Word of the Day : October 3, 2015


noun hap-LAH-luh-jee


: 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.


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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