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[mawr-feem] /ˈmɔr fim/
noun, Linguistics.
any of the minimal grammatical units of a language, each constituting a word or meaningful part of a word, that cannot be divided into smaller independent grammatical parts, as the, write, or the -ed of waited.
Compare allomorph (def 2), morph (def 1).
Origin of morpheme
1895-1900; < French morphème; see morph-, -eme
Related forms
morphemic, adjective
morphemically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for morphemes


(linguistics) a speech element having a meaning or grammatical function that cannot be subdivided into further such elements
Derived Forms
morphemic, adjective
morphemically, adverb
Word Origin
C20: from French, from Greek morphē form, coined on the model of phoneme; see -eme
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for morphemes



"part of a word which contains the affixes," 1896, from German morpheme, coined 1895 by Polish-born linguist Jan Baudouin de Courtenay (1845–1929), from Greek morphe "form, shape" (see Morpheus), on analogy of phonème.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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