9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[kon-suh-nuh nt] /ˈkɒn sə nənt/
  1. (in English articulation) a speech sound produced by occluding with or without releasing (p, b; t, d; k, g), diverting (m, n, ng), or obstructing (f, v; s, z, etc.) the flow of air from the lungs (opposed to vowel).
  2. (in a syllable) any sound other than the sound of greatest sonority in the syllable, as b, r, and g in brig (opposed to sonant).
    Compare vowel (def 1b).
  3. (in linguistic function) a concept empirically determined as a phonological element in structural contrast with vowel, as the b of be, the w of we, the y, s, and t of yeast, etc.
a letter that usually represents a consonant sound.
in agreement; agreeable; in accord; consistent (usually followed by to or with):
behavior consonant with his character.
corresponding in sound, as words.
harmonious, as sounds.
Music. constituting a consonance.
Physics. noting or pertaining to sounds exhibiting consonance.
Origin of consonant
1350-1400; Middle English consona(u)nt (< Anglo-French) < Latin consonant- (stem of consonāns, present participle of consonāre to sound with or together). See con-, sonant
Related forms
consonantlike, adjective
consonantly, adverb
unconsonant, adjective
3. concordant, congruous, conformant.
6. dissonant. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for consonants
  • In singing the out breath is used primarily for making consonants.
  • The director liked ejective consonants, a popping utterance that vaguely resembles choking.
  • Scripts where symbols matched consonants or syllables allowed you to exchange symbols for sounds.
  • They also produce an array of consonants by partially obstructing airflow within the mouth.
  • consonants were crisp and the choral sound remained firm and present even at the softest dynamic levels.
  • consonants were written following the example of german with multiple letters.
British Dictionary definitions for consonants


a speech sound or letter of the alphabet other than a vowel; a stop, fricative, or continuant
(postpositive; foll by with or to) consistent; in agreement
harmonious in tone or sound
(music) characterized by the presence of a consonance
being or relating to a consonant
Derived Forms
consonantly, adverb
Word Origin
C14: from Latin consonāns, from consonāre to sound at the same time, be in harmony, from sonāre to sound
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for consonants



early 14c., "sound other than a vowel," from Latin consonantem (nominative consonans), present participle of consonare "to sound together, sound aloud," from com- "with" (see com-) + sonare "to sound" (see sonata). Consonants were thought of as sounds that are only produced together with vowels.


early 15c., from Old French consonant (13c.), from Latin consonantem (nominative consonans), present participle of consonare (see consonant (n.)).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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consonants in Culture

consonants definition

Letters of the alphabet that stand for sounds often made with a closed or partially closed mouth: B, C, D, F, G, H, J, K, L, M, N, P, Q, R, S, T, V, W, X, Z, and sometimes Y (as in yellow). (Compare vowels.)

The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Difficulty index for consonant

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