syllable

noun
syl·​la·​ble | \ ˈsi-lə-bəl How to pronounce syllable (audio) \

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 How to pronounce syllable (audio) \

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

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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 One syllable and two letters easily cut through the artificial noise. Dan Woike, Los Angeles Times, "With Anthony Davis sidelined, Kyle Kuzma takes charge in Lakers’ win," 27 Dec. 2020 Lisa from Alberta, Canada, has a special problem: The voices of some men cause one of her eardrums to vibrate with every syllable. John Kelly, Washington Post, "Listen to this: The oddest sounds drive some people crazy," 11 Oct. 2020 John’s Gospel is featured slightly more (33 times), but with, of course, none of the John-ness: the In the beginning–ness, his droning light-tunnel back to the first syllable of Creation. James Parker, The Atlantic, "Reading Thomas Jefferson’s Bible," 10 Oct. 2020 The conductor urged us to pronounce each percussive syllable and not let the tempo drag. Bob Morris, New York Times, "A Choir Finds a Way to Sing. Just Ignore the Steering Wheel.," 7 Oct. 2020 She coos, sounding out each syllable with equal attention. Natalia Barr, WSJ, "From SZA to Springsteen, the Best Songs You Should Be Listening to Right Now," 30 Sep. 2020 Can of corn, Texas Leaguer, Humm Baby and one single-syllable bit of naughtiness that, with no fans, can pierce any level of fake crowd noise a team can generate. Henry Schulman, SFChronicle.com, "Ninth-inning lightning shocks Giants again — another homer off Gott, another loss," 17 Aug. 2020 And the team did a much better job of getting Sonja lit than doing her hair or makeup, because not a lash or a slurred syllable is where it's supposed to be all night. Jodi Walker, EW.com, "The Real Housewives of New York City," 3 July 2020 His speeches used simple, two-syllable words, to avoid seeming too much like an arugula-eating liberal. TheWeek, "Secret life of an anonymous speechwriter to the stars," 17 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for syllable

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for syllable

Last Updated

13 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Syllable.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/syllable. Accessed 21 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for syllable

syllable

noun
How to pronounce syllable (audio)

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 How to pronounce syllable (audio) \

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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