The first two syllables on many biblical Hebrew names with the initial theophoric element יְהוֹ yeho were abbreviated to יוֹ yo.

enter image description here

For example, Yehochanan became Yochanan. I was curious what the linguistic term was for such a syllabific abbreviation if it was primarily due to the /eh/ simply dropping out of /yeho/ because of the preference for saying /yo/ instead.


It must be Elision, the loss of sounds, usually unstressed ones.

Further reading:

As you mentioned, this very example of elision had mostly religious (not linguistic) reason, so the change may be irregular.

  • 1
    I am not so sure the reason was mostly religious. I simply noticed it in a religious context, but it certainly could have primarily been due to a linguistic reason. After all, the Jewish people were influenced by various cultures with their own languages. Jun 1 '17 at 3:09

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.