vow·​el | \ ˈvau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce vowel (audio) \

Definition of vowel

1 : 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
2 : a letter or other symbol representing a vowel usually used in English of a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y

Examples of vowel in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The singing of Latin brought purer vowels into the King’s sound, which was pleasing. The Economist, "In the bleak midwinter Obituary: Stephen Cleobury died on November 22nd," 18 Dec. 2019 Linguist Thomas Sawallis of the University of Alabama and colleagues stress that functional human speech is rooted in the ability to form contrasting vowel sounds. Brian Handwerk, Smithsonian, "Human Ancestors May Have Evolved the Physical Ability to Speak More Than 25 Million Years Ago," 11 Dec. 2019 Strong, an Illinois native, was closest to nailing the long and nasally vowels of northern Midwest accents. Jordyn Noennig, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "SNL does a sketch called 'Wisconsin Women,' but the jokes flop and the accents don't sound Wisconsin at all," 9 Dec. 2019 Her vowels are bright, round pearls strung together into sentences. Brennan Kilbane, Allure, "Meet Jeanne Damas, the Influencer Who Turned French Beauty Into a Lucrative Business," 4 Dec. 2019 On the other hand, the Loser Community has risen admirably to the challenge; words don’t have to have lots of vowels. Washington Post, "Style Conversational Week 1354: Let’s do the twist," 17 Oct. 2019 On both of his catches, Sanu was rewarded by the home crowd with chants of his last name, heavy emphasis on the final vowel. BostonGlobe.com, "FOXBOROUGH — Mohamed Sanu had a crazy week. Traded to the Patriots Tuesday morning, he bid farewell to the fans in Atlanta, flew to Cincinnati (where he played the first four years of his career) to drop off his son, and made his way to New England by Wednesday.," 28 Oct. 2019 As my mom always told me, life has an expiration date, so always work hard for the first and last vowels of the alphabet. Heran Mamo, Billboard, "'The Masked Singer' Season 2 Clues Let Us Peek Behind the Masks of New Contestants," 16 Sep. 2019 Some sang in close harmony, some sang long vowels, like a bed of strings. National Geographic, "In Corsica, on a quest for beautiful harmony," 24 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'vowel.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of vowel

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for vowel

Middle English, from Anglo-French vowele, from Latin vocalis — more at vocalic

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Time Traveler for vowel

Time Traveler

The first known use of vowel was in the 14th century

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Statistics for vowel

Last Updated

31 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Vowel.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vowel. Accessed 21 January 2020.

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More Definitions for vowel


How to pronounce vowel (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of vowel

: 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


vow·​el | \ ˈvau̇-əl How to pronounce vowel (audio) \

Kids Definition of vowel

1 : a speech sound (as \ə\, \ā\, or \ȯ\) produced without obstruction in the mouth
2 : a letter (as a, e, i, o, u) representing a vowel

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More from Merriam-Webster on vowel

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with vowel

Spanish Central: Translation of vowel

Nglish: Translation of vowel for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of vowel for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about vowel

Comments on vowel

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


good-natured easy friendliness

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