Definition of back-formation in English:
1A word that is formed from an already existing word from which it appears to be a derivative, often by removal of a suffix (e.g., laze from lazy and edit from editor).
- It was evidently a back-formation of gullibility, which in turn was an alteration of cullibility, ultimately from cull, meaning ‘a dupe’.
- The name ‘Troynovant’ is a back-formation from ‘Trinovantes’, the name of the powerful British tribe that lived north and east of London.
- The verb ‘to wrong’ is more common than the noun, and indeed the noun probably gets its enclitic meaning by back-formation from the verb.
1.1The process by which back-formations are formed.
- By a curious process of back-formation, a number of brand names, products and logos - Aeroplane jelly, Arnott's biscuits, Holden cars, Vegemite, the Qantas kangaroo - became national symbols in their own right.
- Rather, he says, ‘semi-auto’ is short for ‘semi-auto-loader,’ a translation from the German, and ‘semi-auto’ was lengthened by back-formation to ‘semi-automatic.’
Definition of back-formation in:
- British & World English dictionary
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.
Most popular in the US
Most popular in the UK
Most popular in Australia
Most popular in Malaysia
Most popular in India