Definition of morpheme in English:



  • 1A meaningful morphological unit of a language that cannot be further divided (e.g. in, come, -ing, forming incoming).

    • ‘Cognitive Grammar takes the very strong position that all words and morphemes in a language are symbolic.’
    • ‘In this approach, the specimen sentence has 13 monemes divided into 8 morphemes and 5 lexemes.’
    • ‘These include the order in which second language morphemes are acquired, learners' errors, and the stages of inter-language development.’
    • ‘Indeed, morphemes are meaningful, increasing in their salience, may be produced in isolation, and represent a more ‘natural’ cut on the language.’
    • ‘For the most part, native Japanese words and morphemes were associated with single Chinese characters, but not always.’
    1. 1.1A morphological element considered in respect of its functional relations in a linguistic system.
      • ‘Some attrition in morphology, plural and past irregular morphemes, in particular, is also observed.’
      • ‘The model of morpheme classification assumes that there are three types of system morphemes (functional elements) as well as content morphemes.’
      • ‘Specifically, it is suggested that the meaning of the tense morphemes alone do not completely determine the temporal interpretation of a sentence.’
      • ‘With respect to the plural morpheme, it is not only the case that it occurs very often in English text, but it also attaches to very many different noun stems.’


Late 19th century: from French morphème, from Greek morphē form, on the pattern of French phonème phoneme.