[ vou-uhl ]
See synonyms for vowel on Thesaurus.com
  1. Phonetics.

    • (in English articulation) a speech sound produced without occluding, diverting, or obstructing the flow of air from the lungs (opposed to consonant).

    • (in a syllable) the sound of greatest sonority, as i in grill.: Compare consonant (def. 1b).

    • (in linguistic function) a concept empirically determined as a phonological element in structural contrast with consonant, as the (ē) of be (bē), we (wē), and yeast (yēst).

  2. a letter representing or usually representing a vowel, as, in English, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y.

  1. of or relating to a vowel.

Origin of vowel

1275–1325; Middle English <Old French vowel<Latin vōcālisvocal

Other words from vowel

  • vow·el·less, adjective
  • vow·el·like, adjective
  • vow·el·y, vow·el·ly, adverb

Words Nearby vowel

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use vowel in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for vowel


/ (ˈvaʊəl) /

  1. phonetics a voiced speech sound whose articulation is characterized by the absence of friction-causing obstruction in the vocal tract, allowing the breath stream free passage. The timbre of a vowel is chiefly determined by the position of the tongue and the lips

  2. a letter or character representing a vowel

Origin of vowel

C14: from Old French vouel, from Latin vocālis littera a vowel, from vocālis sonorous, from vox a voice

Derived forms of vowel

  • vowel-less, adjective
  • vowel-like, adjective

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