Clipped compound

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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.[1] It is a special case of word formation called clipping.

Clipped compounds are common in various slang and jargon vocabularies.[1]

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).[1] In addition, a clipped compound may drop one component completely: hard instead of hard labor, or mother for motherfucker (a process called ellipsis).[1] 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.[2]

The meaning of clipped compound may overlap with that of acronym, especially with compounds made of short components.[citation needed]

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)).[3]

In Japanese, clipped compounds are very commonly used to shorten long, either coined or wholly borrowed, compounds (see also Japanese phonology and Transcription into Japanese). For instance, a word processor (ワープロセッサ do purosessa) may be referred to as simply ワープロ wāpuro, sexual harassment (セクシャルハラスメント sekusharu harasumento) be セクハラ sekuhara, the program Clip Studio Paint (クリップスタジオペイント Kurippu Sutajio Peinto) be クリスタ Kurisuta, the video game series Monster Hunter (モンスターハンター Monsutā Han) be モンハン Monhan, the United Nations (Kokusai Ren) be 国連 Kokuren, the Soviet Union (ビエトSobieto Ren) be ソ連 Soren.

Clipped compounds are sometimes used in place names. The Delmarva Peninsula is named for the US states of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia (from the traditional abbreviation 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." The Benelux Union takes its name from its component nations, Belgium, Netherlands, and Luxembourg.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Elisa Mattiello, "An Introduction to English Slang: A Description of Its Morphology, Semantics and Sociology", 2008, ISBN 8876991131, pp. 146-148
  2. ^ Laurie Bauer, English Word-Formation (1983), Cambridge, “Cambridge textbooks in linguistics”, Cambridge University Press, 1993.
  3. ^ Larissa Ryazanova-Clarke, Terence Wade, The Russian Language Today, 2002, ISBN 0203065875, p. 49

Further reading[edit]