Definition of semivowel in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsemēˌvou(ə)l/
Pronunciation: /ˈseˌmīˌvou(ə)l/


A speech sound intermediate between a vowel and a consonant, e.g., w or y.
Example sentences
  • Parts are numbered from one to six, but the second is missing (just as the second vowel is missing among the vowels and the semivowel Y).
  • The play opens with a speech by Flavius (spelled ‘Flauius’ in the old Latin style where u and v are not distinguished since the latter is just the semivowel corresponding to the vowel represented by the former).


Mid 16th century: from semi- + vowel, on the pattern of Latin semivocalis.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: sem·i·vow·el

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