epenthesis epenthesis
 e-pen'-thes-is from Gk. epi, "in addition," and thesis, "placing"
interlacing in the midst

The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm.
Note: Epenthesis is sometimes employed in order to accommodate meter in verse; sometimes, to facilitate easier articulation of a word's sound. It can, of course, be accidental, and a vice of speech.

Addition of a medial letter:

When "sherbet" is pronounced "sherbert"

Addition of an medial syllable:

When "realtor" is pronounced "realator"

I have but with a cursorary eye O'erglanc'd the articles.
—Shakespeare, Henry V 5.2.77

Related Figures
  • syncope
    Omitting letters or syllables from the middle of a word
  • prothesis
    The addition of a letter or syllable to the beginning of a word.
  • paragoge
    The addition of a lettter or syllable to the end of a word.
See Also
  Sources: Isidore 1.35.2; Mosellanus, a3r ("epenthesis" "interpositio"); Susenbrotus (1540) 21 ("epenthesis," "interpositio"); Sherry (1550) 27 ("epenthesis," "interpositio"); Wilson (1560) 202 ("interlacing in the midst"); Peacham (1577) E2r

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
Gideon O. Burton, Brigham Young University
Please cite "Silva Rhetoricae" (rhetoric.byu.edu)

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