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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.
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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.
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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
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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
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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.

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adj.

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

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper