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Great Vowel Shift

noun, Linguistics.
a series of changes in the quality of the long vowels between Middle and Modern English as a result of which all were raised, while the high vowels (ē) and (o̅o̅), already at the upper limit, underwent breaking to become the diphthongs (ī) and (ou). Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for great-vowel-shift

Great Vowel Shift

(linguistics) a phonetic change that took place during the transition from Middle to Modern English, whereby the long vowels were raised: ( became , became ), etc. The vowels () and () underwent breaking and became the diphthongs () and ()
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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