- 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
- excessive use or idiosyncratic pronunciation of r
Word Origin 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.