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[suh-nawr-uh nt, -nohr-, soh-] /səˈnɔr ənt, -ˈnoʊr-, soʊ-/ Phonetics
a voiced sound that is less sonorous than a vowel but more sonorous than a stop or fricative and that may occur as either a sonant or a consonant, as (l, r, m, n, y, w).
a speech sound characterized by relatively free air passage through some channel, as a vowel, semivowel, liquid, or nasal.
Compare obstruent.
of, relating to, or having the properties of a sonorant.
< Latin sonōr- (stem of sonor) sound, noise + -ant; see sonorous
Related forms
nonsonorant, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for sonorant


noun (phonetics)
one of the frictionless continuants or nasals (l, r, m, n, ŋ) having consonantal or vocalic functions depending on its situation within the syllable
either of the two consonants represented in English orthography by w or y and regarded as either consonantal or vocalic articulations of the vowels and
Word Origin
from Latin sonor a noise + -ant
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for sonorant

in phonetics, any of the nasal, liquid, and glide consonants that are marked by a continuing resonant sound. Sonorants have more acoustic energy than other consonants. In English the sonorants are y, w, l, r, m, n, and ng. See also nasal; liquid

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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