I am thinking there's a word or an adjective for syllables that makes snake-like sounds, I don't know if a syllable that contain the letter s qualifies, or if it restricted to a very few syllables, but I think there's a word for it, but I don't remember what it was.

For example:

The poem had a lot of ___ syllables.

  • 7
    Are you perhaps thinking of sibilant? It designates phones, not syllables. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 0:34
  • 1
    May be hissing? Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 5:18
  • 1
    @StoneyB: "phones" or "phonemes"?
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 7:23
  • 1
    @virolino Phones. I can make all sorts of sibilant sounds which are non-phonemic. Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 9:48
  • 1
    @StoneyB: I was not aware of this meaning of the word "phone". I will have to study a bit more about it. Thank you.
    – virolino
    Commented Mar 26, 2019 at 9:58

2 Answers 2


I think you think of consonants, not syllables.

It can be Voiceless alveolar fricative or Voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative.

Source: Wikipedia.

If you have another sound in mind, it can be called differently.


As StoneyB pointed out in the comments, the sound that is characterised by a hissing effect is called a 'sibilant'. S, Z, SH, ZH sounds in English are often referred to as 'sibilants'.

'Voiceless alveolar fricative' is the /s/ sound and is a sibilant as Virolino's answer suggests. However, 'voiceless dental non-sibilant fricative' is the TH sound as in 'thin' which isn't a sibilant.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .