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A sound that has the quality of one of the high vowels, as (ē) or (o͞o), and that functions as a consonant before or after vowels, as the initial sounds of yell and well and the final sounds of coy and cow. Also called glide.
nAlso called (US and Canadian): glide
1. (Phonetics & Phonology) 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. (Phonetics & Phonology) a frictionless continuant classified as one of the liquids; (l) or (r)
sem•i•vow•el(ˈsɛm ɪˌvaʊ əl)
a speech sound of vowel quality used as a consonant, as (w) in wet or (y) in yet.
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|Noun||1.||semivowel - a vowellike sound that serves as a consonant|
speech sound, phone, sound - (phonetics) an individual sound unit of speech without concern as to whether or not it is a phoneme of some language
palatal - a semivowel produced with the tongue near the palate (like the initial sound in the English word `yeast')