What does syllable mean?

Definitions for syllable
ˈsɪl ə bəlsyl·la·ble

Here are all the possible meanings and translations of the word syllable.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. syllablenoun

    a unit of spoken language larger than a phoneme

    "the word `pocket' has two syllables"


  1. syllablenoun

    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. syllablenoun

    The written representation of a given pronounced syllable.

  3. syllableverb

    To utter in syllables.

    Aery tongues that syllable men's names uE00025979uE001 Milton.

  4. Etymology: Middle English and Middle French sillabe, from syllaba, from συλλαβή, from συλλαμβάνω, from συν + λαμβάνω.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. SYLLABLEnoun

    Etymology: συλλαϐὴ; syllabe, French.

    I heard
    Each syllable that breath made up between them. William Shakespeare.

    There is that property in all letters of aptness to be conjoined in syllables and words, through the voluble motions of the organs from one stop or figure to another, that they modify and discriminate the voice without appearing to discontinue it. William Holder, Elements of Speech.

    Abraham, Job, and the rest that lived before any syllable of the law of God was written, did they not sin as much as we do in every action not commanded? Richard Hooker.

    To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow,
    Creeps in this petty pace from day to day,
    To the last syllable of recorded time;
    And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
    The way to dusty death. William Shakespeare, Macbeth.

    He hath told so many melancholy stories, without one syllable of truth, that he hath blunted the edge of my fears. Jonathan Swift.

  2. To Syllableverb

    To utter; to pronounce; to articulate. Not in use.

    Etymology: from the noun.

    Airy tongues that syllable mens names
    On sands and shores, and desart wildernesses. John Milton.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Syllablenoun

    an elementary sound, or a combination of elementary sounds, uttered together, or with a single effort or impulse of the voice, and constituting a word or a part of a word. In other terms, it is a vowel or a diphtong, either by itself or flanked by one or more consonants, the whole produced by a single impulse or utterance. One of the liquids, l, m, n, may fill the place of a vowel in a syllable. Adjoining syllables in a word or phrase need not to be marked off by a pause, but only by such an abatement and renewal, or reenforcement, of the stress as to give the feeling of separate impulses. See Guide to Pronunciation, /275

  2. Syllablenoun

    in writing and printing, a part of a word, separated from the rest, and capable of being pronounced by a single impulse of the voice. It may or may not correspond to a syllable in the spoken language

  3. Syllablenoun

    a small part of a sentence or discourse; anything concise or short; a particle

  4. Syllableverb

    to pronounce the syllables of; to utter; to articulate

  5. Etymology: [OE. sillable, OF. sillabe, F. syllabe, L. syllaba, Gr. that which is held together, several letters taken together so as to form one sound, a syllable, fr. to take together; with + to take; cf. Skr. labh, rabh. Cf. Lemma, Dilemma.]


  1. Syllable

    A syllable is a unit of organization for a sequence of speech sounds. For example, the word water is composed of two syllables: wa and ter. A syllable is typically made up of a syllable nucleus with optional initial and final margins. Syllables are often considered the phonological "building blocks" of words. They can influence the rhythm of a language, its prosody, its poetic meter and its stress patterns. Syllabic writing began several hundred years before the first letters. The earliest recorded syllables are on tablets written around 2800 BC in the Sumerian city of Ur. This shift from pictograms to syllables has been called "the most important advance in the history of writing". A word that consists of a single syllable is called a monosyllable. Similar terms include disyllable for a word of two syllables; trisyllable for a word of three syllables; and polysyllable, which may refer either to a word of more than three syllables or to any word of more than one syllable.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Syllable

    sil′a-bl, n. several letters taken together so as to form one sound: a word or part of a word uttered by a single effort of the voice: a small part of a sentence.—v.t. to express by syllables, to utter.—n. Syll′abary, a list of characters representing syllables—also Syllabā′rium.—adjs. Syllab′ic, -al, consisting of a syllable or syllables.—adv. Syllab′ically.—vs.t. Syllab′icāte, Syllab′ify (pa.t. and pa.p. syllab′ified), to form into syllables—ns. Syllabicā′tion, Syllabificā′tion; Syll′abism, syllabic character, representation of syllables. [L. syllaba—Gr. syllabēsyn, with, lab-, lambanein, to take.]

Matched Categories

How to pronounce syllable?

How to say syllable in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of syllable in Chaldean Numerology is: 3

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of syllable in Pythagorean Numerology is: 7

Examples of syllable in a Sentence

  1. Irwin Michael:

    A lot of people are waiting for (the Fed) - basically every syllable of their pronouncement and whatever their view is looking forward.

  2. Henry David Thoreau:

    I have lived some thirty-odd years on this planet, and I have yet to hear the first syllable of valuable or even earnest advice from my seniors.

  3. Louis Aragon:

    The whole fauna of human fantasies, their marine vegetation, drifts and luxuriates in the dimly lit zones of human activity, as though plaiting thick tresses of darkness. Here, too, appear the lighthouses of the mind, with their outward resemblance to less pure symbols. The gateway to mystery swings open at the touch of human weakness and we have entered the realms of darkness. One false step, one slurred syllable together reveal a man's thoughts.

  4. Dejan Stojanovic:

    Cosmos is God, who whispered the syllable of life.

  5. Don Henley:

    I try to write conversationally; I try to write like people speak and put the emphasis on the right syllable.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for syllable

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

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    a state of dishonor
    • A. ignominy
    • B. breastwork
    • C. impurity
    • D. secession

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