morpheme

[mawr-feem]

noun Linguistics.

any of the minimal grammatical units of a language, each constituting a word or meaningful part of a word, that cannot be divided into smaller independent grammatical parts, as the, write, or the -ed of waited.Compare allomorph(def 2), morph(def 1).

Nearby words

  1. morph-,
  2. morph.,
  3. morphactin,
  4. morphallaxis,
  5. morphea,
  6. morpheme structure condition,
  7. morphemics,
  8. morpheus,
  9. morphia,
  10. morphic

Origin of morpheme

1895–1900; < French morphème; see morph-, -eme

Related formsmor·phe·mic, adjectivemor·phe·mi·cal·ly, adverb

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019


British Dictionary definitions for morphemes

morpheme

noun

linguistics a speech element having a meaning or grammatical function that cannot be subdivided into further such elements
Derived Formsmorphemic, adjectivemorphemically, adverb

Word Origin for morpheme

C20: from French, from Greek morphē form, coined on the model of phoneme; see -eme

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 morphemes

morpheme

n.

"part of a word which contains the affixes," 1896, from German morpheme, coined 1895 by Polish-born linguist Jan Baudouin de Courtenay (1845–1929), from Greek morphe "form, shape" (see Morpheus), on analogy of phonème.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper