Definition for SYL'LA-BLE

SYL'LA-BLE, n. [L. syllaba; Gr. συλλαβη, from συλλαμβανω, to comprehend; συν, and λαμβανω, to take.]

  1. A letter, or a combination of letters, uttered together, or at a single effort or impulse of the voice. A vowel may form a syllable by itself, as a, the definitive, or in amen; e in even; o in over, and the like. A syllable may also be formed of a vowel and one consonant, as in go, do, in, at; or a syllable may be formed by a vowel with two articulations, one preceding, the other following it, as in can, but, tun; or a syllable may consist of a combination of consonants, with one vowel or diphthong, as strong, short, camp, voice. A syllable sometimes forms a word, and is then significant, as, in go, run, write, sun, moon. In other cases, a syllable is merely a part of a word, and by itself is not significant. Thus ac, in active, has no signification. At least one vowel or open sound is essential to the formation of a syllable; hence in every word there most be as many syllables as there are single vowels, or single vowels and diphthongs. A word is called according to the number of syllables it contains, viz. Monosyllable, a word of one syllable. Dissyllable, a word of two syllables. Trisyllable, a word of three syllables. Polysyllable, a word of many syllables.
  2. A small part of a sentence or discourse; something very concise. This account contains not a syllable of truth. Before a syllable of the law of God was written. – Hooker.

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