great vowel shift

noun, often capitalized G&V&S

Definition of great vowel shift

: a change in pronunciation of the long vowels of Middle English that began in the 15th century and continued into the 16th century in which the high vowels were diphthongized and the other vowels were raised

First Known Use of great vowel shift

1909, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about great vowel shift

Statistics for great vowel shift

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for great vowel shift

The first known use of great vowel shift was in 1909

See more words from the same year

More from Merriam-Webster on great vowel shift

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with great vowel shift

Comments on great vowel shift

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

WORD OF THE DAY

characterized by aphorism

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Farm Idioms Quiz

  • cow coming home
  • What does 'poke' refer to in the expression 'pig in a poke'?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!