syllable1 of 2
: 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
: 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
syllabled; syllabling ˈsi-lə-b(ə-)liŋ
: to express or utter in or as if in syllables
Noun The word “doctor” has two syllables. “Doctor” is a two-syllable word. The first syllable of the word “doctor” is given stress.
Recent Examples on the Web
NounGuesses at sounds and syllable counts were no more likely to be right in a TOT state than otherwise. —Matthew Hutson, Scientific American, 1 June 2023 This racist phenomenon has been coined patanking by Indian-American actress Sakina Jaffrey—the blending of thousands of dialects into one accent by overstressing certain syllables or exchanging vs and ws. —Isha Sharma, Harper's BAZAAR, 31 May 2023 Instead of the traditional hip-hop group format of trading verses, Migos basically traded syllables, punctuating each other’s verses and flows with shouted interjections, ad-libs, onomatopoeia or just noises. —Jem Aswad, Variety, 24 May 2023 The syllables hung in the air as people waited for someone to walk up to the stage. —Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 16 May 2023 Both sometimes access a posh, low, slightly unnatural register for emphasis, and both speak with a pleasing but idiosyncratic cadence, clipping some syllables and drawing others out. —Lili Loofbourow, Washington Post, 16 May 2023 For example: In the van — the gray — the interior gray — sky gray — world gray — the cold of his hand — he — splayed — the coolness of his forehead — kissing the stubble of his forehead — kissing and muttering — same three syllables — waiting for warmth to return. —Dan Musgrave, Longreads, 9 May 2023 The more Berninger held his notes, the longer the vowels got, leaving fewer syllables in a line and thus less space for the jocosity and mystery of his words. —James Robins, Vulture, 1 May 2023 The chicks’ songs began as single tones, like syllables, represented as colored dots. —Burkhard Bilger, The New Yorker, 27 Mar. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'syllable.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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