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combining form

noun

Simple Definition of combining form

  • linguistics : a form of a word (such as electro- in electromagnetic or mal- in malodorous ) that only occurs as a part of other words

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of combining form

  1. :  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)

1884

First Known Use of combining form

1884


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to proceed clumsily or ineffectually

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