morpheme was our Word of the Day on 09/25/2015. Hear the podcast!
Examples of morpheme in a Sentence
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 and Etymology of morpheme
French morphème, from Greek morphē form
First Known Use: 1896See Words from the same year
MORPHEME Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of morpheme for English Language Learners
linguistics : a word or a part of a word that has a meaning and that contains no smaller part that has a meaning
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up morpheme? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).