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n. pl. aph·e·ses (-sēz′)
The loss of an initial, usually unstressed vowel from a word, as in cute from acute.

[Greek, a release, from aphīenai, aphe-, to let go : apo-, apo- + hīenai, to send; see diesis.]

a·phet′ic (ə-fĕt′ĭk) adj.
a·phet′i·cal·ly adv.


(Linguistics) the gradual disappearance of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word, as in squire from esquire
[C19: from Greek, from aphienai to set free, send away]
aphetic adj
aˈphetically adv


(ˈæf ə sɪs)

the gradual disappearance or loss of an unstressed initial vowel or syllable.
[1880; < Greek áphesis release =aph(i)é(nai) to let go, set free (ap- ap-2 + hiénai to send) + -sis -sis]
a•phet•ic (əˈfɛt ɪk) adj.
a•phet′i•cal•ly, adv.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.aphesis - the gradual disappearance of an initial (usually unstressed) vowel or syllable as in `squire' for `esquire'
deletion, omission - any process whereby sounds or words are left out of spoken words or phrases
References in periodicals archive ?
Elamite has a regular pattern of aphesis where the initial vowel of #VC roots is lost and where the thematic vowel is mandatory for verbs.