apoc·​o·​pe ə-ˈpä-kə-(ˌ)pē How to pronounce apocope (audio)
: the loss of one or more sounds or letters at the end of a word (as in sing from Old English singan)

Word History


borrowed from Late Latin apocopē, borrowed from Greek apocopḗ, literally, "a cutting off," noun derivative from the base of apokóptein "to cut off, chop off," from apo- apo- + kóptein "to strike, knock, hew, fell with a weapon," perhaps going back to dialectal Indo-European *kop- "strike, fell," whence also Lithuanian kapiù, kàpti "to hew, fell," kapóti "to hew, chop," Russian kopát' "to dig"

Note: The base *kop- has been associated with a number of words in other Indo-European branches with varying vowels and sometimes with initial s (as Latin cāpō, cāpus "castrated male chicken, capon," Greek skáptein "to dig, cultivate by digging," Old Church Slavic skopiti "to castrate," skopĭcĭ "eunuch"). These forms cannot be accounted for by regular ablaut variation, and if they actually descend from a common ancestor and are not at least partially sound-symbolic, the ancestor is more likely a European substratal word (or words) rather than a true Indo-European base.

First Known Use

circa 1550, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of apocope was circa 1550

Dictionary Entries Near apocope

Cite this Entry

“Apocope.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/apocope. Accessed 19 Jun. 2024.

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