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2 definitions found
 for spirant
From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48 :

  Spirant \Spi"rant\, n. [L. spirans, -antis, p. pr. of spirare to
     breathe. See Spirit.] (Phon.)
     A term used differently by different authorities; -- by some
     as equivalent to fricative, -- that is, as including all the
     continuous consonants, except the nasals m, n, ng; with the
     further exception, by others, of the liquids r, l, and the
     semivowels w, y; by others limited to f, v, th surd and
     sonant, and the sound of German ch, -- thus excluding the
     sibilants, as well as the nasals, liquids, and semivowels.
     See Guide to Pronunciation, [sect][sect] 197-208.
     [1913 Webster]

From WordNet (r) 3.0 (2006) :

  spirant
      adj 1: of speech sounds produced by forcing air through a
             constricted passage (as `f', `s', `z', or `th' in both
             `thin' and `then') [syn: fricative, continuant,
             sibilant, spirant, strident]
      n 1: a continuant consonant produced by breath moving against a
           narrowing of the vocal tract [syn: fricative consonant,
           fricative, spirant]

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