Meaning of “cardinal vowel” in the English Dictionary

british dictionary

"cardinal vowel" in British English

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cardinal vowelnoun [ C ]

uk /ˌkɑː.dɪ.nəl ˈvaʊəl/ us /ˌkɑːr.dɪ.nəl ˈvaʊəl/ specialized

one of the vowels in the system for describing vowels to which other vowels can be compared and referred

(Definition of “cardinal vowel” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)