Definition of epenthesis in English:


Pronunciation /əˈpenTHəsəs/ /əˈpɛnθəsəs/


  • The insertion of a sound or letter within a word, e.g. the b in thimble.

    ‘This epenthesis often shows up even when Sicilians speak Italian.’
    • ‘Data were categorized as accurately produced, produced with modifications (epenthesis or feature change), or absent, which meant that one or more of the consonants in the coda were not produced.’
    • ‘I assume we know the correct hidden structure (like foot structure) and the correct underlying forms (no epenthesis or deletion or lexical stress).’


Mid 16th century via late Latin from Greek, from epentithenai ‘insert’, from epi ‘in addition’ + en- ‘within’ + tithenai ‘to place’.