sibilant

Something that’s sibilant has a hissing sound, like when the librarian says, “Shhhhhhhh!”

Sibilant entered English in the 17th century from the Latin word sibilant-, meaning “hissing.” When you listen to a foreign language that’s full of hissy “es” or “sh” or “zzz” sounds, those sounds are called sibilants. The sound is made by forcing air out toward your teeth. Try it: say “sash.” That’s a sibilant. As an adjective, use sibilant to describe something characterized by that hissing sound. Your sibilant whisper probably will be heard by the librarian.

Definitions of sibilant
1

adj of speech sounds produced by forcing air through a constricted passage (as `f', `s', `z', or `th' in both `thin' and `then')

Synonyms:
continuant, fricative, spirant, strident
soft
(of speech sounds); produced with the back of the tongue raised toward the hard palate; characterized by a hissing or hushing sound (as `s' and `sh')

n a consonant characterized by a hissing sound (like s or sh)

Synonyms:
sibilant consonant
Type of:
fricative, fricative consonant, spirant
a continuant consonant produced by breath moving against a narrowing of the vocal tract

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