One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Change (a sound or sounds in a word) to another when the word originally had identical sounds near each other (e.g. in taper, which derives from papyrus, the p is dissimilated to t).
- ‘If the stem ends in l, the ending -na is dissimilated to -da:’
- ‘In pilgrim, from Latin peregrinus, the first r is dissimilated to l.’
- 1.1no object (of a sound) undergo the process of dissimilation.‘the first ‘r’ dissimilates to ‘l’’
- ‘In roots with two aspirated stops, the first dissimilates to an unaspirate stop.’
- ‘Robert Blust in this journal in 1996 drew attention to a process in a number of widely separated Oceanic languages in which the first a of an aCa sequence dissimilates to a higher vowel.’
Mid 19th century: from dis- (expressing reversal) + Latin similis ‘like, similar’, on the pattern of assimilate.
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