- a speech sound that is produced by comparatively open configuration of the vocal tract, with vibration of the vocal cords but without audible friction and is a unit of the sound system of a language that forms the nucleus of a syllable. Contrasted with consonant.
Middle English: from Old French vouel, from Latin vocalis (littera) 'vocal (letter)'
A word with two meanings: In writing, the five letters a e i o u In speech, sounds made with the mouth open and the airway unobstructed (by contrast with consonants, where the flow of air is briefly obstructed in some way). The exact number of vowels depends on regional accent, but there are more than twenty English vowels.