Definition of phonaesthesia in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌfəʊnəsˈθiːzɪə/
(US also phonesthesia)


[mass noun]
Attribution of common elements of meaning or connotation to certain sound sequences, especially consonant clusters, for example initial sl-, as in slow, sleep, slush, slide, slip.
Example sentences
  • Phonaesthesia occurs when certain sounds become associated with certain meanings, even though they do not attempt to imitate the sound (as in onomatopoeia).
  • Phonaesthesia has been described as a type of conventional sound symbolism.


1950s: modern Latin, from Greek phōnē 'sound' + aesthesthai 'perceive'.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: phon|aes¦the¦sia

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