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free variation

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noun Linguistics.
  1. a relation between the members of a pair of phones, phonemes, morphs, or other linguistic entities such that either of the two may occur in the same position with no change in the meaning of the utterance: in the first syllable of “economics,” “e” and “ē” are in free variation.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
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