Definition of epenthesis in US English:


nounPlural epentheses

  • 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’.