Word Ways


Despite the promise of the title, this article is not concerned with the intelligibility of dictionary words without vowels (that is, with the letters AEIOUY removed), but instead with that tiny group of words which contain no vowels at all. For the sake of completeness, we include a considerably larger group of words which appear vowelless, but in reality are not -- words which use the letters V or W to represent vowel sounds. On the other hand, we do not include two burgeoning classes of vowelless words quite familiar to the average reader -- abbreviations such as MR., MRS., or DR. which are pronounced as if the full word were present, and acronymic words such as TV, DDT, MPH or TNT, usually printed in capitals and invariably pronounced by spelling out the individual letters.