AskDefine | Define apocope

Dictionary Definition

apocope n : abbreviation of a word by omitting the final sound or sounds; "the British get `pud' from `pudding' by apocope"

User Contributed Dictionary



From , from sc=polytonic, sc=polytonic.


  • /əˈpɒkəpi/


  1. The loss or omission of a sound or syllable from the end of a word.


loss or omission of a sound or syllable from the end of a word
  • French: apocope
  • Italian: apocope
  • Spanish: apócope



  1. Form of First-person singular present subjunctive, apocoper
  2. Form of Third-person singular present subjunctive, apocoper
  3. Form of Second-person singular imperative, apocoper


Related terms

Extensive Definition

In phonology, apocope /əˈpɒkəpi/ or /əˈpɑkəpi/ (Greek apokoptein “cutting off” from apo- “away from” and koptein “to cut”) is the loss of one or more sounds from the end of a word; especially, the loss of an unstressed vowel.

Historical sound change

In historical phonetics, the term "apocope" is often but not always limited to the loss of an unstressed vowel.

Loss of an unstressed vowel (with nasal)

  • Vulgar Latin pan[em] > Spanish pan "bread"
  • Vulgar Latin lup[um] > French loup "wolf"
  • Latin strat[am] > English street

Loss of other sounds

  • Latin illu[d] > Spanish ello

Case marker

In the Estonian language and Sami language, a phenomenon is seen where apocope explains the forms of grammatical cases. For example, a nominative has apocope of the final vowel but the genitive does not; instead, the genitive case marker has undergone apocope: linn "a city", vs. linna "of a city", historically derived from *linna and *linnan, respectively.

Grammatical rule

Some languages have apocopations internalized as mandatory forms. In Spanish, for example, many adjectives that come before the noun lose the final vowel when they precede a noun in the masculine singular form. The word grande (big/great) becomes gran. In this cases, one would say gran aventura (great adventure) rather than grande aventura.

Poetic device

  • German ich gebe > poetic ich geb "I give"

Informal speech

Various sorts of informal abbreviations might be classed as "apocope".
  • English photograph > photo
  • French réactionnaire > réac "reactionary"
  • English animation > Japanese anime-shon > anime
  • English synchronization > sync
  • English Alexander > Alex and so on with other diminutives
For a list of similar apocopations in the English language, see List of English apocopations. These processes are also linguistically subsumed under a process called truncation.

External sources

apocope in Breton: Apokoptenn
apocope in Catalan: Apòcope
apocope in Czech: Apokopa
apocope in German: Apokope
apocope in Spanish: Apócope
apocope in French: Apocope
apocope in Galician: Apócope
apocope in Italian: Apocope
apocope in Dutch: Apocope
apocope in Norwegian: Apokope
apocope in Norwegian Nynorsk: Apokope
apocope in Low German: Apokoop
apocope in Polish: Apokopa (proces fonetyczny)
apocope in Portuguese: Apócope
apocope in Russian: Апокопа
apocope in Slovak: Apokopa
apocope in Finnish: Loppuheitto
apocope in Swedish: Apokope
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