atkins-bookshelf-wordsDefinition: The omission of a syllable or sound from the end of a word.

Etymology: Derived from the Greek word apokoptein meaning  “cutting off” — apo (meaning “from”) and koptein (meaning “to cut”).

Related words: syncope (omitting letters from the middle of a word); aphesis (omitting letters from the beginning of a word); elision (the omission of an unstressed vowel or consonant).

Pronunciation: a paak a PEE

There are several words in English that are formed from apocope: photo (from photography), fab (from fabulous), mag (from magazine), obit (from obituary), typo (from typographical error) and stats (from statistics). Some less obvious words formed from apocope are: cinema (from the French word, cinematographe), movie (from moving picture), brandy (from the Dutch brandewijn); piano (from the Italian word pianoforte), and zoo (from zoological garden). Many nicknames are formed from apocope as well: Alex (from Alexander), Barb (from Barbara), Ben (from Benjamin), and Zach (from Zachary), to name just a few.

Read related post: Word Oddities: Fun with Vowels

For further reading: Never Odd or Even & Other Tricks Words Can Do by O. V. Michaelsen, Main Street Press (1997)


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