combining form noun
linguistics : a form of a word (such as electro- in electromagnetic or mal- in malodorous ) that only occurs as a part of other words
: a linguistic form that occurs only in compounds or derivatives and can be distinguished descriptively from an affix by its ability to occur as one immediate constituent of a form whose only other immediate constituent is an affix (as cephal- in cephalic) or by its being derived from an independent word (as electro- representing electric in electromagnet or para- representing parachute in paratrooper) or can be distinguished historically from an affix by the fact that it is borrowed from another language in which it is descriptively a word or a combining form (as French mal giving English mal- in malodorous)
First Known Use of COMBINING FORM
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