Definition - The omission of letters or syllables from the interior of either a word or a phrase so that it is easier to pronounce.

1. The omitting of letters or syllables from the end of a word is called apocope, whereas omitting from the beginning of a word is called aphaeresis.

Example -
What oft was thought, but ne'er so well expressed.
(In the above, oft is an example of apocope and ne'er is an example of syncope.)

Etymology -
The word derives via Late Latin from the Greek synkope, contraction of a word (from syn, together or thoroughly + koptein, to cut).

Oxford English Dictionary -
Its first citation in this sense is from 1530:
"In the future indycatyve and present potenciall I fynde somtyme syncopa used, as pouruoyray … for pouruoyeray."
(Jehan Palsgrave, Lesclarcissement de la langue françoyse, 392 )

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