General English

Information & Library Science

  • noun the five letters a, e, i, o, u in the Roman alphabet, at least one of which is required to make a word pronounceable in most western languages

Origin & History of “vowel”

A vowel is etymologically a ‘vocal’ soundthat is, one made by vibrating the vocal chords. The word comes via Old French vouel from Latin vōcālis. this was short for littera vōcālis ‘vocal letter, letter that sounds’, sonus vōcālis ‘vocal sound’, etc. Vōcālis (source of English vocal) was derived from vōx ‘voice’ (source of English voice).