semivowel

noun

semi·​vow·​el ˈse-mē-ˌvau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce semivowel (audio)
ˈse-ˌmī-,
-mi-
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

Word History

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of semivowel was in 1530

Dictionary Entries Near semivowel

Cite this Entry

“Semivowel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/semivowel. Accessed 29 Jan. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on semivowel

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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


Fashionable Words

  • dog-sunglasses-scarf
  • Which of these items is named for a deadly weapon?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?

PLAY