Definition - The omission of either a syllable or a letter from the beginning of a word.

1. The word is often used to mean "the loss of an unstressed vowel at the beginning of a word." This is incorrect. The OED calls this type of aphaeresis aphesis.
2. The omitting of letters or syllables from the end of a word is called apocope, whereas omitting from a word's interior so that it is easier to pronounce is called syncope.

Example -
The word cute was coined from the word acute and the word coon from raccoon by this process.

Etymology -
The word derives from the Greek apo, away + hairein, to take, thus aphaeresis is "a taking away from."

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation is from 1611:
"Aphairese, the figure Aphæresis."

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