[ af-uh-sis ]
/ ˈæf ə sɪs /

noun Historical Linguistics.

the disappearance or loss of an unstressed initial vowel or syllable, as in the formation of the word slant from aslant.

Nearby words

  1. apheliotropic,
  2. apheliotropism,
  3. aphemia,
  4. apheresis,
  5. apheretic,
  6. aphetic,
  7. aphid,
  8. aphid lion,
  9. aphides,
  10. aphidian

Origin of aphesis

1880; < Greek áphesis a letting go, equivalent to aphe- (variant stem of aphiénai to let go, set free; ap- ap-2 + hiénai to send) + -sis -sis

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for aphesis

  • But confusion with the article is not necessary in order to bring about aphesis.

  • This English tendency to aphesis is satirised in a French song of the 14th century, intentionally written in bad French.

  • Aphesis is the loss of the unaccented first syllable, as in 'baccy and 'later.

    The Romance of Names|Ernest Weekley

British Dictionary definitions for aphesis


/ (ˈæfɪsɪs) /


the gradual disappearance of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word, as in squire from esquire
Derived Formsaphetic (əˈfɛtɪk), adjectiveaphetically, adverb

Word Origin for aphesis

C19: from Greek, from aphienai to set free, send away

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