noun epen·the·sis \i-ˈpen(t)-thə-səs, e-\

Definition of epenthesis



play \i-ˈpen(t)-thə-ˌsēz, e-\
  1. :  the insertion or development of a sound or letter in the body of a word (such as \ə\ in \ˈa-thə-ˌlēt\ athlete)


play \ˌe-pən-ˈthe-tik\ adjective

epenthesis was our Word of the Day on 07/08/2014. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

If you say film as "FIL-um," with two syllables, you've committed epenthesis. It isn't a punishable offense-in fact, it's not an offense at all. It is simply a natural way to break up an awkward cluster of consonants. It's easier for some people to say film as two syllables instead of one, just as it's easier for some to insert a "b" sound into cummerbund, pronouncing that word as "CUM-ber-bund."

Origin and Etymology of epenthesis

Late Latin, from Greek, from epentithenai to insert a letter, from epi- + entithenai to put in, from en- + tithenai to put — more at do

First Known Use: 1543

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