- (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).
- (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).
- (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.
- a letter that usually represents a consonant sound.
Origin of consonant
SynonymsSee more synonyms for consonant on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for consonant
Appeals to “collective will” and the judgment of “history” are not consonant with liberal thought.Anti-Zionism Is Still Kosher
October 24, 2012
Romney's teenage bullying hurts him because it is consonant with his adult record.Paul Begala on Romney: Once a Bully, Always a Bully
May 11, 2012
It was a lovely day, and every feeling of my heart was consonant to the scene.
(b) The part in the next line should, if possible, begin with a consonant."Stops"
The consonant is the distinguishing element of human speech.The Child-Voice in Singing
Francis E. Howard
Between the points of repose the combined sounds may or may not be consonant.A Popular History of the Art of Music
W. S. B. Mathews
They were consonant with early Roman mores which were warlike.Folkways
William Graham Sumner
- a speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant
- (postpositive; foll by with or to) consistent; in agreement
- harmonious in tone or sound
- music characterized by the presence of a consonance
- being or relating to a consonant
Word Origin and History for consonant
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.
early 15c., from Old French consonant (13c.), from Latin consonantem (nominative consonans), present participle of consonare (see consonant (n.)).