semivowel

noun semi·vow·el \ ˈse-mē-ˌvau̇(-ə)l , ˈse-ˌmī- , -mi- \

Definition of semivowel

1 : a speech sound (such as \y\, \w\, or \r\) that has the articulation of a vowel but that is shorter in duration and is treated as a consonant in syllabication
2 : a letter representing a semivowel

First Known Use of semivowel

1530

in the meaning defined at sense 1

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