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

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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.

1 Answer 1


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, 2017 at 3:09

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