Hybrid Word

A hybrid word is a word that etymologically derives from at least two languages.

Common hybrids

The most common form of hybrid word in English combines Latin and Greek parts. Since many prefixes and suffixes in English are of Latin or Greek etymology, it is straightforward to add a prefix or suffix from one language to an English word that comes from a different language, thus creating a hybrid word.

English examples

Non-English examples

Modern Hebrew

Modern Hebrew abounds with non-Semitic derivational affixes, which are applied to words of both Semitic and non-Semitic descent. The following hybrid words consist of a Hebrew-descent word and a non-Semitic descent suffix:[5]

  • bitkhon-íst (??????????) 'one who evaluates everything from the perspective of national security', from bitakhón 'security' + the productive internationalism -ist
  • khamúda-le (?????????) 'cutie (feminine singular)', from khamuda 'cute (feminine singular) + -le, endearment diminutive of Yiddish descent
  • kiso-lógya (?????????) 'the art of finding a political seat (especially in the Israeli Parliament)', from kisé 'seat' + the productive internationalism -lógya '-logy'
  • maarav-izátsya (??????????) 'westernization', from maaráv 'west' + the productive internationalism -izátsya '-ization' (itself via Russian from a hybrid of Greek -??- -iz- and Latin -atio)
  • miluím-nik (???????????) 'reservist, reserve soldier', from miluím 'reserve' (literally 'fill-ins') + -nik, a most productive agent suffix of Yiddish and Russian descent

Examples of Modern Hebrew hybrid words with an international prefix include:

  • anti-hitnatkút (?????????????) 'anti-disengagement'
  • post-milkhamtí (????????????) 'postwar'
  • pro-araví (?????????) 'pro-Arab'

Modern Hebrew also has a productive derogatory prefixal shm-, which results in an 'echoic expressive'. For example, um shmum (???????????), literally 'United Nations shm-United Nations', was a pejorative description by Israel's first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, of the United Nations, called in Modern Hebrew umot meukhadot (????? ????????) and abbreviated um (?????). Thus, when an Israeli would like to express his impatience with or disdain for philosophy, s/he can say filosófya-shmilosófya (?????????????????????). Modern Hebrew shm- is traceable back to Yiddish, and is found in English as well as shm-reduplication. This is comparable to the Turkic initial m-segment conveying a sense of 'and so on' as in Turkish dergi mergi okumuyor, literally 'magazine "shmagazine" read:NEGATIVE:PRESENT:3rd.person.singular', i.e. '(He) doesn't read magazine, journals or anything like that'.[5]


In Japanese, hybrid words are common in kango - words formed from kanji characters - where some of the characters may be pronounced using Chinese pronunciations (on'yomi, from Chinese morphemes), and others in the same word are pronounced using Japanese pronunciations (kun'yomi, from Japanese morphemes). These are known as j?bako (??) or yut? (??) words, which are themselves examples of this kind of compound (they are autological words): the first character of j?bako is read using on'yomi, the second kun'yomi, while it is the other way around with yut?. Other examples include ?? basho "place" (kun-on), ?? kin'iro "golden" (on-kun) and ??? aikid? "the martial art Aikido" (kun-on-on). Some hybrid words are neither j?bako nor yut? (??? tatech?yoko (kun-on-kun)).

See also


  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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