vowel

[vou-uh l]

noun

Phonetics.
  1. (in English articulation) a speech sound produced without occluding, diverting, or obstructing the flow of air from the lungs (opposed to consonant).
  2. (in a syllable) the sound of greatest sonority, as i in grill.Compare consonant(def 1b).
  3. (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).
a letter representing or usually representing a vowel, as, in English, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y.

adjective

of or relating to a vowel.

Nearby words

  1. vouchsafe,
  2. vouge,
  3. voussoir,
  4. vouvray,
  5. vow,
  6. vowel gradation,
  7. vowel harmony,
  8. vowel mutation,
  9. vowel point,
  10. vowel rhyme

Origin of vowel

1275–1325; Middle English < Old French vowel < Latin vōcālis vocal

Related formsvow·el·less, adjectivevow·el·like, adjectivevow·el·y, vow·el·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for vowel


British Dictionary definitions for vowel

vowel

noun

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
a letter or character representing a vowel
Derived Formsvowel-less, adjectivevowel-like, adjective

Word Origin for vowel

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

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

Word Origin and History for vowel

vowel

n.

c.1300, from Old French vouel, from Latin vocalis, in littera vocalis, literally "vocal letter," from vox (genitive vocis) "voice" (see voice (n.)). Vowel shift in reference to the pronunciation change between Middle and Modern English is attested from 1909. The Hawaiian word hooiaioia, meaning "certified," has the most consecutive vowels of any word in current human speech; the English record-holder is queueing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper