syllable

noun
syl·la·ble | \ ˈsi-lə-bəl \

Definition of syllable 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

syllable

verb
syllabled; syllabling\ˈsi-lə-b(ə-)liŋ \

Definition of syllable (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

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

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Synonyms for syllable

Synonyms: Noun

beans, continental, darn (also durn), fig, hoot, iota, jot, lick, modicum, rap, tittle, whit, whoop

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Examples of syllable in a Sentence

Noun

The word “doctor” has two syllables. “Doctor” is a two-syllable word. The first syllable of the word “doctor” is given stress.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Most swamp swallows sang the same tunes, using the same common syllables, but there were a few rare types in each population, just as there are variations in human oral histories over time. Victoria Davis, Science | AAAS, "This swamp sparrow’s song is more than 1500 years old," 20 June 2018 Keweenaw Put the long E sound in the first syllable, not the second. Brian Manzullo, Detroit Free Press, "25 Michigan roads, destinations you're probably saying wrong," 27 June 2018 The syllables in their names held memories and told stories. Glynn Pogue, Vogue, "In Defense of Cardi B’s Baby Name," 13 July 2018 Even when the host nation is not playing, those three syllables are noisily spouted morning and night by energetic fans of all ages. Amie Ferris-rotman, Washington Post, "For the World Cup, the Russian people are all in, win or lose," 25 June 2018 Donna is strikingly similar in terms of syllable structure, so maybe she, too, can make a turn-around. Donna Vickroy, Daily Southtown, "Destined to be dowdy forever? The difficulty of being named 'Donna' in 2018," 7 July 2018 Reinhart is quiet and thoughtful, carefully weighing her words before speaking and drawing out her syllables for emphasis. Julie Kosin, Harper's BAZAAR, "Lili Reinhart Is a Hollywood Ingenue with No Time for Haters," 2 July 2018 Most of the participants were white women, stumbling over the syllables of Spanish-language chants. Marissa J. Lang, Washington Post, "‘We will not obey’: 575 arrested as hundreds of women rally in D.C. to protest Trump’s immigration policy," 28 June 2018 Twenty-first century country music doesn't have quite the same reverence for the old warble -- the acute bending of a single vowel into multiple notes and syllables. Andrew Dansby, Houston Chronicle, "Corsicana creates a Lefty Frizzell festival," 23 May 2018

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.

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First Known Use of syllable

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for syllable

Noun

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

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Dictionary Entries near syllable

syllabify

syllabism

syllabize

syllable

syllabub

syllabus

syllepsis

Phrases Related to syllable

in words of one syllable

Statistics for syllable

Last Updated

4 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for syllable

The first known use of syllable was in the 14th century

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More Definitions for syllable

syllable

noun

English Language Learners Definition of syllable

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

syllable

noun
syl·la·ble | \ ˈsi-lə-bəl \

Kids Definition of syllable

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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Comments on syllable

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the setting in which something occurs

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