Definition of consonant in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈkänsənənt/


1A basic speech sound in which the breath is at least partly obstructed and which can be combined with a vowel to form a syllable. Contrasted with vowel.
Example sentences
  • The accumulated differences in the vowels, consonants, and syllable lengths gives dramatic speech a totally different pace.
  • After blending consonants and vowels, syllables are blended into words and words are used in meaningful sentences.
  • The word spilled out of her in a hushed stream of syllables, that awful combination of consonants and vowels that spelled shame and death for any woman in what was politely called the ‘entertainment’ business.
1.1A letter representing a consonant.
Example sentences
  • The children were asked to match speech sounds to written consonants and vowels, and they practiced related skills.
  • Each syllable is written as a combination of consonants and vowels, plus the tone mark.
  • Then they learned to read by pronouncing nonsense syllables formed by combining consonants with vowels, such as ba-he-bi.


1Denoting or relating to a consonant sound or letter: a consonant phoneme
More example sentences
  • From about 1600, however, they were gradually separated over a period of more than two centuries into the vowel letters i, u and the consonant letters j, v.
  • But the language doesn't have a lot of syllables that crucially have to be written ending in a consonant letter.
  • The consistency of pronunciation of the consonant ending can be illustrated with the words ending with s.
2 (consonant with) In agreement or harmony with: the findings are consonant with other research
More example sentences
  • For instance, SWAP'S support of alternative research methodologies is consonant with the multiplicity of methods used by members of the History and Theory Section.
  • Even when the editor's observations are not consonant with the latest research (a rarity) they can become new starting points of discussion.
  • Dick doesn't like to fly, and he had no particular desire to go there, and since we had pretty consonant views and I wanted to go to England anyway, we decided to write a joint paper.
in agreement with, consistent with, in accordance with, in harmony with, compatible with, congruous with, in tune with
2.1 Music Making a harmonious interval or chord: the bass is consonant with all the upper notes
More example sentences
  • There is a misconception here, since Wagner's practice was rather to use such unstable sonorities to enhance the music's eventual arrival at points of tonal clarity and consonant harmonic stability.
  • In the 6th century B.C. Pythagoras observed that simple ratios of lengths of strings determine consonant musical intervals.
  • And chords are groups of more or less consonant sounds which counterpoint has united!



Pronunciation: /ˌkänsəˈnan(t)l/
Example sentences
  • There is verse here and fable, both equally creative in consonantal calisthenics and comic content.
  • His work on reading Arabic, another mainly consonantal Semitic language that uses diacritics to disambiguate homophonous strings, also indicates a facilitating effect of pointing on readers mediated by context.
  • 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.


Example sentences
  • It is the destination of human life to develop consonantly according to basic natural laws.
  • Depending on the conservative's particular agenda, it either fits in consonantly with the whole program, or it is an essential feature in it.
  • Rather then consonantly defend their lives and individualism, too many Americans simply concede the altruistic view of man idealized by the Mother Teresa's of the world.


Middle English (in the sense 'letter representing a consonantal sound'): via Old French from Latin consonare 'sound together', from con- 'with' + sonare 'to sound' (from sonus 'sound').

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: con·so·nant

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