Definition of obstruent in English:



  • 1Phonetics
    A fricative or plosive speech sound.

    • ‘The grid shows that only obstruents (STOP and fricative consonants) enter into the voiced/voiceless distinction.’
    • ‘In phonetics, articulation may be divided into two large classes, obstruents and sonorants.’
    • ‘No such requirement holds if the first of the coda consonants is not an obstruent.’
    • ‘She also found a sex-linked effect with initial sonorants vs. obstruents: obstruents were hotter on males, sonorants on females, though only the female effect was significant.’
    • ‘Another common feature is that the level of tone is lowered after the occurrence of certain depressor consonants, namely voiced fortis obstruents.’
  • 2Medicine
    A medicine or substance that closes the natural passages or pores of the body.


Mid 17th century: from Latin obstruent- ‘blocking up’, from the verb obstruere.