free variation


noun Linguistics.

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.

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You may have read the word "simmer" in a recipe or two, but what does it really mean?
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020