- the mid-central, neutral vowel sound typically occurring in unstressed syllables in English, however spelled, as the sound of a in alone and sofa, e in system, i in easily, o in gallop, u in circus.
- the phonetic symbol ə, used to represent this sound.
- 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
- the symbol (ə) used to represent this sound
n.1895, from German Schwa, ultimately from Hebrew shewa “a neutral vowel quality,” literally “emptiness.”