Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. See fricative.
  • adj. Fricative.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A fricative.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A term used differently by different authorities; -- by some as equivalent to fricative, -- that is, as including all the continuous consonants, except the nasals m, n, ng; with the further exception, by others, of the liquids r, l, and the semivowels w, y; by others limited to f, v, th surd and sonant, and the sound of German ch, -- thus excluding the sibilants, as well as the nasals, liquids, and semivowels. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 197-208.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. A consonant uttered with perceptible blowing, or expulsion of breath; an alphabetic sound in the utterance of which the organs are brought near together but not wholly closed; a rustling, or fricative, or continuable consonant.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a continuant consonant produced by breath moving against a narrowing of the vocal tract
  • adj. of speech sounds produced by forcing air through a constricted passage (as `f', `s', `z', or `th' in both `thin' and `then')

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Latin spīrāns, spīrant-, present participle of spīrāre, to breathe.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Latin spirans, present participle of spīrō ("I blow"). Compare inspire, expire, respiration, etc.

Examples

  • If we posit a voiceless spirant value for Uralic *x by this stage anyway, over in PFP the closest equivalent would be śexćim.

    Update of my "Diachrony of Pre-IE" document

  • If they do obtain their suit, which with such cost and solicitude they have sought, they are not so freed, their anxiety is anew to begin, for they are never satisfied, nihil aliud nisi imperium spirant, their thoughts, actions, endeavours are all for sovereignty and honour, like [1819] Lues Sforza that huffing Duke of

    Anatomy of Melancholy

  • For (archaic) Sindarin a sign for a spirant m (or nasal v) was required, and since this could best be provided by a reversal of the sign for m, the reversible No. 6 was given the value m, but No. 5 was given the value hw.

    The Lord of the Rings

  • Where z occurs the sound intended is that of English z. gh in the Black Speech and Orcish represents a ‘back spirant’ (related to g as dh to d); as in ghâsh and agh.

    The Lord of the Rings

  • In the rearrangement of the Angerthas the following principles are observable (evidently inspired by the Fëanorian system): (1) adding a stroke to a branch added ‘voice’; (2) reversing the certh indicated opening to a ‘spirant’; (3) placing the branch on both sides of the stem added voice and nasality.

    The Lord of the Rings

  • When the lips are not tightly closed the sound produced is not a stop, but a spirant like the

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon"

  • In Late Latin there was a tendency to this spirant pronunciation which appears as early as the beginning of the 2nd century

    Encyclopaedia Britannica, 11th Edition, Volume 3, Part 1, Slice 1 "Austria, Lower" to "Bacon"

  • After Lat. i the v disappeared (rivus-um, Span. rio), but in most other cases it remained as a bilabial spirant euqal in balue to originally intervocalic b (novus-um, Span. nuevo).

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • Between vowels b and g have usually been kept, the former as a bilabial spirant: in more popular treatment d has disappeared

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

  • E. down to the fifteenth century, the initial b remained the stop or explosive (like English b) that it was in Latin, it has become in more recent times a bilabial spirant and as such is now co-equal with the Spanish v, which early gained this value both initially and medially.

    The Catholic Encyclopedia, Volume 14: Simony-Tournon

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