Great Vowel Shift

  1. a series of changes in the quality of the long vowels between Middle and Modern English as a result of which all were raised, while the high vowels (ē) and (o̅o̅), already at the upper limit, underwent breaking to become the diphthongs (ī) and (ou).

Words Nearby Great Vowel Shift Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2024

British Dictionary definitions for Great Vowel Shift

Great Vowel Shift

  1. linguistics a phonetic change that took place during the transition from Middle to Modern English, whereby the long vowels were raised: ( became , became ), etc. The vowels () and () underwent breaking and became the diphthongs () and ()

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012