• synonyms


noun, plural ep·en·the·ses [uh-pen-thuh-seez] /əˈpɛn θəˌsiz/.
  1. the insertion of one or more sounds in the middle of a word, as the schwa in the nonstandard pronunciation [el-uh m] /ˈɛl əm/ of elm.
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Origin of epenthesis

1650–60; < Late Latin: insertion of a letter < Greek epénthesis equivalent to ep- ep- + en- en-2 + thésis placing; see thesis
Related formsep·en·thet·ic [ep-uh n-thet-ik] /ˌɛp ənˈθɛt ɪk/, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for epenthesis

Historical Examples

  • Epenthesis is the insertion of a sound which facilitates pronunciation, such as that of b in Fr.

    The Romance of Names

    Ernest Weekley

  • Epenthesis, e-pen′the-sis, n. the insertion of a letter or syllable within a word.

  • Consicio, contrary to Epenthesis, is when somewhat is cutte of from the myddeste of the worde, as: Idolatry for Idololatry.

British Dictionary definitions for epenthesis


noun plural -ses (-ˌsiːz)
  1. the insertion of a sound or letter into a word
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Derived Formsepenthetic (ˌɛpɛnˈθɛtɪk), adjective

Word Origin

C17: via Late Latin from Greek, from epentithenai to insert, from epi- + en- ² + tithenai to place
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