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A.Word.A.Day--metathesis

Pronunciation Sound Clip RealAudio

metathesis (mi-TATH-i-sis) noun

1. Transposition within a word of letters, sounds, or syllables, as in the change from Old English brid to modern English bird or in the confusion of modren for modern.
2. Chemistry. Double decomposition.

[Late Latin, from Greek, from metatithenai, to transpose : meta- + tithenai, to place.]

"The mischievous imps of metathesis are at play, for instance, when rural speakers switch the 'r' and 'e' in 'pretty' and say 'perty'."
Rob Kyff' Time to Bury the 'aks'?; The Hartford Courant; Dec 9, 1998.

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