Definition of syllable
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
4 : sol-fa syllables
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
Examples of syllable in a sentence
The word “doctor” has two syllables.
“Doctor” is a two-syllable word.
The first syllable of the word “doctor” is given stress.
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
First Known Use: 14th century
First Known Use of syllable
SYLLABLE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of syllable for English Language Learners
: any one of the parts into which a word is naturally divided when it is pronounced
SYLLABLE Defined for Kids
Definition of syllable for Students
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
Learn More about syllable
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up syllable? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).