Apheresis (linguistics)

Sound change and alternation

In phonetics, apheresis (/əˈfɛrsɪs, əˈfɪərsɪs/; British English: aphaeresis) is the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel, thus producing a new form called an aphetism (/ˈæfɪtɪzm/).


Apheresis comes from Greek ἀφαίρεσις from ἀπό apo, "away" and αἱρέω haireo, "to take."

Apheresis as a historical sound change

In historical phonetics, the term "apheresis" is often but not always limited to the loss of an unstressed vowel. The Oxford English Dictionary gives this particular kind of apheresis the name aphesis (/ˈæfsɪs/; from Greek ἄφεσις).

Loss of any sound

Loss of an unstressed vowel

Apheresis as a poetic device

Apheresis in informal speech

See also

Look up apheresis or aphaeresis in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.



  1. Online Etymology Dictionary, Gypsy. Retrieved 2010-07-13.


This article is issued from Wikipedia - version of the 7/22/2016. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.