Word of the day

Word of the Day: sibilant

This word has appeared in four articles on NYTimes.com in the past year. Can you use it in a sentence?

Credit...Cindy Lozito

adjective: producing or marked by a hissing sound

adjective: of speech sounds produced by forcing air through a constricted passage (as “f,” “s,” “z,” or “th” in both thin and then)

noun: a consonant characterized by a hissing sound (like “s" or “sh”)

Listen to the pronunciation.

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The word sibilant has appeared in four articles on NYTimes.com in the past year, including on July 27 in “How Wirecutter Evaluates Sound in Our Headphone and Speaker Reviews” by Brent Butterworth:

Whether a person is listening to music or movies, the element of sound that’s hardest to reproduce is the one that people are most familiar with: the human voice. Most folks have conversations with other people every day, so they can tell right away when an audio system is getting voice reproduction wrong. In movies and music with vocals, the voice is the most important part of the program.

The errors that audio systems make when reproducing voices are therefore easy to identify. Audio devices that create too much bass — a problem common in headphones — tend to make voices sound chesty and boomy. Audio devices that issue too little bass and too much treble — a common flaw in Bluetooth speakers — make voices sound thin, shrill, and sibilant (or hissy). Systems with high distortion, or just generally low quality, make voices hard to understand. Many speakers that try to pump high frequencies through large drivers (for example, a model that mates a large, 7- or 8-inch woofer with a small tweeter and doesn’t include a separate driver for the midrange frequencies) can make voices sound as if a performer were singing or speaking with their hands cupped around their mouth.

Can you correctly use the word sibilant in a sentence?

Based on the definition and example provided, write a sentence using today’s Word of the Day and share it as a comment on this article. It is most important that your sentence makes sense and demonstrates that you understand the word’s definition, but we also encourage you to be creative and have fun.

Then, read some of the other sentences students have submitted and use the “Recommend” button to vote for two original sentences that stand out to you.

If you want a better idea of how sibilant can be used in a sentence, read these usage examples on Vocabulary.com.

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Students ages 13 and older in the United States and the United Kingdom, and 16 and older elsewhere, can comment. All comments are moderated by the Learning Network staff.

The Word of the Day is provided by Vocabulary.com. Learn more and see usage examples across a range of subjects in the Vocabulary.com Dictionary. See every Word of the Day in this column.