One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1(of a word or metrical foot) consisting of two syllables.
- ‘I think I'll stick to monosyllabic and disyllabic words today.’
- ‘Occasionally two disyllabic feet occur in succession.’
- ‘A disyllable or disyllabic word has two syllables, a trisyllable or trisyllabic word has three.’
- 1.1 (of a bird's characteristic call) consisting of two distinct sounds, such as the call of the cuckoo.
- ‘Treeswifts calls have been described as a squeal, with a few syllables grouped together to form a disyllabic or trisyllabic call.’
- ‘I wish this bird would do something more characteristic of Hume's, like an upward inflecting or disyllabic call, but it doesn't.’
Mid 17th century: from French dissyllabique, via Latin from Greek disullabos ‘of two syllables’.
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