Definition of monosyllable in US English:

monosyllable

noun

  • 1A word consisting of only one syllable.

    • ‘She's stopped talking except for monosyllables.’
    • ‘The underdog defends valiantly with monosyllables.’
    • ‘‘No,’ came the monosyllable again and then, as though he felt this needed some reasonable elaboration David added ‘I've been sick.’’
    • ‘‘Yesss,’ she spoke that monosyllable in English, drawing it out into a hiss.’
    • ‘Their choice of words is correspondingly simple, lacking the tension between polysyllables and monosyllables observed in the stanzas from the poem.’
    • ‘I don't believe everything in life can be settled by a monosyllable - Betty Smith, American author.’
    • ‘Sadly, he shook his head and replied in a monosyllable: ‘No’.’
    • ‘If you have to speak, speak in short, flat monosyllables.’
    • ‘As the others have their scenes read out I find myself crossing out whole chunks of dialogue from mine, reducing speeches to monosyllables and nods.’
    • ‘Maybe inserting a monosyllable here would have ruined the poetic symmetry of his sentence.’
    • ‘His younger cousin, who has come up with a fine little language of his own consisting entirely of monosyllables, showed the same tendency.’
    • ‘Thankfully, though, he does seem to be managing at least to articulate some monosyllables, one of which is ‘sue’.’
    • ‘In general, the contrast of monosyllables and polysyllables (suspended in the five-word line eight) creates a strong balance.’
    • ‘In subtler metrical styles, this correlation is relaxed, so that weak monosyllables often appear in strong positions in the meter.’
    • ‘Word-final b is rare, occurring mainly in monosyllables (hub, rib, scab), but occasionally in longer words (superb, disturb, cherub) Double B’
    • ‘Then suddenly I was reduced to monosyllables and gestures.’
    • ‘Just like my mother can home in on my weak points with GPS accuracy, teenagers can humiliate me with a muttered monosyllable.’
    • ‘The play has a distinctively harsh and gritty vocabulary and poetic tone throughout, thriving on rough monosyllables.’
    • ‘‘Oh,’ he said, and there was a lot more in the monosyllable than there normally was.’
    • ‘Most sleepwalkers respond to verbal stimuli with only grunts or monosyllables, or make no response at all.’
    1. 1.1monosyllables Brief words, signifying reluctance to engage in conversation.
      ‘if she spoke at all it was in monosyllables’
      • ‘Bewildered, the composer answered in monosyllables, until a frustrated Churchill gave up and turned to the guest on his left.’
      • ‘It didn't help that Jeff was so preoccupied that he answered in monosyllables, but Denise didn't think of that.’
      • ‘John Wayne, she points out, spoke in monosyllables, often to denounce communication and chatter.’
      • ‘Jeff responds in monosyllables and Travis, my best guy friend, gets incredibly distracted by what is going on in the room around him.’
      • ‘When she tried to initiate conversations her friend replied in monosyllables and she soon gave up.’
      • ‘He tried his best to strike up a conversation with her but she was unresponsive and spoke in monosyllables.’
      • ‘He would sit across from his 14-year-old son, Matt, while they pushed takeaway food around the plate and spoke in monosyllables.’
      • ‘Again and again, their examiners claimed they were unresponsive, ‘lowering their eyes… staring at the floor, only answering in monosyllables.’’
      • ‘Ella and Joe do not remark on this departure from his usual laconic monosyllables.’
      • ‘He tried to get me talking again while I waiting for the Captain, but I just couldn't find the heart to do more than answer in monosyllables.’
      • ‘If someone is asking you about yourself, answer in monosyllables.’
      • ‘His son recalls, ‘Dad originally thought that his interviews with Mother Teresa had flopped because she only answered in monosyllables.’’
      • ‘The son sells watches on the street for a living, speaking only in monosyllables to his customers.’
      • ‘Alana didn't seem to have such problems, wandering over every few minutes to Romeo who either ignored her or answered her in monosyllables.’
      • ‘She tries to strike up a conversation with him, and he responds in monosyllables, clearly not wanting to talk.’
      • ‘He tried to talk with her, but she simply stared straight ahead and answered him in monosyllables.’
      • ‘Maxine was keeping up a cheerful banter all the way to my rooms, but by then I was too tired to reply in more than monosyllables between the yawns.’

Pronunciation

monosyllable

/ˈmänəˌsiləb(ə)l//ˈmɑnəˌsɪləb(ə)l/