back formation

Quick Reference

The creation of a new word on the basis of a familiar word that is mistakenly assumed to be derived from it. For example, the verb to edit is a back formation from the noun editor, which is not derived from the verb but is a Latin word meaning producer, derived from the prefix e- out and the word datum, meaning given, from the verb dare to give; similarly to burgle is a back formation from burglar, to peddle from pedlar or peddler, and to sculpt from sculptor. Compare folk etymology (2), metanalysis.

Subjects: Psychology.

Reference entries