Definition of combining form in English:

combining form


  • A form of a word normally used in compounds in combination with another element to form a word (e.g. Anglo- ‘English’ in Anglo-Irish, bio- ‘life’ in biology, -graphy ‘writing’ in biography).

    • ‘As an aside, telethon is one of those odd blends in which two combining forms, prefix and suffix, have been borrowed from separate words and jammed together, extinguishing any root word.’
    • ‘That's why they're called Cryptoaliens, ‘crypto’ being a combining form that means ‘unknown’.’


In this dictionary, combining form is used to denote an element that contributes to the particular sense of words (as with bio- and -graphy in biography), as distinct from a prefix or suffix that adjusts the sense of or determines the function of words (as with un-, -able, and -ation)


combining form