back formation

noun Linguistics.

the analogical creation of one word from another word that appears to be a derived or inflected form of the first by dropping the apparent affix or by modification.
a word so formed, as typewrite from typewriter.

Nearby words

  1. back emission,
  2. back end,
  3. back float,
  4. back focus,
  5. back foot,
  6. back forty,
  7. back four,
  8. back gear,
  9. back green,
  10. back hack

Origin of back formation

First recorded in 1885–90 Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for back-formation

back formation


the invention of a new word on the assumption that a familiar word is derived from it. The verbs edit and burgle were so created from editor and burglar
a word formed by this process
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for back-formation



also back formation, by 1887, from back (adv.) + formation.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper