• haplology
  • audio pronunciation
  • \hap-LAH-luh-jee\
  • DEFINITION

noun

: contraction of a word by omission of one or more similar sounds or syllables
  • EXAMPLES

Johnny's teacher, determined to stomp out any instances of haplology in her classroom, corrected him every time he pronounced "probably" as "problee."

  • DID YOU KNOW?

Try to say "pierced-ear earrings" three times fast. That exercise will demonstrate why haplology happens: sometimes it's just easier to drop a syllable and leave yourself with something that's easier to say (such as "pierced earrings"). American philologist Maurice Bloomfield recognized the tendency to drop one of a pair of similar syllables a little over a hundred years ago. He has been credited with joining the combining form "hapl-" or "haplo-" (meaning "single") with "-logy" (meaning "oral or written expression") to create "haplology" as a name for the phenomenon. Haplology is quite common in English, and often the contracted forms it generates spread into the written language. In fact, haplology played a role in naming the nation that is the cradle of English: "England" was condensed via haplology from "Engla land."

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