French boutique, Spanish bodega etc. are by etymology said to be from Latin apothēca (REW).

Are there other cases of word-initial a- being lost in Romance languages?

From the top of my head, words like French apparenter and allemand for example haven't change that much. I have also checked abeille and ouvrir, but the material isn't necessarily complete; s.v. Latin n. f. *ap-:


2 Answers 2


Nyrop, Grammaire historique de la langue française (1914, p. 256) gives the following additional examples (among others) for French:

  • Apulia > Pouille, Aquitania > Guyenne
  • hemicrania > migraine, hemina > mine, Egertius > le Gers, Aegidius > Gilles
  • oryza > riz (borrowed through Italian riso)
  • unicornem > licorne

-- as well as the forms of the definite article, illum > le etc.


Loss of an initial vowel is the kind of thing that tends to happen relatively freely. In this case, the fact that it was a greek word, rather than latin, allows it to have been acquired imperfectly, and not in a uniform way across the Empire. For instance, the portuguese version is adega, suggesting syncope of the o and loss of the p rather than apheresis of the a. With actual latin words, the chances of irregular sound change are much lower.


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