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)).
- 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