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consonant

[kon-suh-nuh nt]
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noun
  1. Phonetics.
    1. (in English articulation) a speech sound produced by occluding with or without releasing (p, b; t, d; k, g), diverting (m, n, ng), or obstructing (f, v; s, z, etc.) the flow of air from the lungs (opposed to vowel).
    2. (in a syllable) any sound other than the sound of greatest sonority in the syllable, as b, r, and g in brig (opposed to sonant).Compare vowel(def 1b).
    3. (in linguistic function) a concept empirically determined as a phonological element in structural contrast with vowel, as the b of be, the w of we, the y, s, and t of yeast, etc.
  2. a letter that usually represents a consonant sound.
adjective
  1. in agreement; agreeable; in accord; consistent (usually followed by to or with): behavior consonant with his character.
  2. corresponding in sound, as words.
  3. harmonious, as sounds.
  4. Music. constituting a consonance.
  5. Physics. noting or pertaining to sounds exhibiting consonance.
  6. consonantal.

Origin of consonant

1350–1400; Middle English consona(u)nt (< Anglo-French) < Latin consonant- (stem of consonāns, present participle of consonāre to sound with or together). See con-, sonant
Related formscon·so·nant·like, adjectivecon·so·nant·ly, adverbun·con·so·nant, adjective

Synonyms

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3. concordant, congruous, conformant.

Antonyms

6. dissonant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for consonant

consonant

noun
  1. a speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant
adjective
  1. (postpositive; foll by with or to) consistent; in agreement
  2. harmonious in tone or sound
  3. music characterized by the presence of a consonance
  4. being or relating to a consonant
Derived Formsconsonantly, adverb

Word Origin

C14: from Latin consonāns, from consonāre to sound at the same time, be in harmony, from sonāre to sound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for consonant

n.

early 14c., "sound other than a vowel," from Latin consonantem (nominative consonans), present participle of consonare "to sound together, sound aloud," from com- "with" (see com-) + sonare "to sound" (see sonata). Consonants were thought of as sounds that are only produced together with vowels.

adj.

early 15c., from Old French consonant (13c.), from Latin consonantem (nominative consonans), present participle of consonare (see consonant (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper