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syncope


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[sink‐ŏ‐pi]

A kind of verbal contraction by which a letter or syllable is omitted from within a word (rather than from the beginning or end of the word, as in elision). Obvious cases are heav'n for ‘heaven’ and o'er for ‘over’; but the term also covers the omission of sounds without indication in the spelling (e.g. the word extraordinary, commonly pronounced as four or five syllables instead of six). The device is especially common in syllabic and accentual‐syllabic verse, where it keeps the word within the metrical scheme. Adjective: syncopal or syncopic.

Subjects: Literature.


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