noun \ˈva(-ə)l\

: a speech sound made with your mouth open and your tongue in the middle of your mouth not touching your teeth, lips, etc.

: a letter (such as a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y in English) that represents a vowel

Full Definition of VOWEL

:  one of a class of speech sounds in the articulation of which the oral part of the breath channel is not blocked and is not constricted enough to cause audible friction; broadly :  the one most prominent sound in a syllable
:  a letter or other symbol representing a vowel —usually used in English of a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y

Origin of VOWEL

Middle English, from Anglo-French vowele, from Latin vocalis — more at vocalic
First Known Use: 14th century

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

ablaut, allusion, anacoluthon, diacritic, gerund, idiom, infinitive, metaphor, semiotics, simile

Rhymes with VOWEL


noun    (Concise Encyclopedia)

Speech sound in which air from the lungs passes through the mouth with minimal obstruction and without audible friction, like the i in fit. The word also refers to a letter representing such a sound (a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y). In articulatory phonetics (see articulation), vowels are classified by tongue and lip position; for example, high vowels like the i in machine and the u in flute are both pronounced with the tongue arched high in the mouth, but in u the lips are also rounded. Single vowel sounds are monophthongs; two vowel sounds pronounced as one syllable, like the ou in round, are diphthongs.


Next Word in the Dictionary: vowel declension
Previous Word in the Dictionary: vow (verb)
All Words Near: vowel

Seen & Heard

What made you want to look up vowel? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).