A very important concept in the evolution of languages, metathesis allows us to understand why we say "Wensday" for Wednesday and ax instead of ask. Also, the Anglo-Saxon originators of the word bird started with brid. One used to pronounce clasp, clapse, etc.

Just a good term to keep in mind when certain people start messing with your pronounciation. I look at the concept as a sort of path of least resistance while pronouncing a given word. I just feel that these days standardized spelling constipates the english language.

See also: busker (what got me started on noding this already Webstered idea)

Me*tath"e*sis (?), n.; pl. Metatheses (). [L., fr. Gr. meta`thesis, fr. metatithe`nai to place differently, to transpose; meta` beyond, over + tithe`nai to place, set. See Thesis.]

1. Gram.

Transposition, as of the letters or syllables of a word; as, pistris for pristis; meagre for meager.

2. Med.

A mere change in place of a morbid substance, without removal from the body.

3. Chem.

The act, process, or result of exchange, substitution, or replacement of atoms and radicals; thus, by metathesis an acid gives up all or part of its hydrogen, takes on an equivalent amount of a metal or base, and forms a salt.

 

© Webster 1913.

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