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[mon-uh-si-lab-ik] /ˌmɒn ə sɪˈlæb ɪk/
having only one syllable, as the word no.
having a vocabulary composed primarily of monosyllables or short, simple words.
very brief; terse or blunt:
a monosyllabic reply.
Origin of monosyllabic
1815-25; < Medieval Latin monosyllabicus, equivalent to Late Latin monosyllab(on) monosyllable (< Greek monosýllabon, noun use of neuter of monosýllabos monosyllabic) + -icus -ic
Related forms
monosyllabically, adverb
[mon-uh-sil-uh-bis-i-tee] /ˌmɒn əˌsɪl əˈbɪs ɪ ti/ (Show IPA),
noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for monosyllabic
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • On the north side of this range, languages undoubtedly, monosyllabic are spoken as far westwards as Little Tibet.

    Man and His Migrations R. G. (Robert Gordon) Latham
  • In reply he received a monosyllabic affirmative; Kirkwood did not look up.

    The Black Bag Louis Joseph Vance
  • The monosyllabic language is spoken throughout China and in the different states connected with that empire.

    The Human Race Louis Figuier
  • Martell was monosyllabic as usual, and we sat and gazed into the fire.

  • The same thing occurs even more frequently in the Chinese language, which is monosyllabic.

  • Nothing could be more delightful than to be as calm and monosyllabic as we were.

    Woman's Work in the Civil War Linus Pierpont Brockett
  • Miss Dickenson's share of the conversation had become very dry and monosyllabic.

    When Ghost Meets Ghost William Frend De Morgan
British Dictionary definitions for monosyllabic


(of a word) containing only one syllable
characterized by monosyllables; curt: a monosyllabic answer
Derived Forms
monosyllabically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for monosyllabic

1824, of languages; 1828, of words; 1870, of persons, from monosyllable + -ic. Earlier form was monosyllabical (1680s, of words). Related: Monosyllabically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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