Definitions for vowelˈvaʊ əl

This page provides all possible meanings and translations of the word vowel

Princeton's WordNet

  1. vowel, vowel sound(noun)

    a speech sound made with the vocal tract open

  2. vowel(noun)

    a letter of the alphabet standing for a spoken vowel


  1. vowel(Noun)

    A sound produced by the vocal cords with relatively little restriction of the oral cavity, forming the prominent sound of a syllable.

  2. vowel(Noun)

    A letter representing the sound of vowel; in English, the vowels are a, e, i, o and u, and sometimes y.

  3. Origin: From vouel (French: voyelle), from vocalis.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Vowel(noun)

    a vocal, or sometimes a whispered, sound modified by resonance in the oral passage, the peculiar resonance in each case giving to each several vowel its distinctive character or quality as a sound of speech; -- distinguished from a consonant in that the latter, whether made with or without vocality, derives its character in every case from some kind of obstructive action by the mouth organs. Also, a letter or character which represents such a sound. See Guide to Pronunciation, // 5, 146-149

  2. Vowel(adj)

    of or pertaining to a vowel; vocal

  3. Origin: [F. voyelle, or an OF. form without y, L. vocalis (sc. littera), from vocalis sounding, from vox, vocis, a voice, sound. See Vocal.]


  1. Vowel

    In phonetics, a vowel is a sound in spoken language, such as an English ah! or oh, pronounced with an open vocal tract so that there is no build-up of air pressure at any point above the glottis. This contrasts with consonants, such as English sh, where there is a constriction or closure at some point along the vocal tract. A vowel is also understood to be syllabic: an equivalent open but non-syllabic sound is called a semivowel In all oral languages, vowels form the nucleus or peak of syllables, whereas consonants form the onset and coda. However, some languages also allow other sounds to form the nucleus of a syllable, such as the syllabic l in the English word table, or the r in Serbo-Croatian vrt "garden". There is a conflict between the phonetic definition of "vowel" and the phonological definition. The approximants [j] and [w] illustrate this conflict: both are produced without much of a constriction in the vocal tract, but they occur on the edge of syllables, such as at the beginning of the English words "yet" and "wet". The American linguist Kenneth Pike suggested the terms "vocoid" for a phonetic vowel and "vowel" for a phonological vowel, so using this terminology, and are classified as vocoids but not vowels. However, Maddieson and Emmory demonstrated from a range of languages that semivowels are produced with a narrower constriction of the vocal tract than vowels, and so may be considered consonants on that basis.

Translations for vowel

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