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Is the word "elide" a word commonly used by English speakers, or is it a more esoteric word used in law or crossword puzzles?

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    It's not common, but is not terribly esoteric like 'paronym' or 'dado'.
    – Mitch
    Jul 26, 2013 at 17:58
  • "Dado" has "elide" beat in literature 2:1. books.google.com/ngrams/…
    – MetaEd
    Jul 26, 2013 at 22:44
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    The qualifications "commonly used" and "esoteric" are too vague and therefore the question is a matter of opinion.
    – MetaEd
    Jul 26, 2013 at 22:46
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    @MετάEd: Argh! That's not fair using data!
    – Mitch
    Nov 5, 2013 at 2:45

4 Answers 4

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I have never heard ‘elide’ used in regular conversation in the more general sense of “join together; merge”.

Within the field of linguistics (even in non-academic contexts), however, it is a perfectly common word describing the omission of a sound (usually a vowel) or syllable. For example, in “I’ll” or “he’s”, the syllable /wi/ and the vowel /i/, respectively, have been elided. I am not familiar with a different term commonly used for this type of elision—‘omit’ is not commonly used in this sense, except perhaps by people who simply do not know the word ‘elide’ at all.

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    Your profile doesn't give any relevant info, but I suspect you personally probably do use the word in [language-related] conversations. I only have such "conversations" online, but obviously we use it on a regular basis here on ELU. Jul 26, 2013 at 16:58
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It's a technical term in linguistics, usually in phonetics and phonology; I've also seen it used occasionally in syntax, speaking of such phenomena as Conversational Deletion, Conjunction Reduction, To Be-Deletion, or That-Deletion, etc.

The noun form elision is more common, but elide is the correct verb form, and it gets used plenty, as you can see on the Wikipedia page.

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"Elide" is not used in daily speech and is rare even in written text. "Elide" is synonym for "omit" and this NGram shows that "elide" is used far less in literature than "omit."

http://books.google.com/ngrams/graph?content=elide%2Comit&year_start=1800&year_end=2000&corpus=15&smoothing=3&share=

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(US answer.) I have only heard elide in the context of phonology (a branch of linguistics) and choral music. So yes, it tends toward the esoteric.

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