Definition of spirant in English:



  • (of a consonant) uttered with a continuous expulsion of breath.

    • ‘The exception to this rule is the preposition a from Latin ` ad ’, where the final d became assimilated in sound with the consonant following it, and then the cluster underwent spirant mutation.’
    • ‘There are three types of mutations, the nasal mutation, the spirant mutation and lenition.’
    • ‘All the Welsh grammars say Welsh has 3 types of mutation - soft, nasal and spirant, and 9 consonants that are mutable.’
    • ‘Despite this assertion I do not believe the spirant pronunciation is obvious at all.’


  • A spirant consonant; a fricative.

    • ‘That leaves the rest of the ‘spirants’ free and clear.’
    • ‘The English example provided in the Collegiate is the ‘ch’ in ‘choose’ being a combination of the ‘explosive’ ‘t’ and the spirant ‘sh.’’
    • ‘The shifting of the voiced spirants and explosives did not extend over all the HG. dialects.’
    • ‘When we extend our analysis to Western and Southern Numic, we are forced to conclude that in no Numic language have the taps ever belonged to a series of spirants.’
    • ‘When at the beginning of a word it will be a stop, otherwise it will be a spirant.’


Mid 19th century: from Latin spirant- ‘breathing’, from the verb spirare.