Somebody told me that "hmm" and "mmm" are the only words in the English language without a vowel. Is that true?

If not, please provide counterexamples.

No acronyms please.

I am not looking for words that sound as if they have no vowels (that's already answered here), but whole words that have no vowels in their spelling or consonants used as vowels as such as 'y'.

Some syllables have no vowels, and that is already answered here, but I want whole words.

closed as off-topic by Mari-Lou A, Edwin Ashworth, Davo, tchrist Jan 15 '18 at 14:39

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Tsk tsk, what research was done before posting this question :)

Refs Tsk tsk (urban dic.) and nGram.

And for further background illumination, wiktionary...:English_words_without_vowels

Thanks for the constructive feedback @Mari-Lou A

  • 2
    Grrr was gonna answer that! – Pierre Arlaud Jan 15 '18 at 10:12
  • LMGTFY answers are not acceptable on ELU. Like the questions prompting them. – Edwin Ashworth Jan 15 '18 at 11:28
  • Thank you @EdwinAshworth, for introducing me to the (hitherto unknown to me) category of LMGTFY. – MikeRoger Jan 15 '18 at 11:45

Also zzz: (exclamation UK ​) ​

used in a picture or a piece of writing to represent the noise that people make when they are sleeping.

(Cambridge Dictionary)

From Google Books: zzz


(Note: an update to the question removed the basis for the previous version of this answer. The current version notes that the question as posed is unanswerable.)

Strictly speaking, vowels are either speech sounds or letters representing them. It therefore doesn't make sense to talk about words that "have no vowels in their spelling" as a matter distinct from "words that sound as if they have no vowels".

So in words such as "bird", pronounced in a rhotic dialect, the written 'i' isn't pronounced and therefore doesn't count as a vowel. Conversely, in words such as "my", the 'y' is pronounced as a vowel and therefore does count as a vowel.

Other words, such as hmm and pfft/pfftt, have dictionary entries and contain no vowels in their spelling, but they also have no vowels in their pronunciation. Such words rely on 'sustained' consonants such as f, m and n.

I conclude that there aren't any words that contain no vowels in their spelling which don't also sound as if they have no vowels in their pronunciation.

  • 4
    You do realize the letter Y has vowel uses, including in the very specific examples you are giving, right? – Pierre Arlaud Jan 15 '18 at 10:11
  • 1
    @PierreArlaud It's more of an attempt at humour. Besides, the OP wanted something without written vowels, not something without vowel sounds. I've edited to explain. – Lawrence Jan 15 '18 at 10:55
  • @PierreArlaud Answer rehashed. – Lawrence Jan 17 '18 at 4:21

Rhythm has no vowels.

There's also lots of examples for shorter words like why, cry, spy, shy, dry and fly.

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