Meaning of vowel in English:


Pronunciation /ˈvaʊəl/

Translate vowel into Spanish


  • 1A speech sound which is produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract, with vibration of the vocal cords but without audible friction, and which is a unit of the sound system of a language that forms the nucleus of a syllable.

    Contrasted with consonant

    ‘After blending consonants and vowels, syllables are blended into words and words are used in meaningful sentences.’
    • ‘The language recodes the vowels and consonants of individual Spanish words into whistles.’
    • ‘What specialists like Liberman are schooled in, is the rules for sound-shifts in vowels and consonants in any language across the centuries.’
    • ‘Stressed syllables retain full vowel quality, whereas unstressed syllables may have weak vowels.’
    • ‘The accumulated differences in the vowels, consonants, and syllable lengths gives dramatic speech a totally different pace.’
    • ‘Expiration of air through vibrating vocal cords, used in the production of vowels and voiced consonants.’
    • ‘I have never, for instance, heard a speaker of English condemn the nasal vowels or the dropped consonants of the French language.’
    • ‘Even the name seems pregnant with significance - that defiant strangeness, those open, dreamy vowels.’
    • ‘In Swahili, which is a Bantu language, vowels are pronounced as they are in Spanish or Italian.’
    • ‘In Miami-Illinois, as in other Algonquian languages, vowel length is phonemic, that is, it is an absolute determining factor in the shape and meaning of words.’
    • ‘In Chinese pronunciation, basic vowels can form vowel combinations with each other or with a nasal consonant.’
    • ‘When his operas are sung in any other language, the shift in vowels, consonants, and rhythms changes the character of the music.’
    • ‘In Guaraní, 12 vowels are distinguished, six oral vowels and six nasal vowels.’
    • ‘Vitruvius's remarks show a sophisticated interest in the different acoustic behaviours of consonants and vowels.’
    • ‘Lavender was 75 years old, and produced vowel sounds that have disappeared everywhere else.’
    • ‘I love the garrulous, argumentative people, with their speech, which boasts impressively rounded vowels.’
    • ‘The double consonant signifies that the preceding vowel remains short.’
    • ‘If I understand the transliteration right, the vowel quality would also be closer to American English cat than cot.’
    • ‘Vowels so marked are described as long, and unmarked vowels are short, a distinction known as vowel length.’
    • ‘His voice is also surprisingly cultured, far more so in many ways than Jagger's flattened vowels.’
    1. 1.1A letter representing a vowel sound, such as a, e, i, o, u.
      ‘The vowel letter e can represent a variety of sounds.’
      • ‘The Lao alphabet also has 38 vowel symbols, representing 24 vowel sounds.’
      • ‘While the consonant cards each represent a single letter, the vowel cards give a choice of two vowels and the wild cards represent any letter.’
      • ‘The Amharic alphabet is made up of 33 letters and has seven vowels.’
      • ‘I erased the vowels and double letters in order.’
      • ‘Write this sentence down, then remove all vowels and repeating letters.’
      • ‘Allowing for the omission of vowels and the unknown letter, surely this was Rameses.’
      • ‘The schwa sound represents a unique yet important construct for the developing reader in that it cannot easily be sounded out and is not represented by any one single vowel letter.’
      • ‘Knowing that the first letter is a vowel keeps solvers from pursuing a solution word beginning with a consonant.’
      • ‘It was only later that these ambiguities were in large measure resolved by the creation of a system of pointing the consonantal text to represent the missing vowels.’
      • ‘They are written with n following the vowel letter: in en an un onün.’
      • ‘Umlauts are the pair of dots used in some European languages to modify the sounds of certain vowels; they are placed above the vowel.’
      • ‘The first complete alphabet, comprising symbols representing all the vowels and consonants of a language, was devised by the ancient Greeks.’
      • ‘German can also put vowel letter plus h as in ' autobahn '.’
      • ‘In contrast, vowel letters are never omitted from words in text.’
      • ‘The two men may share a vowel at the end of their last name.’
      • ‘He had written but one word, three consonants and a single vowel.’
      • ‘Each syllable is written as a combination of consonants and vowels, plus the tone mark.’
      • ‘Keep monthly writing samples so you can observe how students gradually add the correct vowels and consonants.’
      • ‘He has also learned the Greek alphabet, capital and lowercase, and has begun to make the distinction between consonants and vowels.’


Middle English from Old French vouel, from Latin vocalis (littera) ‘vocal (letter)’.