From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
WikiProject Linguistics (Rated Start-class)
WikiProject iconThis article is within the scope of WikiProject Linguistics, a collaborative effort to improve the coverage of linguistics on Wikipedia. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the discussion and see a list of open tasks.
Start-Class article Start  This article has been rated as Start-Class on the project's quality scale.
 ???  This article has not yet received a rating on the project's importance scale.


I'm curious about the chemical infixes. How are they used? Examples? Quincy 07:12, 15 Mar 2004 (UTC)

How the Chemical Infixes Are Used[edit]

I quote from Infix itself:

English has only a few arcane infixes that are listed in dictionaries. Chemical nomenclature includes the minuscule infixes -pe-, signifying complete hydrogenation (from piperidine) and -et- (from ethyl), signifying the ethyl radical C2H5. Thus, from picoline, we can derive pipecoline and from lutidine, we can derive lupetidine; from phenidine, we can derive phenetidine. One word that contains -et- but is not a word when the -et- is removed is xanthoxyletin.

The latter comment has been removed. If ?xanthoxyl is not a word, then xanthoxyletin is not an example of an infix, as is claimed now. kwami 12:27, 10 May 2007 (UTC)


This page is said to be a disambiguation page, however, it gives full meanings of both words without links to seperate sectiopns for each. Surely it is NOT a disambiguation page. Should the tage be removoed? I'm so convinced I HAVE removed it. Fork me 11:25, 25 June 2006 (UTC)


Is that an infix? I heard it was an abbreviation of "shit isn't it", as in "that's the shit, isn't it?" ("that's the shiznit?") VolatileChemical 03:45, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

Regardless of where it came from, if -izn- is inserted into other words where it doesn't have such a history, then it's become an infix. The only question would be its staying power in the English language, which is one reason why slang doesn't always get a lot of respect. kwami 19:10, 7 August 2006 (UTC)

The -ma- Infix[edit]

[...] as in sophistimacated, saxomaphone, and edumacation

I think this is misdiagnosed as an infix, and is in fact formed in imitation of whadyamacallit - unless that is itself an infix.

Nuttyskin 01:05, 20 August 2006 (UTC)

Same response as for shiznit: if that's where it's come from (and no, what-you-may-call-it is a lexicalized clause, no infixes), then we are in the lucky position of knowing the history of infixing morphology in English. It's not uncommon for a common word or set phrase to be imitated in other words, but the fact remains that words are altered by putting a morpheme (ma) inside them rather than at the end, which is all an infix is. Also, I doubt that most people who do this have any awareness of the historical origins of what they're doing. kwami 12:23, 10 May 2007 (UTC)

Another English Infix[edit]

In a fundamentals of language structures class a few years ago the professor cited "abso-f--kin-lutely" or "fan-f--ki-tastic" as examples of f--k as an infix in English. It seems like this case should be noted as it is certainly well used by English speakers. Crazynorvegian 03:59, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

It's already there. kwami 06:46, 27 October 2007 (UTC)

Infixes in English Irregular Nouns and Verbs[edit]

The vowel infixes change according to tense or plural> Examples:

 English Irregular Verbs:
   (pres.) (past)
   write → wrote
   swim → swam
   break → broke
   awake → woke
 English Irregular Nouns:
   (sing.) (plur.)
    man → men
    tooth → teeth  —Preceding unsigned comment added by Mozwa (talkcontribs) 00:55, 12 April 2010 (UTC) Mozwa (talk) 03:35, 12 April 2010 (UTC)

Let us also not forget "stand" - "stood". R3hall (talk) 01:09, 8 January 2012 (UTC)R3hall

That's ablaut, not infixation. — kwami (talk) 06:46, 8 January 2012 (UTC)


Does the word "pianissimo" count as an example of an infix in English? It's borrowed from Italian, but it appears in English dictionaries, so it certainly should count as an English word. It's formed from the adjective "piano", with the string "-issim-" inserted. If it does count, I suggest we mention the word "pianissimo" in this article, as another example of an infix in English. Navigatr85 04:11, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

No, because although pianissimo is an English word, <issim> by itself isn't an affix in English. It's merely borrowed Italian morphology, and is actually a suffix, as in generalissimo. There just aren't that many infixes in European languages. kwami (talk) 05:26, 17 November 2007 (UTC)

A Whole 'Nother[edit]

Would the phraise "a whole 'nother" be an example of an infix, where whole is placed in between another. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:02, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Sorry, that was by me. I forgot to sign in. Richardkselby (talk) 04:04, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Usually when a word is inserted rather than an affix, it's called tmesis. But I think what's going on here is that an other has been jokingly reanalyzed as a nother, and the rest is just a normal phrase. I've heard roughly similar things with napple for apple. kwami (talk) 06:48, 3 August 2008 (UTC)
As someone who natively uses "a whole nother," I take umbrage with it being labeled a joke. I assure you that we in Texas do not consider it a joke. "A whole other" sounds like "a apple" to me—like you forgot to add a sound that you're required by grammar to add. Kylegoetz (talk) 17:12, 16 December 2015 (UTC)
I'm going to take it out. It's just a variant of a whole other. kwami (talk) 09:49, 24 August 2009 (UTC)
Yes, the example of "a whole nother" shouldn't be included in this article. There's no split of "another" into "a" and "other" and subsequent insertion of "whole" between those two items. Rather, the "n-" added to "other" is just a variant pronunciation. "Whole" is just behaving like a standard adverb in that example, not like an infix. Jk180 (talk) 18:50, 5 December 2018 (UTC)


No mention of the J-rock band Infix? - theme song "Winners Forever". (talk) 07:03, 26 February 2010 (UTC)

Passerby, Passersby[edit]

I think this qualifies as a true, non-slang, infix. Passerby started as a compound hyphenated word, where the first word of the pair was pluralized as passers-by. The Penguin Dictionary of English Grammar has this to say:

"English has no true infixes, but the plural suffix -s behaves something like an infix in unusual plurals like passers-by and mothers-in-law."

I would note however that the single word form passerby is now more common in English language searches than passer-by and that both Merriam-Webster and Oxford list passerby as a proper word, not a slang form of a hyphenated compound word. Thoughts? Shawn (talk) 02:26, 8 November 2010 (UTC)

My understanding is that an infix must go inside a word. In the example of "mothers-in-law," the "-s" is put at the end of the word "mother," making it a suffix, not an infix. The "in-law" are two subsequent words and also don't help make "-s" an infix. Jk180 (talk) 18:57, 5 December 2018 (UTC)

Whether or not it's hyphenated in a dictionary means little. English orthography is not a good guide to much of anything. — kwami (talk) 04:47, 20 March 2019 (UTC)

slightly better example?[edit]

I think "abso-bloody-lutely" is a better example of an infix in English than "un-fucking-believable", if only for the fact that "bloody" is less vulgar than "fucking". besides, "un-fucking-believable" is really just "believable" with two prefixes. Change it? (talk) 07:10, 2 December 2010 (UTC)

It's not two prefixes, it's unbelievable with a lexical infix, but you're right that absolutely can't be mistaken. — kwami (talk) 17:04, 18 October 2011 (UTC)
I disagree that bloody is less vulgar than fucking. Fucking is a generic swear word. Bloody, as a contraction of "by our lady" (see [[1]]), is sacrilegious or at least blasphemous. Is this the kind of hand-wringing that WP engages in? You wouldn't see linguists using certain words over others just because some are more "bad words" than the other. Kylegoetz (talk) 17:18, 16 December 2015 (UTC)

the Arabic example - not sure about it[edit]

I think someone misunderstood the Arabic verb system. It is weird to claim that the verb form "iftaʻala" is a result of <t> infix with epentetic <i>. Examining the present form "yaftaʻilu" reinforces the view of it as an indepndant verb form. Just like Hebrew "Hitpa'el". Think about it. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:20, 30 March 2011 (UTC)

The point is that the "t" in infixed in the root, which is f-ʻ-l. This is not the case in the Hebrew example (though there are some examples in Hebrew as well, if I'm not mistaken). The analysis is correct. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:32, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

Constructed languages?[edit]

I think that a section on infixes in constructed languages would help, especially considering the fact that the Na'vi language has a complete tense and mood system based on infixes.

-ma- infix[edit]

The word 'educamation' was used regularly by an 'old rural character' called Walter Gabriel in a long-running UK radio soap opera, The Archers, as early as the late 50s. The scriptwriters must have been familiar with this sort of formation from somewhere. I had the feeling that it was meant to be some sort of malapropism or perhaps reflected a sort of contempt for people who had a certain amount of it. I can see no reason why it should not be described as an 'infix' (Pamour (talk) 14:40, 11 September 2013 (UTC)).

Adverbs in English +[edit]

I was writing / editing some material for English learners, and I was editing my "the rules of turning adjectives into adverbs" entry that I had written months ago. One of the rules was, how I wrote it, for adjectives that end in <Cy> (C = any consonant letter), to "delete" the <y> [i], and then add <ily> [ɪli] to the end. But it just occurred to me that this is actually an infix, no?

crazy to crazily lazy to lazily dandy to dandily ready to readily wacky to wackily weary to wearily

Anyone disagree that these are infixes? If not, here is a write up I think I could add to the wiki article.


In English, the vast majority of adjectives can be morphed into adverbs by attaching the suffix {-ly} to the adjective, for example: bad becomes badly, annoying becomes annoyingly, and rapid becomes rapidly. However, there is one phonetic enviroment that a handful of adjectives contain which take an infix instead of a suffix. If the adjective (a) is multi-syllabic and (b) ends in the vowel sound [i] (the sound that the letter <e> represents in the word <we>), then the infix {-il-} is inserted before the word-ending [i] sound. For example: crazy becomes crazily, ready becomes readily, and weary becomes wearily.

B23Rich (talk) 03:58, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

I don’t think so, rather that the terminal y changes to i when the suffix -ly is added, possibly reflecting the ‘shortened’ sound of the vowel. The supposed infix -il- occurs in no other context AFAICT—what do you suppose its etymology to be? At any rate you’d need a reference to support such a claim.—Odysseus1479 07:09, 10 December 2017 (UTC)

That's fair. It's more likely something like apophony than an infix, thinking about it now. B23Rich (talk) 03:43, 12 December 2017 (UTC)

Not an interfix, not really an infix either, so what is it?[edit]

In German, you have the diminutive Kindchen ("little child"), formed from Kind ("child") + -chen (diminutive suffix). The plural may be unchanged, but there's also Kinderchen, which is Kind + -er- + -chen. What is -er- in this form? Some might say it's an infix because it is inserted into the existing word, but of course it is inserted between two morphemes, not into the stem. Is there a term for this? (The same thing also exists in Dutch, Luxembourgish, and other varieties of continental West Germanic.) — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:38, 19 March 2019 (UTC)

If the productive (cognitive) derivation is Kindchen + -er > Kinderchen, then yes, it is an infix. If however it's Kinder + -chen > Kinderchen, then it's just a series of two suffixes -- which I suspect is its historical derivation. This may be one way that infixes could form -- imagine that -chen looses it's productivity, so it's only found in lexicalized expressions -- and maybe Kind as a separate root is lost as well. Since "Kindchen" is now the stem, -er- would simply be an infix. Of course, without the conservative influence of a written tradition, the word would probably be leveled to *Kindchen-er or something.
Read the thread above on English 'Passersby', which is similar. — kwami (talk) 04:41, 20 March 2019 (UTC)
Thanks! Just want to say that "passers-by" is similar, but not quite the same, because "passer" and "by" exist as individual words, while German "-chen" exists only a suffix. But all right, could be an infix or not, depending on the analysis. (talk) 12:58, 3 May 2019 (UTC)