In linguistics, a clipped compound is a word produced from a compound word by reducing its parts while retaining the meaning of the original compound. It is a special case of word formation called clipping.
A clipped compound word is actually a type of blend word. Like other blends, clipped compounds may be made of two or more components. However, a blend may have a meaning independent of its components' meanings (e.g., motel <— motor + hotel), while in a clipped compound the components already serve the function of producing a compound meaning (for instance, pulmotor <— pulmonary + motor). In addition, a clipped compound may drop one component completely: hard instead of hard labor, or mother for motherfucker (a process called ellipsis). Laurie Bauer suggests the following distinction: If the word has the compound stress, it is a clipped compound; if it has a single-word stress, it is blend.
Interestingly, in the Russian language, a clipped compound may acquire one or more extra suffixes that indicate the intended grammatical form of the formed word. In particular, the suffx -k is commonly used, for example, in askorbinka (from askorbinovaya kislota (i.e., ascorbic acid)).
Clipped compounds are sometimes used in place names. The Delmarva Peninsula is named for the US states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (abbreviated as its postal code VA). The Chinese city of Wuhan takes its name from a clipped compound of the "Three Towns of Wuhan": Wuchang contributes "Wu", whereas Hankou and Hanyang both contribute "Han."
- Elisa Mattiello, "An Introduction to English Slang: A Description of Its Morphology, Semantics and Sociology", 2008, ISBN 8876991131, pp. 146-148
- Laurie Bauer, English Word-Formation (1983), Cambridge, “Cambridge textbooks in linguistics”, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
- Larissa Ryazanova-Clarke, Terence Wade, The Russian Language Today, 2002, ISBN 0203065875, p. 49