vow·​el ˈvau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce vowel (audio)
: 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
: 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 Yoshioka, as well, has always striven to make sure that her vowels are enunciated and the melody shines through clearly. Billboard Japan, Billboard, 13 Nov. 2023 Vulture Honorary Degree recipient Billy Porter is one vowel away from EGOT. Vulture, 12 Nov. 2023 The findings have to do with the slight movement of the tongue when people pronounce vowels. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2023 In an article for The Conversation, George Poulos, a linguist at the University of South Africa, says that the first speech sounds came along a mere 70,000 years ago, and the ability to produce vowel and consonant sounds didn’t evolve until around 50,000 years ago. Avery Hurt, Discover Magazine, 27 Oct. 2023 Monday night they were said through tears, out loud, in a cacophony of accents — the lyric diphthongs and soft Ss of Yiddish crashing against the tight vowels and sharp Ts of modern Hebrew — a reminder of the multitude of Jewish ethnicities that call LA. Sonja Sharp, Los Angeles Times, 12 Oct. 2023 Starting with children of baby boomers born between 1965 and 1982, the typical accent began dramatically slipping away — a change that is showcased within two famous Georgia natives: think Paula Deen’s accent vs. Julia Roberts’s shorter-sounding vowels. María Luisa Paúl, Washington Post, 5 Oct. 2023 Sneller said other vowel sounds may sound different, too. Kylie Martin, Detroit Free Press, 17 Aug. 2023 Neither, exactly; their meanings always slip from their constituent consonants and vowels, drip, puddle, cling to the roof of your mouth. Jason Farago, New York Times, 7 Sep. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'vowel.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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

Dictionary Entries Near vowel

Cite this Entry

“Vowel.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vowel. Accessed 3 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


vow·​el ˈvau̇(-ə)l How to pronounce vowel (audio)
: a speech sound produced without obstruction or audible friction in the mouth
: a letter (as a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y) representing a vowel

More from Merriam-Webster on vowel

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