AskDefine | Define synaeresis

Dictionary Definition



1 the contraction of two vowels into a diphthong [syn: syneresis]
2 the separation of liquid from a gel that is caused by contraction (as in cheese making) [syn: syneresis]

User Contributed Dictionary


Alternative spellings


From the Greek συναίρεσις.


  1. the contraction of two vowels into a diphthong or a long vowel.
    An example of synaeresis is the contraction of the -ew (/uː/) and or- (/oʊɹ/) of New Orleans into /nɔːlənz/.
  2. the separating out of the liquid from a gel.

Extensive Definition

In linguistics, synaeresis (Greek συναίρεσις) is the contraction of two vowels into a diphthong (or long vowel). If synaeresis is used against convention, it may serve as a rhetorical figure (a metaplasm). The opposite phenomenon is known as diaeresis.
In historical linguistics, such contractions often result after the regular loss of a consonant that used to separate the two vowels. In this case, the resulting vowel or diphthong will typically carry a circumflex intonation.
synaeresis in Breton: Sinairezenn
synaeresis in German: Synärese (Linguistik)
synaeresis in Spanish: Sinéresis
synaeresis in French: Synérèse
synaeresis in Galician: Sinérese
synaeresis in Polish: Synereza (językoznawstwo)
synaeresis in Portuguese: Sinérese
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