Definition of spirant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈspʌɪr(ə)nt/


(Of a consonant) uttered with a continuous expulsion of breath.
Example sentences
  • There are three types of mutations, the nasal mutation, the spirant mutation and lenition.
  • Despite this assertion I do not believe the spirant pronunciation is obvious at all.
  • All the Welsh grammars say Welsh has 3 types of mutation - soft, nasal and spirant, and 9 consonants that are mutable.


A spirant consonant; a fricative.
Example sentences
  • The shifting of the voiced spirants and explosives did not extend over all the HG. dialects.
  • When we extend our analysis to Western and Southern Numic, we are forced to conclude that in no Numic language have the taps ever belonged to a series of spirants.
  • That leaves the rest of the ‘spirants’ free and clear.



Example sentences
  • The constraint which forces spirantization also predicts the distribution of released and unreleased stops.
  • This paper presents the results of a first acoustic phonetic investigation into voiceless spirantization in the variety of Tuscan Italian spoken in Siena.
  • This study addresses whether or not intervocalic nasal consonants in Spanish undergo spirantization in aerodynamic terms.


(also spirantise) verb
Example sentences
  • As a result, the endings are spirantized since they now follow directly on a vowel sound.
  • Since there is no voiced bilabial fricative in English, when you spirantize a [b] in English you often get [v].
  • But they did not participate in the later spirantizing and deaffrication processes that characterize the consonant systems of the recorded Iranian languages.


Mid 19th century: from Latin spirant- 'breathing', from the verb spirare.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: spir|ant

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