syllable

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English[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Middle English and Middle French sillabe, from Latin syllaba, from Ancient Greek συλλαβή (sullabḗ), from συλλαμβάνω (sullambánō, I gather together), from συν- (sun-, together) + λαμβάνω (lambánō, I take).

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

syllable (plural syllables)

  1. (linguistics) A unit of human speech that is interpreted by the listener as a single sound, although syllables usually consist of one or more vowel sounds, either alone or combined with the sound of one or more consonants; a word consists of one or more syllables.
  2. The written representation of a given pronounced syllable.
  3. A small part of a sentence or discourse; anything concise or short; a particle.
    • Hooker
      Before any syllable of the law of God was written.
    • Shakespeare
      Who dare speak / One syllable against him?

Derived terms[edit]

Translations[edit]

Verb[edit]

syllable (third-person singular simple present syllables, present participle syllabling, simple past and past participle syllabled)

  1. (transitive, poetic) To utter in syllables.
    Aery tongues that syllable men's names — Milton.

Translations[edit]