[soh-nuh nt]
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noun Phonetics.
  1. a speech sound that by itself makes a syllable or subordinates to itself the other sounds in the syllable; a syllabic sound (opposed to consonant).
  2. a voiced sound (opposed to surd).
  3. (in Indo-European) a sonorant.

Origin of sonant

1840–50; < Latin sonānt- (stem of sonāns), present participle of sonāre to sound1. See son-, -ant
Related formsso·nan·tal [soh-nan-tl] /soʊˈnæn tl/, so·nan·tic [soh-nan-tik] /soʊˈnæn tɪk/, adjectivein·ter·so·nant, adjectivenon·so·nant, adjective, nounun·so·nant, adjectiveun·so·nan·tal, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for sonant

Historical Examples of sonant

British Dictionary definitions for sonant


  1. phonetics denoting a voiced sound capable of forming a syllable or syllable nucleus
  2. inherently possessing, exhibiting, or producing a sound
  1. phonetics a voiced sound belonging to the class of frictionless continuants or nasals (l, r, m, n, ŋ) considered from the point of view of being a vowel and, in this capacity, able to form a syllable or syllable nucleus
Derived Formssonance, nounsonantal (səʊˈnæntəl) or sonantic, adjective

Word Origin for sonant

C19: from Latin sonāns sounding, from sonāre to make a noise, resound
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 sonant

1846, from Latin sonantem (nominative sonans), present participle of sonare "make a noise," (see sonata). As a noun from 1849.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper