hap·​lol·​o·​gy | \ ha-ˈplä-lə-jē How to pronounce haplology (audio) \

Definition of haplology

: contraction of a word by omission of one or more similar sounds or syllables (as in mineralogy for hypothetical mineralology or \ˈprä-blē\ for probably)

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."

First Known Use of haplology

1893, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of haplology was in 1893

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Cite this Entry

“Haplology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/haplology. Accessed 5 Jul. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on haplology

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with haplology

Nglish: Translation of haplology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about haplology

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