Definitions for back-formation
a word invented (usually unwittingly by subtracting an affix) on the assumption that a familiar word derives from it
The process by which a new word is formed by removing a morpheme (real or perceived) of an older word, such as the verb burgle, formed by removing -ar (perceived as a suffix forming an agent noun) from burglar.
A word created in this way.
Back-formations, such as "tambour" (for "play the tambourine"), are a staple of comedic wordplay.
Origin: Coined by James Murray; back + formation
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