Back formation is the creation of a new word by removing parts that appear to be suffixes. Back formation fits into the category of retronyms.

Basically this means that by chopping off the beginning or end of a word, another word is formed. Often, these words gain acceptance into common English because English is a living language. They, although accepted, may not be proper English. In fact, back formation commonly occurs when one isn't aware of a singular form. For example, orientate was created (and is used) when orient already existed.

In the Chatterbox, we ran into an example with the usage of kudos and kudo. The word kudos is singular (At least according to the Greeks, who invented the root word kydos). Using the word as both plural and singular has caused a claim that kudo is the singular form. This is not proper usage, but even dictionaries are starting to pick this up.

pease         created      pea         by removing      -se
isolated      created      isolate     by removing      -d
sightseeing   created      sightsee    by removing      -ing
orientation   created      orientate   by removing      -ion

An E2 Quest: Writeup Redemption submission.
Brought in part by wordnerd! Thanks!


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