Word of the Day : October 3, 2015

haplology

play
noun hap-LAH-luh-jee

Definition

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

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.


Examples

The speech therapist assured the child's parents that "the tendency towards haplology will likely correct itself with age."

"Haplology is responsible for a variety of forms found in rapid speech in English: not just probly, but also libry (library), nesry (necessary), interpretive (interpretative), and others." — Gretchen McCulloch, Slate.com, 4 Apr. 2014



Test Your Vocabulary

Fill in the blanks to create a term for the loss of one or more sounds at the beginning of a word, as in round for around and coon for raccoon: ap _ _ er _ s _ s.

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