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90s Slang You Should Know


[sib-uh-luh nt] /ˈsɪb ə lənt/
Phonetics. characterized by a hissing sound; noting sounds like those spelled with s in this
[th is] /ðɪs/ (Show IPA)
[rohz] /roʊz/ (Show IPA)
[presh-er] /ˈprɛʃ ər/ (Show IPA)
[plezh-er] /ˈplɛʒ ər/ (Show IPA)
and certain similar uses of ch, sh, z, zh, etc.
Phonetics. a sibilant consonant.
Origin of sibilant
1660-70; < Latin sībilant- (stem of sībilāns), present participle of sībilāre to hiss), equivalent to sībil(us) a hissing, whistling (of imitative orig.) + -ant- -ant
Related forms
sibilance, sibilancy, noun
sibilantly, adverb
nonsibilance, noun
nonsibilancy, noun
nonsibilant, adjective, noun
nonsibilantly, adverb
subsibilance, noun
subsibilancy, noun
subsibilant, adjective, noun
subsibilantly, adverb
unsibilant, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sibilant
Historical Examples
  • They had both become aware of a sort of sibilant breathing, and they looked round them in bewilderment.

    A Duet Arthur Conan Doyle
  • The name, also sibilant and thus easier to hear, was 'Esens'.

    The Riddle of the Sands Erskine Childers
  • Distinctly there came to their ear a sibilant, whispering sound.

  • "We have awaited your coming," she said in her sibilant voice.

    Priestess of the Flame Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • The sibilant foreign accent was there, but none of the broad boisterousness their audiences had loved.

    Scaramouche Rafael Sabatini
  • When they spoke Universal, their voices were sibilant, but not nearly so inhuman.

    The Colors of Space Marion Zimmer Bradley
  • The hush was stung by a long, low, sibilant sound; a single hiss insulted that sacred stillness.

    A Singular Life Elizabeth Stuart Phelps
  • She spoke French with the soft, sibilant intonation of the Spaniard.

    The Double Four E. Phillips Oppenheim
  • With the chief's sibilant warning the boys softly laid down the tools and motor parts they were handling, and stood at attention.

  • The guard had paused, and from his lips came a sibilant sound.

    Dick Merriwell Abroad Burt L. Standish
British Dictionary definitions for sibilant


(phonetics) relating to or denoting the consonants (s, z, / ʃ /, / ʒ /), all pronounced with a characteristic hissing sound
having a hissing sound: the sibilant sound of wind among the leaves
a sibilant consonant
Derived Forms
sibilance, sibilancy, noun
sibilantly, adverb
Word Origin
C17: from Latin sībilāre to hiss, of imitative origin; compare Greek sizein to hiss
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 sibilant

1660s, from Latin sibilantem (nominative sibilans), present participle of sibilare "to hiss, whistle," possibly of imitative origin (cf. Greek sizein "to hiss," Lettish sikt "to hiss," Old Church Slavonic svistati "to hiss, whistle"). Related: Sibilance; sibilation (1620s).


"speech sound having a hissing effect," 1772, from sibilant (adj.).


"speech sound having a hissing effect," 1772, from sibilant (adj.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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sibilant in Medicine

sibilant sib·i·lant (sĭb'ə-lənt)
Of, characterized by, or producing a hissing sound like that of (s) or (sh).

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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