- noun (plural -aries or -arys) Etymology: Middle English Februarie, from Old English Februarius, from Latin, from Februa, plural, feast of purification Date: before 12th century the second month of the Gregorian calendar Usage: Dissimilation may occur when a word contains two identical or closely related sounds, resulting in the change or loss of one of them. This happens regularly in February, which is more often pronounced \ˈfe-b(y)ə-ˌwer-ē\ than \ˈfe-brə-ˌwer-ē\, though all of these variants are in frequent use and widely accepted. The \y\ heard from many speakers is not an intrusion but rather a common pronunciation of the vowel u after a consonant, as in January and annual.
New Collegiate Dictionary. 2001.
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