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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Aphesis

Aphesis \Aph"e*sis\, n. [Gr. ? a letting go; ? + ? to let go.] The loss of a short unaccented vowel at the beginning of a word; -- the result of a phonetic process; as, squire for esquire.
--New Eng. Dict.

WordNet

aphesis

n. the gradual disappearance of an initial (usually unstressed) vowel or syllable as in `squire' for `esquire'

Wiktionary

aphesis

n. (context linguistics prosody English) The loss of the initial unstressed vowel of a word.