American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition
- n. A unit of spoken language consisting of a single uninterrupted sound formed by a vowel, diphthong, or syllabic consonant alone, or by any of these sounds preceded, followed, or surrounded by one or more consonants.
- n. One or more letters or phonetic symbols written or printed to approximate a spoken syllable.
- n. The slightest bit of spoken or written expression: Do not alter a syllable of this message.
- v. To pronounce in syllables.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- n. The smallest separately articulated element in human utterance; a vowel, alone, or accompanied by one or more consonants, and separated by these or by a pause from a preceding or following vowel; one of the successive parts or joints into which articulated speech is divided, being either a whole word, composed of a single vowel (whether simple or compound) with accompanying consonants, or a part of a word containing such a vowel, separated from a preceding or following vowel either by a hiatus (that is, an instant of silence) or, much more usually, by an intervening consonant, or more than one. Syllables are the separate successive parts into which the ear apprehends the continuous utterances of speech as divided, their separateness consisting mainly in the alternation of opener and closer elements, or vowels and consonants. A normal syllable is a vowel utterance attended with subsidiary consonantal utterances. As to what sounds shall have vowel value in syllable-making, different languages differ; English allows, besides those usually called vowels, also
land n. as in reckon(rek-n), reckoned (rek-nd), riddle (rid-l), riddles (rid-lz). If the vowel is attended by both sonant and surd consonants, the sonant are in general nearer it, as in print. flirt; and also, as in the same words, the opener sounds are nearer it than the closer. But the intricacy of construction of English syllables is tolerated by but few languages; and many (as the Polynesian) will bear nothing more than a single consonant to a vowel, and that one only before it. The assignment of a consonant or of consonants in syllabication to the preceding or the following vowel is in great part a matter of convention, depending on no real principle: thus, in alley, for example, the l is a division between the two vowels, like a wall between two fields, belonging to one no more than to the other. It is on syllabic division that the “articulate” character of human speech depends. (See articulate. Also compare voweland consonant.) In prosody syllables are classed as long, short, and common (see these adjectives). See also time.
- n. In music, one of the arbitrary combinations of consonants and vowels used in solmization.
- n. The least expression of language or thought; a particle.
- To divide into syllables.
- To pronounce syllable by syllable; articulate; utter.
- To speak.
- n. linguistics A unit of human speech that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound, although syllables usually consist of one or more vowel sounds, either alone or combined with the sound of one or more consonants; a word consists of one or more syllables.
- n. The written representation of a given pronounced syllable.
- v. transitive, poetic To utter in syllables.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. An elementary sound, or a combination of elementary sounds, uttered together, or with a single effort or impulse of the voice, and constituting a word or a part of a word. In other terms, it is a vowel or a diphtong, either by itself or flanked by one or more consonants, the whole produced by a single impulse or utterance. One of the liquids,
l, m, n, may fill the place of a vowel in a syllable. Adjoining syllables in a word or phrase need not to be marked off by a pause, but only by such an abatement and renewal, or reënforcement, of the stress as to give the feeling of separate impulses. See Guide to Pronunciation, §275.
- n. In writing and printing, a part of a word, separated from the rest, and capable of being pronounced by a single impulse of the voice. It may or may not correspond to a syllable in the spoken language.
- n. A small part of a sentence or discourse; anything concise or short; a particle.
- v. To pronounce the syllables of; to utter; to articulate.
- n. a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme
- Middle English and Middle French sillabe, from Latin syllaba, from Ancient Greek συλλαβή (sullabē), from συλλαμβάνω (sullambanō, "I gather together"), from συν- (sun-, "together") + λαμβάνω (lambanō, "I take"). (Wiktionary)
- Middle English sillable, from Anglo-Norman, alteration of Old French sillabe, from Latin syllaba, from Greek sullabē, from sullabein, second aorist of sullambanein, to combine in pronunciation : sun-, syn- + lambanein, to take. (American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
“Next, (in order to sustain his anti-_th_ theory,) he says, (Vol.III. p. 227,) that "the last syllable of 'murder,' then written _mur_th_er_, _seems to have been pronounced somewhat like the same syllable_ of the French _meurtre_.”
“_terminating syllable, _ retains its distinct and intrinsic meaning, as much as when associated with a verb by juxtaposition: consequently, an "auxiliary verb" may form a part of a mood or tense, or passive verb, with as much propriety as a _terminating syllable_.”
“_radical pitch varies from syllable to syllable_, forming a diatonic melody.”
“But – and we come to a divergence – this method of counting does, in French practice, often do away with the rhythm so delightful to an English ear; in Chinese, no such violence occurs, as each syllable is a word and no collection of such words can fall into a metric pulse as French words can, and, in their Chansons, are permitted to do.”
“In English, the stress on a syllable is a matter of WEIGHT ... you press on the stressed syllable, you put some weight on it – you push it down ... you hit it.”
“Naming a town "Haag" would just be odd, as it needs an article (compare a town named "Hedge" in English speaking countries) and the single syllable is metrically awkward as well.”
“Which syllable is stressed is a major part of distinguishing these words when you hear them, as the actual endings added, “ic” and “er”, are themselves very short.”
“The reduplication of the first syllable is a common way of implying repetitive action, as "to rub or scratch" implies. back”
““A Chinese syllable is composed of an initial and a final” Hmm ….”
“A Chinese syllable is composed of an initial and a final.”
These user-created lists contain the word ‘syllable’.
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