In phonetics, apheresis (// or //; British English: aphaeresis; from Greek apo away, hairein to take) is the loss of one or more sounds from the beginning of a word, especially the loss of an unstressed vowel.
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 /ˈæfɨsɪs/.)
The loss of any sound
The loss of an unstressed vowel
- Greek episkopos > Vulgar Latin [e]biscopu > English bishop
- English [a]cute > cute
- English [E]gyptian > Gyptian > Gypsy
- English [a]mend > mend
- English [e]scape + goat > scapegoat
- Old French evaniss > English vanish
- Old French estable > English stable
- Old French estrange > English strange
- English esquire > squire
- Akkadian Ashuraya > Shuraya
Aphaeresis as a poetic device
- English it is > poetic ’tis
Aphaeresis in informal speech
- Spanish está > Familiar Spanish [e]tá > ta ("is")
- English oath God's truth > Familiar Australian English exclamation strewth
- ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, Gypsy. Retrieved 2010-07-13.
- ^ Online Etymology Dictionary, Scapegoat. Retrieved 2012-06-05.
- Crowley, Terry. (1997) An Introduction to Historical Linguistics. 3rd edition. Oxford University Press.