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consonant

[kon-suh-nuh nt] /ˈkɒn sə nənt/
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
3.
in agreement; agreeable; in accord; consistent (usually followed by to or with):
behavior consonant with his character.
4.
corresponding in sound, as words.
5.
harmonious, as sounds.
6.
Music. constituting a consonance.
7.
Physics. noting or pertaining to sounds exhibiting consonance.
Origin of consonant
1350-1400
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 forms
consonantlike, adjective
consonantly, adverb
unconsonant, adjective
Synonyms
3. concordant, congruous, conformant.
Antonyms
6. dissonant.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for consonants
Historical Examples
  • The consonants were reproduced but the reader was forced to guess at the vowels.

    Ancient Man Hendrik Willem van Loon
  • His consonants were already a little slurred and he knew Gloria was ashamed of him.

    The Doorway Evelyn E. Smith
  • By means of consonants we articulate our words; that is, we give them joints.

    The Child-Voice in Singing Francis E. Howard
  • It is as if the composer were endeavoring to set to melody the consonants of his name.

    Old Fogy James Huneker
  • Perhaps some of us struggle along with consonants that spell somebody else.

    Christmas Zona Gale
  • But in the Choctaw language, syllables often end with consonants.

  • After that he could alter the vowels and consonants to suit his vocal convenience.

    The Merry-Go-Round Carl Van Vechten
  • No one has done it with v and j treated as consonants; but you and I can do it.

    Over the Teacups Oliver Wendell Holmes, Sr.
  • There is no absolute division between vowels and consonants.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
  • All other consonants are semivowels, and are pronounced with a continuous sound.

    Orthography Elmer W. Cavins
British Dictionary definitions for consonants

consonant

/ˈkɒnsənənt/
noun
1.
a speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant
adjective
2.
(postpositive; foll by with or to) consistent; in agreement
3.
harmonious in tone or sound
4.
(music) characterized by the presence of a consonance
5.
being or relating to a consonant
Derived Forms
consonantly, 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
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Word Origin and History for consonants

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.

consonant

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
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consonants in Culture

consonants definition


Letters of the alphabet that stand for sounds often made with a closed or partially closed mouth: B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Z, and sometimes Y (as in yellow). (Compare vowels.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Word Value for consonants

12
16
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