Take the 2-minute tour ×
English Language & Usage Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for linguists, etymologists, and serious English language enthusiasts. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What is the name for a word that is shortened, but done somewhat incorrectly?

As an example, the word distro is shortened from the word distribution, but with the trailing i changed to an o.

Therefore, the word distro is a ________ of the word distribution.

  • variant?
  • corruption?
share|improve this question
1  
In what way is it incorrectly shortened? How is it different from any other similar prefix ending with an 'o'? Why would you think i is the trailing letter? Assume that no letter has been changed, distr + o is distro. –  Kris Dec 24 '11 at 7:10
add comment

5 Answers

up vote 1 down vote accepted

Assume that no letter has been changed, distr + o is distro.

In what way is it incorrectly shortened? How is it different from any other similar derivation ending with an 'o'? Why would you think i is the trailing letter? As you have yourself noted, distro is a word.

It is essentially a contraction, drawing distr from distribution and then modifying with a terminal o to form a new word. The second part can be thought of as somewhat similar to weirdo, from weird.

Therefore, the word distro is derived from the word distribution.

share|improve this answer
    
See also my comment about clipping at Harsh's answer. Yes, distro is one such clipping, used in the software, electric power, publishing and probably marketing domains. –  Kris Dec 24 '11 at 7:50
2  
This answer would be strengthened by references to outside sources. –  onomatomaniak Dec 24 '11 at 10:08
    
But contractions are abbreviations too. –  Hugo Dec 26 '11 at 9:22
    
@Hugo: Yes, in the grammatical sense, contractions are abbreviations, too. I have edited my post suitably. –  Kris Dec 26 '11 at 9:33
add comment

It's a form of contraction:

contraction, noun: a shortening of a word, syllable, or word group by omission of one or more sounds or letters or by the reduction of two or more vowels or syllables to one [MW]

Specifically, it's a form of apocope:

apocope, noun: the loss of one or more sounds or letters at the end of a word

The word distro is formed from distribution by apocope and substitution. You can see other examples of this here.

share|improve this answer
    
However, 'here' is a title on Google Books. The book itself is not accessible from 'here', so no 'examples' can be seen at the link. –  Kris Dec 24 '11 at 7:24
1  
@Kris The link worked for me. If it doesn't work for you, go to books.google.com and search for apocope and substitution. The book is Word structure by Richard Coates, pg. 104. –  Gnawme Dec 24 '11 at 7:28
    
Thanks, this one helps. The first link probably needs a Google login and you are signed into Google so it works for you. –  Kris Dec 24 '11 at 7:41
add comment

As far as I have ever heard, there is no such specific term, so I suggest corrupted abbreviation as suitable.

Note, however, that in this example the o doesn't necessarily replace the i; the ibuti and trailing n are removed, leaving the o after distr. I can think of a less equivocal example of corrupted abbreviation, though: No. as an abbreviation of number.

share|improve this answer
4  
I believe No. is an abbreviation of numero. –  Gnawme Dec 23 '11 at 21:35
add comment

It's called a clipped form, or clipping.

Read Here


edit: To counter link-rot, here is the definition:

In linguistics, clipping is the word formation process which consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts (Marchand:1969). Clipping is also known as "truncation" or "shortening."

share|improve this answer
    
Another common form, slightly similar to this is called "Syllabic Abbreviation", as in the join of two words to create a new word, for example: Interpol (**Inter**national **Pol**ice) en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Abbreviation#Syllabic_abbreviation Read Here –  Harsh Dec 23 '11 at 19:51
    
Some useful info from this 'Read Here' reference: "According to Marchand (1969), clippings are not coined as words belonging to the standard vocabulary of a language. They originate as terms of a special group like schools, army, police, the medical profession, etc., ". –  Kris Dec 24 '11 at 7:46
    
yeah... observing their usage, they generally fall in the colloquial or especially the jargon category. –  Harsh Dec 24 '11 at 16:03
    
Link rot happens, yes, even with Wikipedia. Could you include a relevant quote from your link (and also, identify what it links to)? @Kris' comment is a start, but many people don't read comments. –  Marthaª Dec 27 '11 at 16:12
    
In linguistics, clipping is the word formation process which consists in the reduction of a word to one of its parts (Marchand:1969). Clipping is also known as "truncation" or "shortening." –  Harsh Jan 4 '12 at 8:27
add comment

Abbreviation or "abridged form" or just "short for"

share|improve this answer
    
What does this have to do with the i changed to an o? –  Daniel Dec 23 '11 at 19:49
1  
The i isn't change to an o - the i is just one of the letters removed along with b,u,t,n –  mgb Dec 23 '11 at 19:50
    
Oh, I see; I wonder if the OP was thinking of that when he made his word-request. –  Daniel Dec 23 '11 at 19:52
3  
@MartinBeckett, I think that's a stretch. The simplest explanation, and the one most likely correct, is that "Distri" sounds funny, and "distr" is unpronounceable, but changing the the i to an o makes the word easier to work with and plays off the fact that many people pronounce the root word "dist-ro-bu-tion", so it's believable. –  tylerl Dec 24 '11 at 9:26
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.