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  • WordNet 3.6
    • n aphesis the gradual disappearance of an initial (usually unstressed) vowel or syllable as in `squire' for `esquire'
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • n Aphesis The loss of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word; -- the result of a phonetic process; as, squire for esquire .
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Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • n aphesis The gradual and unintentional removal of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word; a special form of apheresis, as in squire for esquire, down for adown, etc.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • n Aphesis af′es-is the gradual loss of an unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word, as in squire = esquire—a special form of Aphæresis
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
Gr. a letting go; + to let go
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
Coined by Dr Murray. Gr.


In literature:

This English tendency to aphesis is satirised in a French song of the 14th century, intentionally written in bad French.
"The Romance of Words (4th ed.)" by Ernest Weekley
Aphesis is the loss of the unaccented first syllable, as in 'baccy and 'later.
"The Romance of Names" by Ernest Weekley