noun, plural syl·la·bar·ies.

a list or catalog of syllables.
a set of written symbols, each of which represents a syllable, used to write a given language: the Japanese syllabary.

Origin of syllabary

From the New Latin word syllabārium, dating back to 1580–90. See syllable, -ary Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for syllabary

Historical Examples of syllabary

  • Kana signifies the Japanese syllabary,—the characters with which the language is written.


    Lafcadio Hearn

  • This syllabary and that invented for the Cherokees by Guess, are the only two in the world.

    The Progress of Ethnology

    John Russell Bartlett

  • A syllabary describes the god as a 'raging' deity, a description that suggests solar functions.

  • There are about 400 of these complex syllabic signs in the syllabary, instead of 26 letters as in English.

  • This syllabary enabled the Japanese to express the sounds of their vernacular without difficulty.

    The Progress of Ethnology

    John Russell Bartlett

British Dictionary definitions for syllabary


noun plural -baries

a table or list of syllables
a set of symbols used in certain writing systems, such as one used for Japanese, in which each symbol represents a spoken syllable

Word Origin for syllabary

C16: from New Latin syllabārium, from Latin syllaba syllable
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