- (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).
- a letter representing or usually representing a vowel, as, in English, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y.
- of or relating to a vowel.
Origin of vowel
Examples from the Web for vowel
Two letters, S and O, a sibilant and a vowel, of which no further explanation can be given.Theaetetus
A vowel is like an olian harp; it makes a full and perfect sound of itself.The Comic Latin Grammar
Meso: middle: as prefix, drops the o when stem begins with a vowel.Explanation of Terms Used in Entomology
John. B. Smith
No attempt has been made to indicate these differences of vowel sound.Unwritten Literature of Hawaii
Nathaniel Bright Emerson
The Thought is simple and massy enough: but where is a Vowel?Letters of Edward FitzGerald in Two Volumes
- 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
Word Origin and History for vowel
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.