Definition of clitic
: a word that is treated in pronunciation as forming a part of a neighboring word and that is often unaccented or contracted
clitic was our Word of the Day on 09/03/2010. Hear the podcast!
Theme music by Joshua Stamper ©2006 New Jerusalem Music/ASCAP
Contractions Are Full of clitics
We hear clitics every day in sentences like "This'll be fine" and "C'mon over here." There are two kinds of clitics: enclitics and proclitics. An enclitic is a clitic that is associated with the word that comes before it. Contractions, such as the "ve" in would've and the "ll" in it'll, are enclitics. A proclitic is associated with the word that follows it. Proclitics are transcribed into print far less often than enclitics are, but we hear them frequently in speech. For example, the sentence "They love to dance" is typically pronounced with the to truncated to a "t" that gets tacked onto the front of dance.
Origin and Etymology of clitic
enclitic or proclitic
First Known Use: 1946See Words from the same year
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up clitic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).