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 syllabling (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

beans, bubkes (also bupkes), continental, damn, darn (also durn), diddly [slang], diddly-squat [slang], doodley-squat (or doodly-squat), fig, ghost, hoot, iota, jot, lick, modicum, rap, squat [slang], 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

There are also significant differences in the information density of each language, meaning the amount of information contained per syllable. Olivia Goldhill, Quartz, "The language you speak changes how informative you can be," 8 Sep. 2019 Many Germans, on the other hand, are slow enunciators, delivering five to six syllables in the same amount of time. Eva Frederick, Science | AAAS, "Top stories: ‘Extreme male brain’ does not cause autism, a lost Maya city, and disappearing sharks," 6 Sep. 2019 Then, the species should evolve larger syllable repertoires over time. Cristina Robinson, The Conversation, "Complex birdsongs help biologists piece together the evolution of lifelong learning," 3 Sep. 2019 Alice In Chains commanded the communal spirit right out of the box without any urging, the crowd singing every syllable of the first two songs. Serene Dominic, azcentral, "Alice in Chains and Korn rock Phoenix on what could be called 'Unhappy Together' Tour," 1 Sep. 2019 But the Classic is bringing a lot more than just a ton of syllables to Canton. Marc Bona, cleveland.com, "Why is the Black College Football Hall of Fame Classic important?," 31 Aug. 2019 The generic name, dulaglutide, is more of a tongue twister, a seeming mishmash of syllables that’s probably impenetrable to most patients. David Lazarus, chicagotribune.com, "Column: Where do generic drug names come from? Two women in Chicago, that’s where.," 24 July 2019 The generic name, dulaglutide, is more of a tongue twister, a seeming mishmash of syllables that’s probably impenetrable to most patients. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Wonder where generic drug names come from? Two women in Chicago, that’s where," 23 July 2019 Every time Emma forgets or mispronounces an Esperanto word or syllable, Kuroda cracks her stick on a desk, floor or chalkboard and screams out for Emma to try again. Joanne Engelhardt, The Mercury News, "Theater review: ‘Language Archive’ talks the talk," 18 July 2019

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

Statistics for syllable

Last Updated

18 Sep 2019

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 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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