A vocal, or sometimes a whispered, sound modified by resonance in the oral passage, the peculiar resonance in each case giving to each several vowel its distinctive character or quality as a sound of speech; -- distinguished from a consonant in that the latter, whether made with or without vocality, derives its character in every case from some kind of obstructive action by the mouth organs. Also, a letter or character which represents such a sound. See Guide to Pronunciation, §§ 5, 146-149.
- A speech sound, such as (ē) or (ĭ), created by the relatively free passage of breath through the larynx and oral cavity, usually forming the most prominent and central sound of a syllable.
- A letter, such as a, e, i, o, u, and sometimes y in the English alphabet, that represents a vowel.