1. (of a language) characterized by a prevalence of relatively long words containing a large number of affixes to express syntactic relationships and meanings. Many American Indian languages are polysynthetic.Compare analytic(def 3), synthetic(def 3).
  2. of or relating to polysynthesism.
Sometimes pol·y·syn·thet·i·cal.

Origin of polysynthetic

1795–1805; < Late Greek polysýnthet(os) much compounded + -ic. See poly-, synthetic
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for polysynthetic

Historical Examples of polysynthetic

British Dictionary definitions for polysynthetic


  1. denoting languages, such as Inuktitut, in which single words may express the meaning of whole phrases or clauses by virtue of multiple affixesCompare synthetic (def. 3), analytic (def. 3), agglutinative (def. 2)
Derived Formspolysynthesis (ˌpɒlɪˈsɪnθɪsɪs), nounpolysynthesism, nounpolysynthetically, adverb
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