Definition of clitic in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈklɪtɪk/


An unstressed word that normally occurs only in combination with another word, for example 'm in I’m.
Example sentences
  • Null objects are allowed in many languages despite the absence of an object-identifying clitic or a verb - object agreement feature.
  • In more prestigious varieties of Spanish, the clitic and object noun phrase are in complementary distribution (La vi or Vi a la mujer).
  • Except for Obi-Wan, the good guys in the Star Wars original trilogy all spoke colloquial American English, clitics and all.



Pronunciation: /ˌklɪtɪsʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
(also cliticisation) noun
Example sentences
  • What seems to be excluded is a theory that analyzes both cliticization and quantifier float as local movement.
  • Topics to be discussed are do-support, cliticisation phenomena and the interaction of stress and intonational phrasing with word order.
  • In my PhD thesis, I've examined the inflectional behaviour of pronominal clitics in European Portuguese and developed an inflectional account of cliticisation.


(also cliticise) verb
Example sentences
  • As an IM, however, it underwent grammaticalization and was cliticized to the left of the verb.
  • As adverbs, relators are cliticised onto postposition, again to further specify the meaning of the postposition.
  • When negation cliticizes to the beginning of verbs and modals, the resulting combination is treated as a compound.


1940s: from (en)clitic and (pro)clitic.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: clit¦ic

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