What is word?

Word

In language, a word is the smallest element that may be uttered in isolation with semantic or pragmatic content (with literal or practical meaning). This contrasts with a morpheme, which is the smallest unit of meaning but will not necessarily stand on its own. A word may consist of a single morpheme (for example: oh!, rock, red, quick, run, expect), or several (rocks, redness, quickly, running, unexpected), whereas a morpheme may not be able to stand on its own as a word (in the words just mentioned, these are -s, -ness, -ly, -ing, un-, -ed). A complex word will typically include a root and one or more affixes (rock-s, red-ness, quick-ly, run-ning, un-expect-ed), or more than one root in a compound (black-board, rat-race). Words can be put together to build larger elements of language, such as phrases (a red rock), clauses (I threw a rock), and sentences (He threw a rock too but he missed).

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Famous quotes containing the word word:

    Today, as you know, I am famous and very rich. But when I am alone with myself, I haven’t the courage to consider myself an artist, in the great and ancient sense of that word ... I am only a public entertainer, who understands his age.
    Pablo Picasso (1881–1973)

    The word of the Lord by night
    To the watching Pilgrims came,
    As they sat by the seaside,
    And filled their hearts with flame.
    Ralph Waldo Emerson (1803–1882)

    Our woods are sylvan, and their inhabitants woodmen and rustics; that is selvaggia, and the inhabitants are salvages. A civilized man, using the word in the ordinary sense, with his ideas and associations, must at length pine there, like a cultivated plant, which clasps its fibres about a crude and undissolved mass of peat.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)