The Strange Roots


There are some common terms used in linguistics and etymology that may appear in this site. This page is a glossary of defitions for some of these words accordingly the Oxford English Dictionary online:

Adjunct #

A word or group of words amplifying or modifying the meaning of another word or group of words in a sentence.

Cognate #

A word that comes from the same etymological root as another.

Compound #

A compound is a word containing a stem that is made up of more than one root.

Etymology #

The facts relating to the origin of a particular word or the historical development of its form and meaning; the origin of a particular word.

Etymon #

An antecedent form of a word; the word or any of the separate words from which another word has developed historically by borrowing, derivation, compounding, etc.

Lexicon #

The vocabulary proper to some department of knowledge or sphere of activity; the vocabulary or word-stock of a region, a particular speaker, etc.

Onomatopoeia #

The formation of a word from a sound associated with what is named (e.g. cuckoo, sizzle ); the formation of words imitative of sounds.

Portmanteau #

A word formed by blending sounds from two or more distinct words and combining their meanings. Also more generally: a term or phrase which encompasses two or more meanings.

Prefix #

An element placed at the beginning of a word or stem to adjust or modify its meaning, or (in certain languages) as an inflection.

Root #

An ultimate unanalysable element of language; a morpheme, not necessarily surviving as a word in itself, as a base from which words are formed by means of affixation or other modification.

Suffix #

A verbal element attached to the end of a word to form an entirely new word (e.g. short, short-age, short-en, short-er, short-est, short-ish, short-ly, short-ness) or as an inflectional formative (e.g. ox, ox-en).