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[mon-uh-sil-uh-buh l] /ˈmɒn əˌsɪl ə bəl/
a word of one syllable, as yes or no.
Origin of monosyllable
First recorded in 1525-35; mono- + syllable Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for monosyllable
Historical Examples
  • Rufus interposed a monosyllable now and then, but his thoughts in the main were far away from theirs.

    A Gamble with Life Silas K. Hocking
  • I answered with a monosyllable which I knew he could not quite catch.

    The Friendly Road (AKA David Grayson) Ray Stannard Baker
  • She answered in a monosyllable, but kept her eyes cast down.

    Meg, of Valencia Myra Williams Jarrell
  • The monosyllable escaped her lips like the yap of a dog at bay.

    The Rider of Waroona Firth Scott
  • She looked at him for an appreciable fraction of a minute ere she answered, and when she did, it was in the monosyllable—“Yes.”

  • It was, in fact, the monosyllable of which Carmichael had just made use.

    Stingaree E. W. (Ernest William) Hornung
  • She frowned as if his monosyllable had interrupted her train of thought.

    The Phantom Lover Ruby M. Ayres
  • She struggled to make an answer, and the monosyllable, yes, was formed by her lips.

    The Vicar of Bullhampton Anthony Trollope
  • He made no reply to David's remarks save when one was necessary, and then his answer was no more than a monosyllable.

    To Him That Hath Leroy Scott
  • But, this time, the monosyllable was breathy, and not sharp.

    The Brentons Anna Chapin Ray
British Dictionary definitions for monosyllable


a word of one syllable, esp one used as a sentence
Derived Forms
monosyllabism, noun
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 monosyllable

1530s, from Latin monosyllabus "of one syllable," from Greek monosyllabos, from monos "single, alone" (see mono-) + syllabe "syllable" (see syllable).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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