Definition of Back-formation

1. Noun. A word invented (usually unwittingly by subtracting an affix) on the assumption that a familiar word derives from it.

Generic synonyms: Word



Definition of Back-formation

1. Noun. (context: uncountable linguistics) The process by which a new word is formed by removing a morpheme (real or perceived) of an older word, such as the verb ''burgle'', formed by removing ''-ar'' (perceived as a suffix forming an agent noun) from ''burglar''. ¹

2. Noun. (context: countable) A word created in this way. ¹

¹ Source: wiktionary.com

Back-formation Pictures

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Lexicographical Neighbors of Back-formation

back-channeled
back-channeling
back-channelled
back-channelling
back-channels
back-cloth
back-cloth star
back-comb
back-cross
back-crosses
back-double
back-doubles
back-end
back-ends
back-form
back-formation (current term)
back-formations
back-ganging
back-geared
back-handed compliment
back-handed compliments
back-hander
back-heel
back-knee
back-number
back-of-an-envelope
back-of-the-envelope
back-pedal
back-pressure renal atrophy
back-reference

Literary usage of Back-formation

Below you will find example usage of this term as found in modern and/or classical literature:

1. Merriam-Webster's Dictionary of English Usage by Inc. Merriam-Webster (1994)
"back-formation is an active process of word-formation: the front matter of 12000 Words ... Verbs are not the only kinds of words produced by back-formation. ..."

2. Every-day Words and Their Uses: A Guide to Correct Diction by Robert Palfrey Utter (1916)
"back-formation. A supposed source-word which is really a derivative. The verb to burgle is a back-formation from the noun burglar because it seems to be the ..."

3. The Making of English by Henry Bradley (1904)
"There are Back- formation and Shortening. back-formation. There are many words in English which have a fallacious appearance of containing some well- known ..."

4. The Life and Stories of the Jaina Savior, Pārçvanātha by Aristophanes, Bhāvadevasūri, Richard Thomas Elliott, William Joseph Myles Starkie (1919)
"The ‘root' vi-kunv is clearly a Sanskrit back-formation of ... is a Sanskrit back-formation from ..."

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