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Abbreviation (syn. clipping, shortening) – a shortened form of a word or phrase, e.g., prof – professor, pike - turnpike, etc.

Abbreviation, graphical – a sign representing a word or word-group of high frequency of occurrence, e.g., Mr – Mister, Mrs – Mistress, i.e. (Latin “id est”) – that is, cf (Latin “cofferre”) – compare.

Abbreviation, lexical (syn. acronym) – a word formed from the first (or first few)

letters of several words which constitute a compound word or word-group, e.g.,

U.N.E.S.C.O. – United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, B.B.C. – the British Broadcasting Corporation, S.O.S. – Save Our Souls, B.A. – Bachelor of Arts, etc.

Ablaut (syn. vowel gradation or interchange) – a change from one to another vowel, characteristic of Indo-European languages, e.g., to bear – burden, to abide – abode, to bite – bit, to ride – rode, to strike – stroke, etc.

Absolute (total, complete) synonyms – synonyms so identical in their meaning that

one can always be substituted for by the other in any given context, e.g., fricative – spirant, almost – nearly, mirror – looking-glass, flection – inflection, noun – substantive, etc.

Acronym (see lexical abbreviation) – a word formed from the initial letters of a fixed phrase or title, e.g., TV – television, VIP – very important person, hi-fi –

high fidelity, etc.

Adjectivalization – the use of nouns and participles as adjectives, e.g., a stone wall,

home affairs, swimming-pool, etc.

Adverbialization – the use of adjectives as adverbs, e.g., he spoke loud (loudly), it tastes good, etc.

Affix (affixational morpheme) – a derivational morpheme which is always bound to a stem or to a combination containing a stem, e.g., un mistak able, un pardon able, ir regulari ty. Affixes are subdivided into prefixes, suffixes and infixes according to their position (see prefix, suffix, infix), e.g., un-, dis-, re-, -ful, -less, -able,


Affixation – is the formation of new words by adding derivative affixes to derivational bases or stems, e.g., kind + ness, grate + ful, un + happy, im +

moral, etc.

Allomorphs – positional variants of a morpheme characterized by complementary distribution (they are used in mutually exclusive environment and stand in alternation with each other), e.g., allomorphs of the prefix in- are: il- (illegal), ir- (irregular), im- (impossible), etc.


Amelioration or elevation (a semantic shift of meaning) – the improvement of the connotational component of meaning, i.e. a lexeme develops a positive meaning, e.g., nice originally meant foolish, knight originally meant boy, fame originally meant report, common talk, rumour, minister originally meant servant, etc.

Americanism – a word or a set expression peculiar to the English language as spoken in the USA, e.g., cookie – biscuit (Br.E.), fall – autumn (Br.E.), truck – lorry (Br.E.), movies – pictures (Br.E.), sidewalk – pavement (Br.E.), etc.

Antonyms – words of the same parts of speech different in sound-form, opposite in

their denotational meaning or meanings and interchangeable in some contexts, e.g., short – long, to begin – to end, regular – irregular, day – night, thick – thin, early – late, etc.

Aphaeresis, aphesis – initial clipping, i.e. the formation of a word by the omission of

the initial part of the word, e.g., phone from telephone, mend from amend, story

from history, etc.

Apocope – final clipping, i.e. the omission of the final part of the word, e.g., exam from examination, gym from gymnasium or gymnastics, lab from laboratory, ref from referee, etc.

Archaisms – words which have come out of active usage, and have been ousted by their synonyms. They are used as stylistic devices to express solemnity. Many lexical archaisms belong to the poetic style: woe (sorrow), betwixt (between), to chide (to scold), save (except) etc.

Sometimes the root of the word remains and the affix is changed, then the old affix is considered to be a morphemic archaism, e.g. beautious (-ous was

substituted by -ful); darksome (some was dropped); oft (-en was added) etc.

Assimilation (of a loan word) – a partial or total conformation to the phonetical, graphical and morphological standards of the English language and its semantic system.

Asyntactical compounds – compounds whose components are placed in the order that contradicts the rules of English syntax, e.g., snow-white (N + A) (in syntax: white snow – A + N), pale-green – A + A, etc. (see syntactic compounds).





Back-formation – derivation of a new word by subtracting a real or supposed affix from an existing word, e.g., to sculpt – sculptor, to beg – beggar, to burgle – burglar, etc.

Barbarisms – unassimilated borrowings or loan words, used by English people in conversation or in writing, printed in italics, or in inverted commas, e.g., such French phrases as топ cher – my dear, tête-a-tête – face to face, or Italian words, addio, ciao – good bye.

Blending or telescoping – formation of a word by merging parts of words (not morphemes) into one new word; the result is a blend, fusion, e.g., smog



(smoke + fog), transceiver (transmitter + receiver), motel (motor + hotel),

brunch (breakfast + lunch), etc.

Borrowings (also loan words) – words taken over from another language and (partially or totally) modified in phonetic shape, spelling, paradigm or meaning according to the standards of the English language, e.g., rickshaw (Chinese), sherbet (Arabian), ballet, café, machine, cartoon, police (French), etc.

Bound form (stem or morpheme) – a form (morpheme) which must always be combined with another morpheme (i.e. always bound to some other morpheme)

and cannot stand in isolation, e.g., nat- in native, nature, nation; all affixes are bound forms.

Briticism – a lexical unit peculiar to the British variant of the English language, e.g.,

petrol is a Briticism for gasoline; opposite Americanism.





Cliché – a term or phrase which has become hackneyed and stale, e.g., to usher in a new age (era), astronomical figures, the arms of Morpheus, swan song, the irony of fate, etc.

Clipping – formation of a word by cutting off one or several syllables of a word, e.g., doc (from doctor), phone (from telephone), etc. (see abbreviation, apocope, aphaeresis, syncope).

Cockney – the regional dialect of London marked by some deviations in pronunciation and few in vocabulary and syntax, e.g., fing stands for thing,

farver for farther, garn for go on, toff for a person of the upper class.

Coding (in lexicology) – replacing words or morphemes by conventional word- class symbols, e.g., to see him go (V + N/pron + V), blue-eyed ((A + N) +

-ed), etc.

Cognates (cognate words) words descended from a common ancestor, e.g.,

brother (English), брат (Ukrainian), frater (Latin), Bruder (German).

Collocability – see lexical valency.

Collocation – habitual lexico-phraseological association of a word in a language with other particular words in a sentence, e.g., to pay attention to, to meet the demands, cold war, etc.

Colloquial (of words, phrases, style) – belonging to, suitable for, or related to ordinary; not formal or literary conversation, e.g., there you are, you see, here’s

to us, to have a drink, etc.

Combinability (occurrence-range, collocability, valency) – the ability of linguistic elements to combine in speech.

Complementary distribution – is said to take place when two linguistic variants cannot appear in the same environment (i.e. they appear in mutually exclusive environment and stand in alternation with each other, e.g., variants of the prefix



in- (im-, il-, ir-) are characterized by complementary distribution as in imperfect, illegal, irregular.

Composition – see word-composition.

Compounding – see word-composition.

Compound-derivative or derivational compound – a word formed simultaneously by composition and derivation, e.g., blue-eyed, old-timer, teenager, kind-hearted, etc.

Compound words or compounds – words consisting of at least two stems or root

morphemes which occur in the language as free forms, e.g., tradesman, Anglo- Saxon, sister-in-law, honeymoon, passer-by, etc.

Concept (syn. notion) – an idea or thought, especially a generalized idea of a class of objects, the reflection in the mind of real objects and phenomena in their

essential features and relations.

Connotation – complementary meaning or complementary semantic and (or) stylistic shade which is added to the word‟s main meaning and which serves to express all sorts of emotional, expressive, evaluative overtones.

Connotational (meaning) – the emotive charge and the stylistic value of the word.

Content – the main substance or meaning, e.g., the content of a poem is

distinguished from its form.

Context – the minimum stretch of discourse necessary and sufficient to determine which of the possible meanings of a polysemantic word is used.

Contrastive distribution – characterizes different morphemes, i.e. if they occur in the same environment they signal different meanings (see complementary

distribution), e.g., the suffixes -able and -ed are different morphemes, because adjectives in -able mean capable of being, e.g., measurable, whereas -ed has a resultant force, e.g. measured.

Conversion (root formation, functional change, zero-derivation) – the formation

of a new word solely by changing its paradigm or the method of forming a new word by changing an existing one into another part of speech without any derivational affixes (or other external changes), so that the resulting word is homonymous with the original one, e.g. water (n) – to water (v); dry (adj) – to dry (v); must (v) – a must (n), go (v) a go (n).

Convertive prefix – a prefix which transfers words to a different part of speech, e.g. pre + war (n) = prewar (adj); de + plane = deplane (v); de + part (n) = depart (v).

Contextual synonyms – words (synonyms) similar in meaning only under some specific distributional conditions (in some contexts), e.g. bear, suffer and stand when used in the negative construction can't bear, can’t suffer, can’t stand become synonyms.

Coordinative (or copulative) compounds – compounds whose components are structurally and semantically independent and constitute two structural and

semantic centres, e.g., actor-manager, fifty-fifty, secretary-stenographer, etc.




Degradation of meaning (also pejoration or deterioration) – the appearance of a derogatory and scornful emotive charge in the meaning of the word, i.e. a lexeme develops a negative meaning, e.g. knave (OE – boy), silly (OE – happy), boor (OE – farmer).

Demotivation – loss of motivation, when the word loses its ties with another word or

words with which it was formerly connected and associated, ceases to be understood as belonging to its original word-family, e.g. lady, breakfast,

boatswain, to kidnap, etc.

Denominal verb – a verb formed by conversion from a noun or an adjective, e.g., stone – to stone, rat – to rat, empty – to empty, nest – to nest, corner – to corner, etc.

Denotation (see referent) – the direct, explicit meaning or reference of a word or term.

Denotational (or denotative) meaning – the component of the lexical meaning which makes communication possible, i.e. the component of meaning signifying or identifying the notion or the object and reflecting some essential features of the notion named; see referential meaning.

Derivation – the process of forming new words by affixes, sound and stress interchange, e.g. work – worker, kind – unkind, food – feed, blood – bleed, life – live, present – present, import – import. Some scholars include conversion into

derivation, too.

Derivational affix - an affix which serves to form new words, e.g. -less in help less

or dis- in dislike, etc.

Derivational level of analysis is aimed at establishing the derivational history of the word in question, i.e. at establishing through what word-building means it is built and what is its structural or word-building pattern. The method of analysis into immediate and ultimate constituents (IC‟s and UC‟s) is very effective on this level, e.g. threateningly (adv) falls into the following IC‟s:

1) threatening + - ly on the pattern A + -ly,

2) threaten + -ing on the pattern V +-ing,

3) threat + -en on the pattern N+ -en

Thus, the adverb threateningly is a derivative built through affixation in three steps.

Derivational suffix – a suffix serving to form new words, e.g. read- able, help less, use ful etc., see suffix.

Derivative (syn. derived word) – a word formed through derivation, e.g. manhood, rewrite, unlike, etc.

Derived stem – a stem (usually a polymorphemic one) built by means of derivation;

a stem comprising one root-morpheme and one or more derivational affixes, e.g.

courageously, singer, tigress, etc.



Descriptive approach – see synchronic approach.

Deterioration – see degradation of meaning.

Deverbal noun – a noun formed from a verb by conversion, e.g. to buy – a buy,

must – a must, to cut – a cut, etc.

Diachronic or historic approach (in lexicology) – the study of the vocabulary in its

historical development, see synchronic approach.

Dialect (local) – a variety of the English language peculiar to some district and having no normalized literary form, e.g. Cockney, Northern, Midland, Eastern dialects

of England, etc., see variant.

Dictionary – a book of words in a language usually listed alphabetically with definitions, translations, pronunciations, etymologies and other linguistic information. Kinds of dictionaries: bilingual, encyclopaedic, etymological,

explanatory, general, ideographic, linguistic, multilingual, phraseological, pronouncing, special, unilingual etc.

Differential meaning (of a morpheme) – the semantic component that serves to distinguish one word from the others containing identical morphemes, e.g. cranberry, blueberry, blackberry.

Distribution – possible variants (the total, sum) of the immediate lexical, grammatical and phonetic environment of a linguistic unit (i.e. the position of a linguistic sign in relation to other linguistic signs). For a morpheme it is the preceding and following morpheme(s), for a word it is the preceding and the

following word(s), for a phoneme it is the preceding and the following phoneme(s); see the complementary and contrastive distribution.

Distributional meaning (of a morpheme) – the meaning of the order and arrangement of morphemes making up the word, cf, ring-finger and finger ring.

Distributional pattern – a phrase (word) all elements of which including the head- word are coded, e.g. to hear smb sing (V+ N/pron + V,), copybook (N + N), red-

haired (A + N + suffix).

Distributional formula – a structure (phrase, word) whose components except the head one are coded, e.g. to hear somebody sing (hear + N/pron + V). In distributional formulas of words affixes are usually coded: e.g. blue-eyed ((A + N) + -ed).

Doublet – see etymological doublet.


E Elevation of meaning – see amelioration.

Ellipsis – the omission of a word or words considered essential for grammatical completeness but easily understood in the context, e.g. daily (paper), (cut-price) sale, private (soldier), etc.

Emotive charge – a part of the connotational component of meaning evoking or directly expressing emotion, e.g. cf: girl and girlie.



Etymological doublet – either of two words of the same language which were derived by different routes from the same basic word, e.g. chase – catch, disc – dish, shirt – skirt, scar – share, one - an, raid - road, etc.

Etymology – a branch of lexicology dealing with the origin and history of words, especially with the history of form.

Etymological level of analysis is aimed at establishing the etymology (origin) of the word under analysis, i.e. at finding out whether it is a native English word, or a borrowing or a hybrid, e.g. ballet is a French borrowing, threateningly is a native

English word, nourishing is a hybrid composed of morphemes of different origin: nourish is a French borrowing, but -ing is a native English suffix.

Euphemism – a word or phrase used to replace an unpleasant word or expression by a conventionally more acceptable one, e.g. to be no more, to pass away for to die;

to tell stories, to distort the facts for to lie; remains for corpse; paying guest for


Extension (also generalization or widening) of meaning – changes of meaning resulting in the application of a word to a wider variety of referents. It includes the change both from concrete to abstract and from specific to general, e.g. journal originally meant daily; a thing originally meant meeting, decision; salary originally meant salt money; pioneer originally meant soldier.





Form words,also called functional words, empty words or auxiliaries are lexical units used only in combination with notional words or in reference to them, e.g. auxiliary verbs – do, be, have, prepositions – in, at, for, conjunctions – while, since, etc.

Free forms – forms which may stand alone without changing their meaning, i.e. forms homonymous with words, e.g. the root-morpheme teach- in teacher.

Free morphemes coincide with word-forms of independently functioning words,

e.g. first-nighter.

Functional (or grammatical) affixes – affixes serving to build different (grammatical) forms of one and the same word, e.g. - (e)s in boys, classes, -ed in worked, etc.

Functional approach to meaning – an approach showing that the meaning of a linguistic unit (word) may be studied only through its relation to other linguistic

units (words) and not through its relation to either concept or referent, i.e. it

views the meaning as the function of distribution, see referential approach to meaning.

Functional meaning (of a morpheme) – the part-of-speech meaning of the morpheme, e.g. the part-of-speech meaning of the suffixes -ize in verbs and - ice – in nouns as in the words realize and justice, etc.

Fusion – see blend(ing), also phraseological fusions.





Generalization – see extension or widening of meaning, e.g. ready from OE rade

that meant prepared for a ride, animal from Latin anima soul.

Glossary – a list of special or difficult terms with explanations or translations, often included in the alphabetical order at the end of a book.

Grammatical homonyms – homonyms that differ in grammatical meaning only (i.e. homonymous word-forms of one and the same word), e.g. cut (infinitive) – cut (past participle); boys – boy's.

Grammatical meaning – the component of meaning recurrent in identical sets of grammatical forms of different words as, e.g., the meaning of the plural number in the word-forms of nouns: books, tables, etc., grammatical meaning expresses in speech the relationship between words.

Grammatical valency – the aptness of a word to appear in specific grammatical (or rather syntactic) structures.





Historism – a word which denotes a thing that is outdated nowadays or the causes of the word‟s disappearance are extra-linguistic. Historisms are very numerous as names for social relations, institutions, objects of material culture of the past, e.g. transport means: brougham, berlin, fly, gig, phaeton etc.; vehicles as prairie schooner (a canvas-covered wagon used by pioneers crossing the North American prairies) etc.; weapons: breastplate, crossbow, arrow, etc.

Homographs – words identical in spelling but different both in their sound-form and

meaning, e.g. bow [ ] – bow , row [ ] – row [ ], etc.

Homonyms – words identical in sound or spelling (or in both) but different in meaning (in semantic structure), e.g. sound (adj) – sound (n).

Homonyms proper (syn. absolute, perfect) – words identical in sound-form and spelling but different in meaning, e.g. temple – скроня, temple – храм; seal – печатка, seal – тюлень, etc.

Homonyms, etymological (syn. historical homonyms) – homonyms that are etymologically different words, e.g. sea – море, to see – бачити, bear – ведмідь, to bear – народжувати, etc.

Homonyms, full – words that are homonymous in all their forms, e.g. seal –

тюлень, seal – печать; mole – кріт, mole – родимка.

Homonyms, grammatical – words that have homonymous forms of the same word,

e.g. he asked – he was asked; boys’ – boys, etc.

Homonyms, lexical – words that differ in lexical meaning, e.g. knight (лицар) –

night (ніч), ball (м‟яч)- ball (бал), etc.


Homonyms, lexico-grammatical – words that differ both in lexical and grammatical meaning, e.g. swallow – ластівка, to swallow – ковтати, well – джерело, well – добре, etc.

Homonyms, partial – words that are homonymous in some of their forms,e.g.

brothers (pl) – brother’s (possessive case), etc.

Homophones – words identical in sound-form but different both in spelling and in meaning, e.g. to know – no, not – knot, to meet – meat, etc.

Hybrid – a word made up of elements derived from two or more different

languages, e.g. fruitless (Fr. + native), readable (native + Fr.), unmistakable

(native + native + Fr.), schoolgirl (Gk. + native), etc.

Hyperbole – an exaggerated statement not meant to be understood literally but expressing an emotional attitude of the speaker to what he is speaking about,

e.g. Lovely! Awful! Splendid! For ages, floods of tears, a world of good, awfully well etc.

Hyponymy – type of paradigmatic relationship when a specific term is included in a generic one, e.g. pup is the hyponym of dog, and dog is the hyponym of animal, etc.





Ideographic (relative) synonyms – synonyms denoting different shades of meaning or different degrees of intensity (quality), e.g. large, huge, tremendous; pretty, beautiful, fine; leave, depart, quit, retire; understand, realize, etc.

Idiom – an accepted phrase, word-group, or expression the meaning of which cannot be deduced from the meanings of its components and the way they are put together, e.g. to talk through one’s hat, to smell a rat, a white elephant, red tape, etc.

Idiomatic (syn. non-motivated) – lacking motivation from the point of view of one's mother tongue.

Immediate Constituents analysis – cutting of a word into IC's. It is based on a binary principle.

Immediate Constituents (IC’s) – the two immediate (maximum) meaningful parts forming a larger linguistic unity, e.g. the IC‟s of teacher are teach and -er, red-haired – red and hair and -ed, etc.

Infix – an affix placed within the stem (base), e.g. stand and stood. Infixes are not productive in English.

International words – words borrowed from one language into several others simultaneously or at short intervals one after another, e.g. biology, student, etc.





Juxtaposition – the way of forming compounds by placing the stems side by side without any linking elements. It is very productive in English, e.g. airline, postman, blue-bell, waterfall, house-keeper, etc.

Juxtapositional compound – a compound whose components are joined together without any linking elements, i.e. by placing one component after another in a definite order, e.g. door-handle, snow-white, etc.





Lexical meaning – the component of meaning proper to the word as a linguistic unit, i.e. recurrent in all the forms of this word and in all the possible distributions of these forms.

Lexical transformation – a paraphrasis of a phrase (sentence) in which some word is replaced by its semantic equivalent or definition, e.g. (he is) an English teacher – (he is) a person who teaches English; (the sky was) cloudy – (the sky

was) covered with clouds, etc., see transformation.

Lexical valency (or valence, collocability) – the aptness of a word to appear in various combinations with other words.

Lexicography – a branch of applied lexicology concerned with the theory and practice of compiling dictionaries.

Lexicology – a branch of linguistics dealing with the vocabulary of a language and the properties of words, word-equivalents and word-collocations.

Litotes or understatement – a word or word-group which expresses the affirmative by the negation of its contrary, e.g. not bad for good, not small for great, no coward for brave, etc.

Loan-words – see borrowings.





Meaning – an essential aspect of any linguistic sign (word) reflecting objective reality in our consciousness. The relation between the object or notion named and the name itself. Kinds of meaning: abstract, archaic, basic, central, concrete, connotational or connotative, denotational or denotative, derived, differential (in morphemes), direct, distributional (in morphemes), etymological, extended, figurative, functional (in morphemes), grammatical, lexical, lexico-grammatical, literal, main, major, marginal, metaphoric, metonymic, minor, obsolete, original, secondary, transferred.

Metaphor – transfer of meaning based on the association of similarity, e.g.

1) similarity of shape: head of a cabbage, nose of a plane;

2) similarity in function or use: hand of a clock, wing of a plane;

3) similarity in temperature: hot scent, cold reason, warm heart;


4) likeness in colour: orange for colour and for fruit;

5) analogy between duration of time and space: long distance vs long speech;

6) transition of proper names into common ones: an Adonis, a Cicero, a Don


7) likeness in position: foot of a man vs foot of a hill;

8) zoosemy (names of animals are used to denote human beings and their qualities): a bookworm (person devoted to books), an ass (a stupid person), a tiger (a cruel person), etc.

Metonymy – transfer of meaning based on contiguity, i.e. by naming a closely related object or idea, e.g.

1) giving the part for the whole (synecdoche): house may denote the Members of the Parliament; The White House, The Pentagon can mean its staff and


2) the sign for the thing signified: ‘gray hair’ – old age;

3) the container for the thing contained: the kettle is boiling (water);

5) geographical names turning into common nouns (to name the goods exported or originating there): china, champagne, burgundy, cheddar;

6) the material substitutes the thing made of: glass, iron, copper, nickel;

7) symbol for thing symbolized: „the crown‟ for monarchy.

Morpheme – the smallest linguistic unit possessing meaning (or the minimum

meaningful unit of language), e.g. un-luck-i-ly has four morphemes, see root morphemes and affixes.

Morphemic analysis – splitting the word into its constituent morphemes and

determining their number and types.

Morphemic level of analysis is aimed at establishing the number and type of the morphemes making up the word, e.g. the adverb threateningly is a polymorphemic word consisting of four morphemes of which one is a root

morpheme and three derivational morphemes.

Morphological composition – the way of forming compounds by joining together two stems with the help of special linking elements: -о-, -i-, -s-, e.g. handicraft, gasometer, sportsman, etc.

Morphological compound – a compound whose components are joined together with a linking element, e.g. speedometer, handiwork, spokesman, etc.

Morphological motivation (of a word or phraseological unit) – a direct connection between the structural (morphological) pattern of the word (or phraseological

unit) and its meaning, e.g. fatherless, greatly, thankful, etc.

Motivated (non-idiomatic, transparent) words are characterized by a direct connection between their morphemic or phonemic composition and their meaning, e.g. motorway, friendship, boom, cuckoo, etc.

Motivated word-groups are word-groups whose combined lexical meaning can be

deduced from the meaning of their component-members, e.g. to declare war, head of an army, to make a bargain, to cut short, to play chess, etc.



Motivation – the relationship between the morphemic or phonemic composition of the word and its meaning, e.g. schoolchild, moo, tick, etc.





Narrowing of meaning (also restriction or specialization) – the restriction of the semantic capacity of a word in the course of its historical development, e.g. meat originally meant food, dear originally meant beast, hound originally meant dog, etc.

Neologism – a new word or word equivalent formed according to the productive

structural patterns or borrowed from another language; a new meaning of an established word, e.g. dictaphone, travelogue, monoplane, multi-user, pocketphone, sunblock, etc.

Nonce-word – a word coined and used for a single occasion, e.g. Bunburyist (O. Wilde), dimple-making (Th. Hardy), library-grinding (S. Lewis), family- physicianery (J.K. Jerome).





Obsolete words – words that drop from the language completely or remain in the language as elements performing purely historical descriptive functions. Names of obsolete occupations are often preserved as family names, e.g. Chandler – candle maker, Latimer (i.e. Latiner) – interpreter, Webster – weaver (with - ster the old feminine ending).

Occasionalism – a word or a word-combination created in each case anew, e.g.

living metaphors whose predictability is not apparent, e.g. the ex-umbrella man, a

horse-faced woman, a gazelle-eyed youth, cobra-headed anger, etc.

Onomatopoeia (syn. sound imitation, sound symbolism) – the formation of a word by imitating the natural sound associated with the object or action involved, e.g. buzz, cuckoo, tinkle, cock-a-doodle-do, etc.

Origin – the historic source of any linguistic unit or item.





Paradigm – the system of grammatical forms characteristic of a word, e.g. to write,

wrote, written, writing, writes; girl, girl’s, girls, girl’', etc.

Paradigmatic relationships are based on the interdependence of words within the vocabulary.

Paronyms are words kindred in sound form and meaning and therefore liable to be mixed but in fact different in meaning and usage and therefore only mistakenly

interchanged, e.g. to affect – to effect, allusion – illusion, ingenious – ingenuous,


Pejoration – see degradation.


Phrase (syn. collocation, word-combination, word-group) – a lexical unit comprising more than one word, e.g. to go to school, a red apple etc. Kinds of phrases: adjectival, e.g. rich in gold, etc.; free, e.g. green leaves – yellow leaves – dry leaves, etc.; nominal, e.g. a blue sky, Jack of all trades, etc.; verbal, e.g. to go to school, to cry over spilt milk, etc.; motivated, e.g. fine weather, to play the piano, etc.; non-motivated, e.g. red tape, by hook or by crook, etc.

Phraseological collocations (combinations) – motivated phraseological units made up of words possessing specific lexical valency which accounts for a certain degree of stability and strictly limited variability of member-words, e.g. to bear a grudge or to bear a malice, to win the race, to gain access, etc.

Phraseological fusions (idioms) – completely non-motivated invariable phraseological units whose meaning has no connection with the meaning of the

components (i.e. it cannot be deduced from the knowledge of components), e.g.

to pay through the nose (to pay a high price); red tape (bureaucratic methods), etc.

Phraseological units (syn. set expressions, fixed combinations, units of fixed context, idioms) – partially motivated or non-motivated word-groups that cannot be freely made up in speech but are reproduced as ready-made units.

Phraseological unities – partially non-motivated phraseological units whose meaning can usually be perceived through the metaphoric meaning of the whole unit, e.g. to know the way the wind blows, to show one’s teeth, to make a mountain out of a mole-hill, etc.

Phraseology – a branch of linguistics studying set-phrases – phraseological units of all kinds.

Pidgin – a simplified form of speech developed as a medium of trade or through other contacts between groups of people who speak different languages.

Polymorphic – having two or more morphemes, e.g. inseparable, boyishness,

impossibility, etc.

Polysemantic words – having more than one meaning, e.g. board, power, case, etc.

Polysemy – plurality of meanings, i.e. co-existence of the various meanings of the same word and the arrangement of these meanings in the semantic structure of the word, e.g. maid 1) a girl, 2) a woman servant.

Prefix – a derivational affix (morpheme) placed before the stem, e.g. un- (unkind), mis- (misuse), etc. Kinds of prefixes: borrowed, e.g. re-, ex-, sub-, ultra-, non-,

etc.; native, e.g. un-, under-, after-, etc.; non-productive (unproductive), e.g. in- (il-, im-, ir-), etc.; productive, e.g. un-, de-, non-, etc.

Prefixation – the formation of words with the help of prefixes. It is productive in

Modern English, especially so in verbs and adjective word-formation.

Productive affixes – affixes which participate in the formation of new words, in neologisms in particular, i.e. which are often used to form new words; opposite

non-productive (unproductive).

Productivity – the ability of a given affix to form new words.



Proverb – a sentence expressing popular wisdom, a truth or a moral lesson in a concise and imaginative way, e.g. a friend in need is a friend indeed, while there is life there is hope, make hay while the sun shines, etc.





Reduplication – a method of forming compounds by the repetition of the same root, e.g. to pooh-pooh, goody-goody, etc.

Reduplicative compound – a compound formed with the help of reduplication, e.g.

tick-tick, hush-hush, etc.

Referent (denotatum) – the part (aspect) of reality to which the linguistic sign refers

(objects, actions, qualities), etc.

Referential approach to meaning – the school of thought which seeks to formulate the essence of meaning by establishing the interdependence between the word (sound-form), the concept (reference) underlying this form and the actual referent.

Referential meaning (denotational) meaning – denoting, or referring to something, either by naming it John, boy, red, arrive, with, if or by pointing it out be this so.

Root (morpheme) – the primary elements of the word conveying the fundamental lexical meaning (e.g. the lexical nucleus of the word) common to a set of semantically related words constituting one word family, e.g. speak, speaker, speech, spoken.





Semantic – relating to meaning, dealing with meaning in language.

Semantic changes – changes of meaning, see amelioration, degradation,

extension, narrowing of meaning.

Semantic field – a grouping of words based on the connection of the notions underlying their meanings, e.g. face, head, hand, arm, foot, etc.

Semantic fields – ideographic groups of words and expressions grouped together

according to the fields of human interest and activity which they represent, e.g.

the semantic field of time.

Semantic level of analysis – aimed at establishing the word‟s semantic structure or the type of meaning in which the word under analysis is used in a given context, e.g. sense is a polysemantic word, contemptuous is a monosemantic word.

Semantic motivation – based on the co-existence of direct and figurative meanings.

When a word is used in a transferred meaning, metaphorical or otherwise, the result will be semantically motivated: it will be transparent thanks to the

connection between the two senses, e.g. head of an army, the root of an evil, the

branches of science, etc.

Semantics – see semasiology.



Semasiology – the branch of lexicology that is devoted to the study of meaning.

Seme(me) – the meaning of a morpheme.

Semi-affixes (semi-suffixes) – elements which stand midway between root- morphemes and affixes, i.e. root-morphemes functioning as derivational affixes, e.g. -man (in sea man, air man, work man, chair man, etc.), -like (child like, gentleman like, businesslike, etc.); -proof (fire -proof, water -proof), etc.

Semiotics (semiology) – the science dealing with various systems of signs (including all sorts of codes, military and traffic signals, languages in general, etc.).

Set expression – see phraseological unit.

Simile – a comparison, but an indirect one, using words, such as seem, like, or as to link two objects of the comparison, e.g. My love is like a melody. I wandered lonely as a cloud, etc.

Slang – a vocabulary layer below the level of standard educated speech.

Sound imitation – see onomatopoeia.

Sound interchange – a diachronically relevant unproductive way of word-formation due to an alteration in the phonetic composition of the root, i.e. consonant interchange and vowel interchange (umlaut, or vowel mutation, and ablaut, or vowel gradation), e.g. to speak – speech, to prove – proof, blood – to bleed, food – to feed, etc.

Sound symbolism – associating a certain type or class of meaning with a certain sound or cluster of sounds, e.g. there seems to be in English an association

between the initial consonant cluster (sn) and the nose, e.g. snarl, sneer, sneeze, sniff, snore, snort, snuffle.

Specialization of meaning - see narrowing.

Standard English – the official language of Great Britain used by the press, the radio and the television and spoken by educated people. It may be defined as that form of English which is current and literary, substantially uniform and

recognized as acceptable wherever English is spoken or understood.

Stem – 1) the part of the word that remains unchanged throughout its paradigm (secondary stem), e.g. worker, lucky – the secondary stems are: worker- (cf. workers, worker‟s) and lucky- (cf. luckier, luckiest); 2) the part of the word that remains when the immediate derivational affix is stripped off, i.e. the part on which the word is built (primary or derivational stem), e.g. the primary stems of worker, lucky are work and luck. Kinds of stems: simple, e.g. place, green, derived, e.g. useful, uselessness, bound, e.g. arrogance, arrogant, compound, e.g. trade-union, etc.

Style of language – a system of expressive means of language peculiar to a specific sphere of communication, e.g. the newspaper style, the belles-letres style, etc.

Stylistic level of analysis is aimed at establishing the stylistic colouring of the word, e.g. nourishment is a word of literary style, threat is a word of neutral style,

baccy (curtailment of tobacco) is a word of colloquial style.


Stylistics – a branch of general linguistics dealing with the study of language styles and stylistic devices.

Stylistic synonyms – words that are similar in their denotational meaning(s) but different in their connotational meaning(s), e.g. motherly – maternal, to put off – to postpone, cf. absolute (total, complete) synonyms.

Subordinative (often called determinative) compound – a compound whose components are not equal in importance. The relation between them is based on the domination of one component over the other. The second component in

these compounds is the structural and semantic centre (head) which imparts the part-of-speech meaning to the whole word, e.g. banknote, teaspoon, duty-free, grandson, etc.

Substantivation – turning into nouns, e.g. female (n) from female (adj), relative (n)

from relative (adj), criminal (n) from criminal (adj), etc.

Substitution – the method of testing similarity (or difference) by placing into identical environment (within identical or similar contexts), e.g. I know this

book. – 1 know it.

Suffix – a derivational morpheme (an affix) placed after the stem, e.g. -ness

(goodness), -less (friend less), -er (work er), etc.

Suffixal derivative – a word formed with the help of a suffix.

Suffixation – the formation of words with the help of suffixes. It is very productive in Modern English, especially so in noun and adjective word-formation, e.g.

actor, thirsty, etc.

Synchronic approach (in lexicology) – the approach concerned with the vocabulary of a language as it exists at a given time, for instance at the present time, the previous stages of development considered irrelevant.

Syncope – medial clipping, i.e. the formation of the word by the omission of the middle part of the word, e.g. fancy from fantasy, specs from spectacles, etc. Synecdoche – a type of metonymy consisting in the substitution of the name of a

whole by the name of some of its parts or vice versa, e.g. a hand – a worker, employee, etc.

Synonymic dominant – the most general word in a given group of synonyms, e.g.

red, purple, crimson; doctor, physician, surgeon; to leave, abandon, depart. Synonymic set – a group of synonyms, e.g. big, large, great, huge, tremendous. Synonyms – words of the same part of speech different in their sound-form but

similar in their denotational meaning and interchangeable at least in some contexts, e.g. to look, to seem, to appear; high – tall, etc., see absolute or total, complete, ideographic, stylistic synonyms.

Syntactic compounds – compounds whose components are placed in the order that conforms to the rules of Modern English syntax, e.g. a know-nothing, a blackboard, daytime, etc. (cf. to know nothing, a black colour, spring time).




Telescoping - see blending.

Term – a word or word-group used to name a notion characteristic of some special field of knowledge, industry or culture, e.g. linguistic term: suffix, borrowing, polysemy, scientific term: radius, bacillus; technical term: ohm, quantum, etc.

Thematic group – a group of words belonging to different parts of speech and joined together by common contextual associations, e.g. sea, beach, sand, wave, to swim, to bathe, etc., they form a thematic group because they denote sea-objects.

Transform - the result of transformation, see next.

Transformation(al) analysis in lexicology – the method in which the semantic similarity or difference of words (phrases) is revealed by the possibility of transforming them according to a prescribed model and following certain rules

into a different form, e.g. daily – occurring every day, weekly – occurring every week, monthly – occurring every month, see lexical transformation.

Translation loans (loan-translations) – words and expressions formed from the material available in English by way of literal word-for-word or morpheme-for- morpheme translation of a foreign word or expression (i.e. formed according to patterns taken from another language), e.g. masterpiece (cf. German Meisterwerk); it goes without saying (cf. French cela va sans dire), etc.





Umlaut (syn. vowel mutation) – a partial assimilation to a succeeding sound, one of the causes of sound interchange, e.g. food – feed, blood – bleed, see sound interchange.

Unmotivated – see motivated (phrase, word).

Unproductive – see productive; also see affix, prefix, suffix.

Ultimate constituents (UC’s) – all the morphemes of a word (i.e. constituents incapable of further division into any smaller elements possessing sound form and meaning). The term is usually used in morphemic and IC‟s analysis of word- structure.





Valency (valence) – the combining power or typical cooccurrence of a linguistic element, i.e. the types of other elements of the same level with which it can occur; see lexical valency. Kinds of valency: lexical valency – the aptness of a word to occur with other words, grammatical valency - the aptness of a word to appear in specific syntactic structures.

Valency of affixes – the types of stems with which they occur.

Variants (of some language) – regional varieties of a language possessing literary form, e.g. Scottish English, British English, American English, see dialect.


Vocabulary – the system formed by the sum total of all the words and word equivalents of a language.





Word – a fundamental autonomous unit of language consisting of a series of phonemes and conveying a certain concept, idea or meaning, which has gained general acceptance in a social group of people speaking the same language and historically connected (one of general definitions); another definition – a basic autonomous unit of language resulting from the association of a given meaning with a given group of sounds which is susceptible of a given grammatical employment and able to form a sentence by itself. Kinds of words: archaic, borrowed, cognate, compound, derived, form, homonymous, international, monomorphic, monosemantic, motivated, native, non-motivated (unmotivated), notional, obsolete, onomatopoeic, polymorphic, polysemantic, root, synonymous.

Word-composition (also composition or compounding) – the way of forming new words by putting two or more stems together to build a new word. Composition is very productive in Modern English. It is mainly characteristic of noun and

adjective formation, e.g. headache, typewriter, killjoy, somebody, mother-in-law, wastepaper basket, Anglo-Saxon; pitch-dark, home-made, etc





Zero-derivation – see conversion.

Zero-morpheme – see conversion.

Zoosemy – nicknaming from animals, i.e. when names of animals are used metaphorically to denote human qualities, e.g. a tiger stands for a cruel person, a fox stands for a crafty person, a chicken stands for a lively child, an ass or a goose stands for a stupid person, a bear stands for a clumsy person, etc.



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