Separation of the parts of a compound word by one or more intervening words; for example, where I go ever instead of wherever I go.
Separation of the parts of a compound word by an intervening word or words (Ex.: what person soever for whatsoever person)
Origin of tmesis
- Late Latin tmēsis from Greek a cutting from temnein to cut tem- in Indo-European roots
From American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition
- Cognates include Bulgarian тмезис (tmezis), Dutch tmesis, Finnish tmeesi, French tmèse, German Tmesis, Greek τμήσις (tmísis), Italian tmesi, Polish tmeza, Portuguese tmese, Russian тмезис (tmezis), Serbo-Croatian тмеза and tmeza, Spanish tmesis, and many more others.
- Coined 1586, from Late Latin tmēsis, from Ancient Greek τμῆσις (tmēsis, “a cutting”), from τέμνω (temnō, “I cut”).