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[af-uh-sis] /ˈæf ə sɪs/
noun, Historical Linguistics
the disappearance or loss of an unstressed initial vowel or syllable, as in the formation of the word slant from aslant.
Origin of aphesis
1880; < Greek áphesis a letting go, equivalent to aphe- (variant stem of aphiénai to let go, set free; ap- ap-2 + hiénai to send) + -sis -sis Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for aphesis
Historical Examples
  • aphesis is the loss of the unaccented first syllable, as in 'baccy and 'later.

    The Romance of Names Ernest Weekley
  • This English tendency to aphesis is satirised in a French song of the 14th century, intentionally written in bad French.

  • But confusion with the article is not necessary in order to bring about aphesis.

British Dictionary definitions for aphesis


the gradual disappearance of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word, as in squire from esquire
Derived Forms
aphetic (əˈfɛtɪk) adjective
aphetically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from Greek, from aphienai to set free, send away
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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