This is an abbreviation of 'breakfast' that I have found myself paying extra attention to recently. In fact I have even heard my mother use it on a regular basis. Is this common in modern spoken American vocabulary, or is this purely the construct of a regional dialect? We are native speakers from the Great Lakes region of The United States.

Other words that fall under the same category:

  • "I don't know" == dunno
  • "kitchen" == kinna (rare)
  • "library" == Libary (With an extra accent on the 'i', L-EYE-barry)
  • "school" == skoo
  • "jewelry" == joo-ry
  • "math" == maff
  • "Italian" == Italian (With an extra accent on the 'i' instead of the first 'a', EYE-talian)
  • I've never heard brefass, kinna, skoo, joo-ry, or maff from anyone over the age of about four (unless there's a speech impediment involved). Other "collapsed" mispronunciations I've heard: "prolly" for "probably" and"sammich" for "sandwich", both of which I've only become aware of in the last decade. Commented Aug 26, 2011 at 16:05
  • Sure, there are all sorts of standard words that are written one way, but hardly ever pronounced in one-to-one correspondence with the spelling. In fact, that's a particularly boring truism about English orthography, well, also about any language's orthography. Consonant clusters tend to get simplified in speech. 'Wasps' tends to get pronounced without the 'p'. '-nd-' tends to get pronounced '-n-'.
    – Mitch
    Commented Apr 2, 2013 at 14:18

1 Answer 1


I'm from New England, and I've only ever heard brefass/breffis out of the mouth of a little kid who couldn't pronounce breakfast. As for the others, dunno is common in many dialects; I've never heard kinna before (except as an alteration of cannot), so it's probably local; lie-barry is a fairly common minority (mis)pronunciation, especially in urban accents; and both skoo and jewry are an effect of articulating [ l ] as [ w ], which happens largely word-finally or after [ u ], also mostly in urban accents.

  • 1
    I would assume the same in regards to the usage of 'brefass' by children, but I was recently having breakfast with several other adults and nearly every person at the table commented 'This is a really great place to get brefass. We should come here more often.'
    – bakoyaro
    Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 7:22
  • @bakoyaro: The closest I get, even being really lazy, is [bɹɛhfəst]. Brefass (at least the way I'm reading it) sounds too much like preface.
    – Jon Purdy
    Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 7:55
  • 3
    I'd tend to think of lib'ry, too, as a reduction rather than a specific variant (mis)pronunciation. The two r's close together seem to be tricky to articulate; February gets the same treatment, very very rarely being pronounced with two r's. I can't think of any other words with similar endings to explore this end further, though...
    – PLL
    Commented Dec 27, 2010 at 14:26

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