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

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The first known use of great vowel shift was in 1909

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Cite this Entry

“Great vowel shift.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Nov. 2020.

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