Definition of syllabic in English:

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Pronunciation: /səˈlabik/


1Relating to or based on syllables: a system of syllabic symbols
More example sentences
  • A clear-cut distinction cannot always be made between alphabets proper and syllabaries, sets of syllabic symbols as in the Japanese kana systems.
  • With the support of the Igloolik Research Centre, the names were transcribed into the syllabic orthography, and a parallel database using syllables was created.
  • To simplify a rather complex topic, for example, we can say that Spanish is a syllabic language in which the spoken language is driven by a small group of distinct syllables so that the written language is decoded easily by syllables.
1.1 Prosody Based on the number of syllables in a line: the recreation of classical syllabic meters
More example sentences
  • While there is no syllabic verse in existence that may be dated earlier than AD 650, such metres dominated for the next millennium.
  • The argument in favor of hexameter is thus analogous to Coleridge's endeavor to free himself from syllabic prosody in Christabel.
  • Poets turned to the syllabic meters of folk poetry, and the old Osmanli literary style gave way to the more direct language characteristic of most Western poetry.
1.2(Of a consonant, especially a nasal or other continuant) constituting a whole syllable, such as the m in Mbabane or the l in bottle.
Example sentences
  • As the examples show, a syllabic consonant is marked phonetically with a subscript vertical dash See L, M, N, R.
  • The schwa may be present or absent, and, if absent, may alternate with a syllabic l or r.
  • In the weak syllables of the language, the vowel is reduced in speech to a central weak quality (schwa) or is represented by a syllabic consonant.
1.3Articulated in syllables: syllabic singing
More example sentences
  • Settings are for three or four voices, mainly syllabic and homophonic, with the melody in the top voice.
  • For all the score's mad energy, the dramatic shapes are never in doubt, the climaxes are effective and the syllabic patter even starts to sound like real conversation, comic yet frantic.
  • Aboriginal songs include many kinds of vocalizations ranging from growling, grunting, and shrieking to bitonal syllabic chanting.


A written character that represents a syllable: Inuit syllabics
More example sentences
  • Some Inuit leaders, such as John Amagoalik and Jose Kusugak, have long advocated a common writing system, and even a move from syllabics to Roman orthography.
  • Schiff's forms depend (like Marianne Moore's) on interlocking enjambments, on syllabics, and on baroque grammar, or else (unlike Moore's) on dense repetitions derived from Provençal forms.
  • Their first formal assignment was to write a poem in syllabics, that is, one in which the syllables in each line were counted.



Pronunciation: /səˈlabək(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • The work of the Scottish parliament was always going to be a tough sell in screaming headlines, but the syllabically challenged tabloids did their best by promptly cutting this new institution down to size.
  • They experimented with this principle in vocal chamber music, developing a type of singing in which the words were sung syllabically with careful attention to their natural declamation in speech, modified by two features.
  • The consonants l, m, n, r also often have some of the qualities of vowels when used syllabically: l in apple, m in spasm, n in isn't, r in centre.


Pronunciation: /ˌsiləˈbisitē/
Example sentences
  • Seymour et al. have shown that simple and complex syllabicity affects decoding and orthographic depth affects both word and pseudoword reading.
  • When the [r] becomes non-syllabic, the loss of syllabicity is accompanied by dropping the vowel in the spelling.
  • A note on glides, syllabicity and tone in Gurung.


Early 18th century: from French syllabique or late Latin syllabicus, from Greek sullabikos, from sullabē 'syllable'.

Words that rhyme with syllabic

disyllabic, monosyllabic, polysyllabic

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: syl·lab·ic

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