Definition of combining form in English:

combining form


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

    • ‘That's why they're called Cryptoaliens, ‘crypto’ being a combining form that means ‘unknown’.’
    • ‘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.’


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

/kəmˈbīniNG ˌfôrm//kəmˈbaɪnɪŋ ˌfɔrm/