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]

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)).[3]

Compound clipping is a common form of gairaigo formation in Japanese. For instance, :convenience store" —> konbiniensu sutoa —> konbini.

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]