Coined by Scottish lexicographer and philologist James Murray in 1889; from back- + formation.
back-formation (countable and uncountable, plural back-formations)
- (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.
- (countable) A word created in this way.
- Back-formations, such as "tambour" (for "play the tambourine"), are a staple of comedic wordplay.
- Synonym: back-form
word formed by this linguistic process