[ sem-ee-vou-uh l ]
/ ˈsɛm iˌvaʊ əl /


Phonetics. a speech sound of vowel quality used as a consonant, as (w) in wet or (y) in yet.

Nearby words

  1. semitropical,
  2. semitruck,
  3. semivegetarian,
  4. semivitreous,
  5. semivocal,
  6. semiweekly,
  7. semiyearly,
  8. semmelweis,
  9. semmelweis, ignaz philipp,
  10. semmelweiss

Origin of semivowel

1520–30; semi- + vowel; replacing semivocal < Latin sēmivocālis half vowel Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for semivowel

British Dictionary definitions for semivowel


/ (ˈsɛmɪˌvaʊəl) /

noun phonetics

a vowel-like sound that acts like a consonant, in that it serves the same function in a syllable carrying the same amount of prominence as a consonant relative to a true vowel, the nucleus of the syllable. In English and many other languages the chief semivowels are (w) in well and (j), represented as y, in yell
a frictionless continuant classified as one of the liquids; (l) or (r)
Also called (US and Canadian): glide

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