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For example, the English words just (adj.), justify (verb), justification (noun), and justly (adverb) are all clearly a part of the same "family" although they each will have a separate dictionary entry because they are each different parts of speech.

How would I describe this "family" of words? I want to say...

The word just is a __________ of justification.

OR

I always thought cognate was the correct word as you can tell from my ELU thread answer here: Technical term for a noun version of an adjective. But, apparently, the word applies to the case where you are comparing words from different languages. If so, what is the best term for words from the same language?

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    Words can be cognate in the same language. Cognate just means 'born together'. So, looking at the descendants of the Proto-Indo-European root *gen- , we would say that all of the words are Reflexes of *gen-, and all of the words are Cognate with each other. So English kind and gentle are cognates, and so are English kind (noun and adjective) and German Kind 'child'. There is no specific term for the entire "family", since etymology is not really genealogy. More important is borrowing vs descent. – John Lawler May 22 '17 at 13:28
  • See also linguistic doublets. – tchrist May 22 '17 at 13:42
  • "The word 'just' is a cognate of justification." – Mitch May 22 '17 at 14:23
  • "The word 'just' is in the same word family as justification." – Mitch May 22 '17 at 14:24
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I think you are looking for the expression word family:

  • A word family is the base form of a word plus its inflected forms and derived forms made from affixes. In the English language, inflectional affixes include third person -s, verbal -ed and -ing, plural -s, possessive -s, comparative -er and superlative -est. Derivational affixes include -able, -er, -ish, -less, -ly, -ness, -th, -y, non-, un-, -al, -ation, -ess, -ful, -ism, -ist, -ity, -ize/-ise, -ment, in-.

  • The idea is that a base word and its inflected forms support the same core meaning, and can be considered learned words if a learner knows both the base word and the affix. Bauer and Nation proposed seven levels of affixes.

(Wikipedia)

  • Just and justification belong to the same word family. Just is actually the root word of that word family.
  • Thanks, Josh. I think I will edit my question to include an expression rather than a single word request. – thomj1332 May 22 '17 at 13:27
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    You may also say just "family" if things are clear from the context, e.g. Just is in the same family as justification. – aparente001 May 23 '17 at 3:42
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root [root, roo t] noun

  1. Grammar. a. a morpheme that underlies an inflectional or derivational paradigm, as dance, the root in danced, dancer, or ten-, the root of Latin tendere “to stretch.”. b. such a form reconstructed for a parent language, as *sed-, the hypothetical proto-Indo-European root meaning “sit.”. http://www.dictionary.com/browse/root?s=t

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