Definition of aphesis in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈafəsəs/


The loss of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word (e.g., of a from around to form round).
Example sentences
  • That word was created from it later by losing its first syllable through a process called aphesis and had the same sense.
  • Would UK speakers think this a neologism, an example of aphesis and/or a local eccentricity?
  • In the French language, texters also use aphesis, ‘zic’ for ‘musique’, or abbreviation, ‘poss’ for ‘possible’.



Pronunciation: /əˈfetik/
Example sentences
  • The word scape is defined as an aphetic form of the common word escape, meaning a primitive usage with a missing first vowel or syllable.


Pronunciation: /əˈfetik(ə)lē/
Example sentences
  • Finally, some with the name Lease or Lees are descended from Scots with the surname Gillies, where the first part of the name has been lost through aphesis, when a short beginning syllable is dropped through lazy pronunciation, as in squire, derived aphetically from esquire.
  • Since cute derives aphetically, as the OED informs us, from acute, cuteness's etymology strikingly replicates the diminutive logic of the aesthetic it has come to name, since in aphaeresis words lose their initial unstressed syllables to generate shorter versions of themselves: lone derives from alone, til from until.
  • The transmission to Europe though may have been through Arabic ‘naranj’ (Pers. ‘narang’) which was used as ‘a norange’ in English and later hyper-corrected aphetically to ‘an orange’ (the original form survives in the Spanish ‘naranja’).


Late 19th century: from Greek, literally 'letting go', from apo 'from' + hienai 'let go, send'.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: aph·e·sis

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