1

syllable

noun syl·la·ble \ ˈsi-lə-bəl \
|Updated on: 10 Jul 2018
1 : a unit of spoken language that is next bigger than a speech sound and consists of one or more vowel sounds alone or of a syllabic consonant alone or of either with one or more consonant sounds preceding or following
2 : one or more letters (such as syl, la, and ble) in a word (such as syl*la*ble) usually set off from the rest of the word by a centered dot or a hyphen and roughly corresponding to the syllables of spoken language and treated as helps to pronunciation or as guides to placing hyphens at the end of a line
3 : the smallest conceivable expression or unit of something : jot

Examples of syllable in a Sentence

  1. The word “doctor” has two syllables.

  2. “Doctor” is a two-syllable word.

  3. The first syllable of the word “doctor” is given stress.

Recent Examples of syllable from the Web

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

Origin and Etymology of syllable

Middle English, from Anglo-French sillabe, silable, from Latin syllaba, from Greek syllabē, from syllambanein to gather together, from syn- + lambanein to take — more at latch

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms


2

syllable

verb
syllabled; syllabling play \ˈsi-lə-b(ə-)liŋ\
1 : to give a number or arrangement of syllables to (a word or verse)
2 : to express or utter in or as if in syllables

First Known Use of syllable

15th century

in the meaning defined at sense 1

See Words from the same year
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Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



SYLLABLE Defined for English Language Learners

syllable

  • : any one of the parts into which a word is naturally divided when it is pronounced


SYLLABLE Defined for Kids

syllable

noun syl·la·ble \ ˈsi-lə-bəl \
1 : a unit of spoken language that consists of one or more vowel sounds alone or with one or more consonant sounds coming before or following
2 : one or more letters (as syl, la, and ble) in a written word (as syl*la*ble) usually separated from the rest of the word by a centered dot or a hyphen and used as guides to the division of the word at the end of a line


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one who attends or assists a leader

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