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Meaning of vowel

vow•el

Pronunciation: (vou'ul), [key]
— n.
    1. (in English articulation) a speech sound produced without occluding, diverting, or obstructing the flow of air from the lungs (opposed to consonant).
    2. (in a syllable) the sound of greatest sonority, as i in grill. Cf.consonant(def. 1b).
    3. (in linguistic function) a concept empirically determined as a phonological element in structural contrast with consonant, as the (ē) of be (bē), we (wē), and yeast (yēst).
  1. a letter representing or usually representing a vowel, as, in English, a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes w and y.
—adj.
  1. of or pertaining to a vowel.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.
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