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, 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, 18 June 2018
For one thing, Morrisseau almost always signed works with his shaman’s name, Copper Thunderbird, in Cree syllabics on the front—never illegibly on the back of the painting, never in English and certainly never with a copyright symbol. Jordan Michael Smith, Smithsonian Magazine, 13 Feb. 2024 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, 3 Oct. 2019 Three use syllabics—characters to represent syllables—rather than the roman alphabet. The Economist, 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,, 4 Oct. 2019 Elders who grew up with syllabics fretted that the shift to roman letters would erase part of their culture. The Economist, 3 Oct. 2019

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

Word History



Late Latin syllabicus, from Greek syllabikos, from syllabē syllable

First Known Use


1728, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1880, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of syllabic was in 1728

Dictionary Entries Near syllabic

Cite this Entry

“Syllabic.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

Kids Definition


: of, relating to, or being syllables

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