English edit

Etymology edit

First attested in 1799–1802; back-formation from syllabification; compare the Old French sillabifier.

Pronunciation edit

  • enPR: sĭlăʹbĭfī, IPA(key): /sɪˈlæbɪfaɪ/
  • Hyphenation: syl‧lab‧i‧fy

Verb edit

syllabify (third-person singular simple present syllabifies, present participle syllabifying, simple past and past participle syllabified)

  1. To divide a word into syllables; to syllabicate; to syllabize.
    • 1799–1800, P.V. Lenoir, either “French Pronunciation and Reading made Eaſy, or the Logographic-emblematical French Spelling-Book, &c.” (1799, Dulau and Co.) or “The Logographic-emblematical Engliſh Spelling-Book, or a Method of teaching Children to read” (1800, Booſey), quoted in article 35–36 of The British Critic, volume 19 (1802, January–June), page 97
      A method alſo of teaching the learners “to ſyllabify with the counters” is pointed out.
    • 1926, Henry Watson Fowler, A Dictionary of Modern English Usage (1st ed., Oxford at the Clarendon Press), page 590, column 2, “syllabize &c.”
      syllabize &c. A verb & a noun are clearly sometimes needed for the notion of dividing words into syllables. The possible pairs seem to be the following (the number after each word means — 1, that it is in fairly common use; 2, that it is on record; 3, that it is not given in OED): — 
       syllabate 3    syllabation 2
       syllabicate 2    syllabication 1
      syllabify 2        syllabification 1
       syllabize 1     syllabization 3
      One first-class verb, two first-class nouns, but neither of those nouns belonging to that verb. It is absurd enough, & any of several ways out would do; that indeed is why none of them is taken. The best thing would be to accept the most recognized verb syllabize, give it the now non-existent noun syllabization, & relegate all the rest to the Superfluous words; but there is no authority both willing & able to issue such decrees.

Synonyms edit

Translations edit

References edit

  • Syllabify” listed, as a subentry of “Syllabification”, on page 357 of volume IX, part II (Su–Th) of A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles [1st ed., 1919]
      Syllabify, v. rare — °. [Back-formation f. prec. but cf. OF. sillabifier (15th c.).] trans. ‘To form or divide into syllables’ (Webster, 1864).
  • syˈllabify, v.” listed in the Oxford English Dictionary [2nd ed., 1989]