(noun) A speech sound produced by some obstruction of the vocal tract above the glottis. The vocal cords are vibrated with some consonants, called voiced consonants (e.g. b, d, g, v); others are unvoiced or voiceless (e.g. p, t, k, f, s); still others may have both forms (e.g. th).
Consonants may be classified according to their manner of articulation (nasal, lateral, fricative, affricate, or as a VOCAL STOP); by their length (short, long); or by their point of articulation (bilabial, labiodental, interdental, dental, palatal, velar, uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal).
The BANDWIDTH of most consonants is more than an OCTAVE, and together their energy can range from 100 Hz to 10 kHz, as shown on a SONAGRAM. The perception of the higher consonants is affected by PRESBYCUSIS.
Compare: VOWEL. See: FORMANT, PHONE, SIBILANCE, TRANSIENT, TRILL.
As an adjective, the term refers to the quality of CONSONANCE.