consonant

[kon-suh-nuhnt]
See more synonyms for consonant on Thesaurus.com
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
  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.

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 for consonant

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3. concordant, congruous, conformant.

Antonyms for consonant

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for consonants

Historical Examples of consonants

  • 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.

  • 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


British Dictionary definitions for consonants

consonant

noun
  1. a speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant
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
Derived Formsconsonantly, adverb

Word Origin for consonant

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 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

consonants in Culture

consonants

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 New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.