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[roh-tuh-siz-uh m] /ˈroʊ təˌsɪz əm/
Historical Linguistics. a change of a speech sound, especially (s), to (r), as in the change from Old Latin lases to Latin lares.
excessive use of the sound (r), its misarticulation, or the substitution of another sound for it.
Origin of rhotacism
1825-35; < Greek rhô rho + (io)tacism
Related forms
rhotacistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for rhotacism


noun (phonetics)
excessive use or idiosyncratic pronunciation of r
Derived Forms
rhotacist, noun
rhotacistic, adjective
Word Origin
C19: from New Latin rhōtacismus, from Greek rhōtakizein (verb) from the letter rho
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for rhotacism

1830, from Modern Latin rhotacismus, from Greek rhotakizein, from rho "the letter -r-," from Hebrew or Phoenician roth. Excessive or peculiar use of the -r- sound (cf. the "burr"), especially the conversion of another sound (usually -s-) to -r-; cf. Aeolian Greek, which at the end of words changed -s- into -r- (hippor for hippos, etc.). Related: Rhotacize.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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