Definition of sibilant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsibələnt/


1(Of a speech sound) sounded with a hissing effect, for example s, sh.
Example sentences
  • Though everyone else in the picture speaks in some variation of a British accent, poor Jolie has been given the Transylvanian throat-sucker's throaty, sibilant vowels, as well as a wardrobe of snakes.
  • The addition of e before s after sibilant consonants (pass/passes) and final o (go/goes).
  • Modern Portuguese is characterized by an abundance of sibilant and palatal consonants and a broad spectrum of vowel sounds (five nasal phonemes and eight to ten oral ones).
1.1Making or characterized by a hissing sound: his sibilant whisper
More example sentences
  • There were shouts and laughter and sibilant whispers.
  • You hear the sibilant whisper of gentle waves washing the shore and you know the sea is calm tonight.
  • We all spoke German, too, at the table - except when talking to the waitress, when we settled into sibilant cadences and sharp vowels.


A sibilant speech sound.
Example sentences
  • He kept separate the constituents of consonantal clusters, relishing sibilants and fricatives as much as plosives and liquids, and studied the duration of pauses as carefully as the duration of syllables.
  • Some readers do elocution lessons to get rid of troublesome sibilants or worrisome vowels (try imitating a fish).
  • But I love hearing French rapped - all those elisions and sibilants are a dreamy alternative to hard-consonant English spitting.



Pronunciation: /ˈsibələns/
Example sentences
  • After about a minute, a single car stopped in front of them, its door hissing open with pneumatic sibilance.
  • His speed-speak makes for a high-energy performance, but when compounded with a slight sibilance, it compels the audience to pay close attention to catch what he's saying.
  • Floating in glass-topped court-tank of aquamarine. Underwater wave lengths of muffled sibilance, mutated boom.


Mid 17th century: from Latin sibilant- 'hissing', from the verb sibilare.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sib·i·lant

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