Schwa is a vowel sound in an unstressed syllable, or the phonetic symbol "ə" which is the International Phonetic Alphabet symbol for schwa.
An unstressed syllable in a word, such as the "a" syllable in ago, is an example of schwa.
- the neutral mid-central vowel sound of most unstressed syllables in English: the sound represented by a in ago, e in agent, i in sanity, etc.
- the symbol (?) for this sound, as in the International Phonetic Alphabet and this dictionary
Origin of schwaGerman ; from Classical Hebrew (language) sheva, a diacritic marking silence instead of a vowel sound
- A mid-central neutral vowel, typically occurring in unstressed syllables, as the final vowel of English sofa.
- The symbol (&schwa;) used to represent an unstressed neutral vowel and, in some systems of phonetic transcription, a stressed mid-central vowel, as in but.
Origin of schwaGerman, from Hebrew š&schwa;wa’, probably from Syriac (nuqz&emacron;) šwayya, even (points), pl. passive participle of šwa, to be even; see šwy in Semitic roots.