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1. A mid-central neutral vowel, typically occurring in unstressed syllables, as the final vowel of English sofa.
2. The symbol (ə) used to represent an unstressed neutral vowel and, in some systems of phonetic transcription, a stressed mid-central vowel, as in but.
1. (Phonetics & Phonology) a central vowel represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by (ə). The sound occurs in unstressed syllables in English, as in around, mother, and sofa
2. (Phonetics & Phonology) the symbol (ə) used to represent this sound
[C19: via German from Hebrew shewā, a diacritic indicating lack of a vowel sound]
n., pl. schwas or shwas.
1. the mid-central, neutral vowel sound typically occurring in unstressed syllables in English, as the sound of a in alone and sofa or u in circus.
2. the phonetic symbol ə, used to represent this sound.
[1890–95; < German < Hebrew shəwā name of a diacritic marking schwa or no vowel]