Figure Name epenthesis
Source Silva Rhetoricae (http://humanities.byu.edu/rhetoric/Silva.htm); 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 ; JG Smith (1665) ("epenthesis"); Macbeth (1876); Holmes (1806) ("epenthesis")
Earliest Source None
Synonyms interpositio, interlacing in the midst, insertion
Etymology from Gk. epi, "in addition," and thesis, "placing"
Type Scheme
Linguistic Domain Orthographic

1. The addition of a letter, sound, or syllable to the middle of a word. A kind of metaplasm. (Silva Rhetoricae)

2. Interposition; it is the interposition of a letter or syllable in the middle of a word.; Epenthesis, interpositio, interposition, or a putting in between. Epenthesis is the interposition of a letter or syllable in the midst of a word. (JG Smith)

3. Epenthesis, or Insertion, is our next figure of etymology, the inserting of a letter or letters in the middle of a word. (Macbeth)

4. Epenthesis to th' middle adds one more, Than what the word could justly claim before. (Holmes)


1. 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 (Silva Rhetoricae)

3. "I du believe in prayer and praise
To him-that hez the grantin'
Of jobs; in every thing that pays;
But most of all in cantin' ;
That doth my cup with marcies fill,
That lays all thought o' sin to rest;
I don't believe in Princerple,
But, oh! I du in Interest."
- James Russell Lowell (Macbeth)

4. Blackamoore, for Blackmoor. (Holmes)

Kind Of
Part Of
Related Figures syncope, prothesis, paragoge, figures of etymology
Notes 'Type of' would be 'addition' but this is not an option. 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.
Confidence Unconfident
Last Editor Nayoung Hong
Confidence Unconfident
Editorial Notes
Reviewed No