[ lee-nis, ley- ]
/ ˈli nɪs, ˈleɪ- /


pronounced with relatively weak muscular tension and breath pressure, resulting in weak sound effect: in stressed or unstressed position, (b, d, g, j, v, th̸, z, and zh) are lenis in English, as compared with (p, t, k, ch, f, th, s, and sh), which are fortis.Compare fortis(def 1).

noun, plural le·nes [lee-neez, ley-] /ˈli niz, ˈleɪ-/.

a lenis consonant.

Origin of lenis

1925–30; < Latin: soft, mild, gentle
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for lenis

British Dictionary definitions for lenis

/ (ˈliːnɪs) phonetics /


(of a consonant) articulated with weak muscular tension

noun plural lenes (ˈliːniːz)

a consonant, such as English b or v, pronounced with weak muscular force
Compare fortis

Word Origin for lenis

C19: from Latin: gentle
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