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morpheme

play
noun mor·pheme \ˈmȯr-ˌfēm\

Simple Definition of morpheme

  • linguistics : a word or a part of a word that has a meaning and that contains no smaller part that has a meaning

Source: Merriam-Webster's Learner's Dictionary

Full Definition of morpheme

  1. :  a distinctive collocation of phonemes (as the free form pin or the bound form -s of pins) having no smaller meaningful parts

morphemic play \mȯr-ˈfē-mik\ adjective
morphemically play \-mi-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of morpheme in a sentence

  1. The word pins contains two morphemes: pin and the plural suffix -s.



Did You Know?

Morphemes are the indivisible basic units of language, much like the atoms which physicists once assumed were the indivisible units of matter. English speakers borrowed morpheme from French morphème, which was itself created from the Greek root morphē, meaning "form." The French borrowed -ème from their word phonème, which, like English phoneme, means "the smallest unit of speech that can be used to make one word different from another word." The French suffix and its English equivalent -eme are used to create words that refer to distinctive units of language structure. Words formed from -eme include lexeme ("a meaningful linguistic unit that is an item in the vocabulary of a language"), grapheme ("a unit of a writing system"), and toneme ("a unit of intonation in a language in which variations in tone distinguish meaning").

Origin of morpheme

French morphème, from Greek morphē form


First Known Use: 1926


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