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Related to back-formation: Word formation


or back formation (băk′fôr-mā′shən)
1. A new word created by removing an affix from an already existing word, as vacuum clean from vacuum cleaner, or by removing what is mistakenly thought to be an affix, as bicep from the English plural biceps.
2. The process of forming words in this way.

back′-form′ (băk′fôrm′) v.
back′-formed′ (băk′fôrmd′) adj.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


The formation of a word by assuming it must be the root of an existing word, for example the verb “babysit” derived from the noun “babysitter.”
Dictionary of Unfamiliar Words by Diagram Group Copyright © 2008 by Diagram Visual Information Limited
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.back-formation - a word invented (usually unwittingly by subtracting an affix) on the assumption that a familiar word derives from it
word - a unit of language that native speakers can identify; "words are the blocks from which sentences are made"; "he hardly said ten words all morning"
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
It's actually a back-formation of the noun "remuneration."
Rather, she examines ancient literary, epigraphic, numismatic, and artistic evidence to traduce the ways in which modern assumptions of ethnicity, nationhood, and collective identity may have caused the back-formation, rather than the discovery, of an ancient people.
Back-formation is used when new words develop from other words by reducing them.
"On Some Issues of Back-Formation in English." Linguistica Pragensia, No.
To this end, it 'may mean steering readers from a modern back-formation of piety and allegory where none exists, as well as providing a reliable and well-informed sense of the knowledge and cultural capital represented by Christianity for the original writers and audiences of romance' (p.
His name is explained by Bollee as a back-formation via Prakrit Pasa/Passa from the reduced form (U)pasva(sena) which links the tirthankara to a "mythical serpent prince" who is the son of the naga king Asvasena.
Under the heading of "Reanalysis," Adams discusses some affixes, back-formation, blending, and shortening.