Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Sounding Board

Phil noticed the word part –sonant in a few familiar words such as consonant, dissonant, and resonant, and he wondered about the link among them and the frequency of use. A look at the Oxford English Dictionary reveals almost fifty words using that word part, but many of them are rare or obsolete.

The common link is a Latin verb (sonare) that meant to make a sound. The –ant suffix comes to us from Latin through French, and it is usually attached to adjective forms.

  • absonant: harsh and inharmonious
  • altisonant: high-sounding, lofty, or pompous
  • armisonant: rustling with armor
  • assonant: corresponding in vowel sound
  • bisonant: having two sounds
  • circumsonant: sounding on every side
  • clarisonant: clear-sounding or shrill
  • consonant: in agreement or concordance
  • disconsonant: out of harmony; discordant
  • dissonant: disagreeing; out of harmony
  • dulcisonant: sweet-sounding
  • equisonant: agreeing in the octave
  • fluctisonant: sounding like waves
  • grandisonant: stately-sounding
  • horrisonant: horrible-sounding
  • inconsonant: not agreeing or harmonizing with
  • intersonant: sounding between
  • irresonant: devoid of resonance
  • luctisonant: mournful-sounding
  • magnisonant: important-sounding
  • mellisonant: sweet-sounding
  • multisonant: producing many sounds
  • resonant: causing prolongation of sound
  • rhonchisonant: sounding like snoring
  • sonant: voiced
  • terrisonant: terrible-sounding
  • trisonant: sounding in three ways
  • undisonant: sounding like waves
  • unisonant: of the same pitch or sound.

Hands down, my favorite is rhonchisonant.

Available from McFarland & Co.: Word Parts Dictionary, 2nd edition

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