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semivowel

[sem-ee-vou-uh l] /ˈsɛm iˌvaʊ əl/
noun
1.
Phonetics. a speech sound of vowel quality used as a consonant, as (w) in wet or (y) in yet.
Origin
1520-1530
1520-30; semi- + vowel; replacing semivocal < Latin sēmivocālis half vowel
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for semivowel

semivowel

/ˈsɛmɪˌvaʊəl/
noun (phonetics)
1.
a vowel-like sound that acts like a consonant, in that it serves the same function in a syllable carrying the same amount of prominence as a consonant relative to a true vowel, the nucleus of the syllable. In English and many other languages the chief semivowels are (w) in well and (j), represented as y, in yell
2.
a frictionless continuant classified as one of the liquids; (l) or (r)
Also called (US and Canadian) glide
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Encyclopedia Article for semivowel

approximant

in phonetics, a sound that is produced by bringing one articulator in the vocal tract close to another without, however, causing audible friction (see fricative). Approximants include semivowels, such as the y sound in "yes" or the w sound in "war."

Learn more about approximant with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Difficulty index for semivowel

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Word Value for semivowel

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