Back-Formation

Entertainment / Literature / Back-Formation: (1) The process of creating a new word when speakers (often mistakenly) remove an affix or other morpheme from a longer word. For instance, English speakers created the verb burgle by mistakenly thinking the word burglar as an agent noun derived from a verb. (2) Linguists call any word formed by this previously described process a 'back-formation.' For extended discussion see Algeo on pages 260-62.

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