Definitions

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

  • n. Mathematics An irrational number, such as √2.
  • n. Linguistics A voiceless sound in speech.
  • adj. Linguistics Voiceless, as a sound.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. An irrational number, especially one expressed using the √ symbol.
  • n. A voiceless consonant.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Net having the sense of hearing; deaf.
  • adj. Unheard.
  • adj. Involving surds; not capable of being expressed in rational numbers; radical; irrational.
  • adj. Uttered, as an element of speech, without tone, or proper vocal sound; voiceless; unintonated; nonvocal; atonic; whispered; aspirated; sharp; hard, as f, p, s, etc.; -- opposed to sonant. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§169, 179, 180.
  • n. A quantity which can not be expressed by rational numbers.
  • n. A surd element of speech. See Surd, a., 4.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Not having the sense of hearing; deaf.
  • That cannot be discriminated by the ear (?).
  • In mathematics, not capable of being expressed in rational numbers: as, a surd expression, quantity, or number. See II., 1.
  • In phonetics, uttered with breath and not with voice; devoid of vocality; not sonant: toneless: specifically applied to the breathed or non-vocal consonants of the alphabet. See II., 2.
  • Meaningless; senseless.
  • n. In mathematics, a quantity not expressible as the ratio of two whole numbers, as √ 2, or the ratio of the circumference of a circle to the diameter.
  • n. In phonetics, a consonantal sound uttered with breath and not with voice; a non-sonant consonant; a non-vocal alphabetic utterance, as p, f, s, t, k, as opposed to b, v, z, d, g, which are sonants or vocals.
  • To render dim or soft; mute.
  • Containing or involving a surd : thus [1 + ½] ½ is a surd expression but not a surd, since 1 + ½ is not a rational expression.
  • n. In mathematics: An indicated root whose value is irrational, but whose radicand is rational, as ½. A surd is quadratic, cubic, of order n, according as its exponent is ½, ⅓, 1/n;.

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

  • n. a consonant produced without sound from the vocal cords
  • adj. produced without vibration of the vocal cords

Etymologies

Medieval Latin surdus, speechless, surd (translation of Arabic (jaḏr) 'aṣamm, deaf (root), surd, translation of Greek alogos, speechless, surd), from Latin.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)

Examples

  • Jeremy Piven winning an Emmy three years in a row for that role, is up surd.

    Entourage Renewed For Sixth Season | /Film

  • So even though she may find her own action inexplicable or “surd,” she is in fact acting rationally, although she does not know it.

    Weakness of Will

  • County Monachan, whereat samething is rivi-sible by nighttim, may be involted into the zeroic couplet, palls pell inhis heventh glike noughty times ì, find, if you are not literally cooefficient, how minney combinaisies and per-mutandies can be played on the international surd! pthwndxrclzp!, hids cubid rute being extructed, taking anan illitterettes, ififif at a tom.

    Finnegans Wake

  • Must it needs be, that a daughter of the same father and mother must be more silly, more unsteady, more ab-surd, more impertinent, than her brother?

    Sir Charles Grandison

  • Or, rather of what ab-surd things does it make its votaries guilty?

    Sir Charles Grandison

  • Hence, as in Augustine, there is no intrinsic or surd evil; evil is justified as the means of developing man from bondage to self-conscious participation in the

    THEODICY

  • [4] For 'voiceless,' 'surd,' 'hard,' or 'tenuis' are sometimes used.

    New Latin Grammar

  • Coercion is the surd in almost all social theory, except the

    Public Opinion

  • Do you mean to say that you are not able to tell me what a surd is?

    A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man

  • After certain consonants it was hard to pronounce clearly, and so the sonant was changed into the easier surd, and such words as pushed and clipped became, in ordinary conversation, pusht and clipt.

    Chapter 9. The Common Speech. 3. The Verb

Comments

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  • "His voice was certainly the strangest I've heard from a creature of his kind-- at once surd and resonant, clipped and lyrical, with euphonious vowels broken by brusquely stressed consonants that reminded me a little of Careclough's Scottish brogue."
    The No Variations by Luis Chitarroni, translated by Darren Koolman, p 114

    September 16, 2013

  • 3-14-13 pisurd - silence please- (it should be 3.1415...) totally real number as in 'pi''ve got your number'?
    In Berkeley's forest, no one herd this rite!
    What a daunting spell-(rite) has been cast!

    March 15, 2013

  • That's why I don't play scrabble, I can't afford the helmet and protective vest.

    March 14, 2013

  • I got into a fight after playing this word in scrabble once.

    March 14, 2013

  • ad+surd?

    March 14, 2013

  • The number expressing the golden section is a surd, as commented on by jaime_d.

    March 14, 2013

  • The Latin surdus gave rise to sordino in Italian and sourdine in French, both meaning mute, the device that modifies the sound produced by musical instruments, especially in jazz.

    March 14, 2013

  • "The organic law of vegetable growth is the surd towards which the series one-half, one-third, two-fifths, three-eighths, and so one, approximates." "Fifty-seven Views of Fujiyama" by Guy Davenport

    January 19, 2010

  • With a simple explanation they are no longer absurd.

    November 16, 2007

  • an irrational number, that is, one which cannot be written as the quotient of two integers

    November 16, 2007