APPROXIMANT

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APPROXIMANT, also continuant. In PHONETICS, a sound, usually a CONSONANT, with a manner of articulation more open than a stop or fricative, as in the /r/ of rink compared with the /z/ of zinc. Approximants are normally voiced (/r/ after /d/ as in drink), but are often devoiced after a voiceless stop or a fricative (/r/ after /t/ as in trinket). The increased flow of air that results from the devoicing produces noise similar to that of a fricative. The set of approximants includes LIQUIDS, NASALS, and GLIDES.