Definition: Consonant

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From Middle English consonant or consonaunt, from Old French consonant, from Latin cōnsonāns (sounding with), from the prefix con- (with) + the present participle sonāns (sounding), from sonāre (to sound). The Latin is a calque of Ancient Greek σύμφωνον or súmphōnon.


consonant (plural consonants)

  1. A sound that results from the passage of air through restrictions of the oral cavity; any sound that is not the dominant sound of a syllable, the dominant sound generally being a vowel.
  2. A letter representing the sound of a consonant.
    Every letter except A, E, I, O and U is a consonant, and Y is sometimes used as a consonant and sometimes as a vowel.

Derived terms

  • consonantary
  • consonant cluster
  • consonant gradation
  • nasal consonant


consonant (comparative more consonant, superlative most consonant)

  1. consistent, harmonious, compatible, or in agreement.
  2. Having the same sound.
  3. (music) Harmonizing together; accordant.
  4. Of or relating to consonants; made up of, or containing many, consonants.


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