Definition - Words with similar meanings that have the same consonant cluster whose sound suggests the common meaning.

Example -
The words sleaze, slide, slime, slip, sludge, and slurry are phonesthemes whose common consonant cluster sl suggests slipperiness and sliminess.

Etymology -
The term was coined circa 1930 by British linguist J. R. Firth from the Greek phone, voice or sound, and aisthanomai, perceive.

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1930:
"The slack etymeme belongs to a much bigger group of habits we may call the sl phonæstheme."
(J. R. Firth Speech vi. 50)

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