schwa

schwa

[shwah]
noun Phonetics.
1.
the mid-central, neutral vowel sound typically occurring in unstressed syllables in English, however spelled, as the sound of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, u in circus.
2.
the phonetic symbol ə, used to represent this sound.
Also, shwa.


Origin:
1890–95; < German < Hebrew shəwā, name of a diacritic marking schwa or no vowel

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World English Dictionary
schwa or shwa (ʃwɑː)
 
n
1.  a central vowel represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by (). The sound occurs in unstressed syllables in English, as in around, mother, and sofa
2.  the symbol () used to represent this sound
 
[C19: via German from Hebrew shewā, a diacritic indicating lack of a vowel sound]
 
shwa or shwa
 
n
 
[C19: via German from Hebrew shewā, a diacritic indicating lack of a vowel sound]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

schwa
1895, from Ger. Schwa, ult. from Heb. shewa "a neutral vowel quality," lit. "emptiness."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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