back-formation on Wikipedia

Alternative formsEdit


Coined by Scottish lexicographer and philologist James Murray in 1889; from back +‎ formation.


back-formation (plural back-formations)

  1. (uncountable, linguistics) The process by which a new word is formed from an older word by interpreting the former as a derivative of the latter, often by removing a morpheme (real or perceived) from the older word, such as the verb burgle, formed by removing -ar (perceived as an agent-noun suffix) from burglar.
  2. (countable) A word created in this way.
    Back-formations, such as "tambour" (for "play the tambourine"), are a staple of comedic wordplay.


  • (a word created by back-formation): back-form

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