Definition of semivowel noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

 

semivowel

 noun
noun
BrE BrE//ˈsemivaʊəl//
 
; NAmE NAmE//ˈsemivaʊəl//
 
(phonetics)
 
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a speech sound that sounds like a vowel but functions as a consonant, for example /w/ and /j/ in the English words wet and yet Word Origin mid 16th cent.: from semi- + vowel, on the pattern of Latin semivocalis.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: semivowel