Phonetics. characterized by a hissing sound; noting sounds like those spelled with s in this [this] rose [rohz] pressure [presh-er] pleasure [plezh-er] and certain similar uses of ch, sh, z, zh, etc.
Phonetics. a sibilant consonant.

1660–70; < Latin sībilant- (stem of sībilāns), present participle of sībilāre to hiss), equivalent to sībil(us) a hissing, whistling (of imitative orig.) + -ant- -ant

sibilance, sibilancy, noun
sibilantly, adverb
nonsibilance, noun
nonsibilancy, noun
nonsibilant, adjective, noun
nonsibilantly, adverb
subsibilance, noun
subsibilancy, noun
subsibilant, adjective, noun
subsibilantly, adverb
unsibilant, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To sibilant
World English Dictionary
sibilant (ˈsɪbɪlənt)
1.  phonetics relating to or denoting the consonants (s, z, //, //), all pronounced with a characteristic hissing sound
2.  having a hissing sound: the sibilant sound of wind among the leaves
3.  a sibilant consonant
[C17: from Latin sībilāre to hiss, of imitative origin; compare Greek sizein to hiss]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

1669, from L. sibilantem (nom. sibilans), prp. of sibilare "to hiss, whistle," possibly of imitative origin (cf. Gk. sizein "to hiss," Lett. sikt "to hiss," O.C.S. svistati "to hiss, whistle"). The noun meaning "speech sound having a hissing effect" is from 1788.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

sibilant sib·i·lant (sĭb'ə-lənt)
Of, characterized by, or producing a hissing sound like that of (s) or (sh).

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Encyclopedia Britannica


in phonetics, a fricative consonant sound, in which the tip, or blade, of the tongue is brought near the roof of the mouth and air is pushed past the tongue to make a hissing sound. In English s, z, sh, and zh (the sound of the s in "pleasure") are sibilants. Sometimes the affricates ch and j are also considered as sibilants. See also fricative.

Learn more about sibilant with a free trial on

Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
Cite This Source
Example sentences
The third then handles those words that end in a sibilant or near-sibilant, and the last picks up everything else.
Signals are distorted, sibilant, and overly compressed.
Tho result was greeted with applause by the crowded lobby, through which was heard a solitary sibilant hiss.
We are looking for people who are good storytellers and who have a voice that's not too sibilant or too dull.
Copyright © 2014, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature