Wordsmith.org: the magic of words


A.Word.A.Day

About Us | What's New | Search | Site Map | Contact Us  


Home

Today's Word

Yesterday's Word

Archives

FAQ


A.Word.A.Day--metaplasm

Pronunciation RealAudio

metaplasm (MET-uh-plaz-uhm) noun

A change in a word, for example by adding, omitting, inverting, or transposing its letters, syllables, or sounds.

[From Middle English metaplasmus, from Latin, from Greek metaplasmos (remodeling), from metaplassein (to remold) from meta- + plassein (to mold).]

Metaplasm is a generic term for almost any kind of alteration in a word. It can be intentional, to produce a poetic effect, to fit a meter or rhyme. Or it can be unintentional -- one we hear quite often nowadays is nucular for nuclear. Some other examples are oft for often, rithmetic for arithmetic, libary for library, sherbert for sherbet. -Anu

"It is a kind of metaplasm, in this case the addition of a medial syllable, as in people who say 'realator' instead of 'realtor.'" Zay N. Smith, Filmmakers Cutting Away at Their Rights?, The Chicago Sun-Times, Sep 29, 2002.

"So I said, `I'm going to write a letter. The world is getting too sensitive. Anybody who thinks otherwise needs to have his dog-gone brain examined.' `Good idea,' said my sensitive friend, `but avoid using that metaplasm...'" Richard A. Zidonis, Proper Address of the Question, The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, Ohio), Nov 8, 1991.

This week's theme: words about words.

X-Bonus

Recently, I was asked if I was going to fire an employee who made a mistake that cost the company $600,000. No, I replied, I just spent $600,000 training him. Why would I want somebody to hire his experience? -Thomas J. Watson, industrialist (1874-1956)

The Book:
A Word A Day is now a book. Find it in your local bookstore or at Amazon.com.

Join Us:
Subscribe to A.Word.A.Day to receive it in your mailbox every day.

Interact:

Bulletin board
AWADtalk

Moderated Chat
AWADchat

Readers' Voice
AWADmail

Subscriber Services
Awards | Stats | Links | Privacy Policy
Contribute | Advertise

© 1994-2017 Wordsmith