Definition and Types of Word

Definition of the Word

A word is a speech sound or a combination of sound having a particular meaning for an idea, object or thought and has a spoken or written form. In English language word is composed by an individual letter (e.g., ‘I’), I am a boy, or by a combination of letters (e.g., Jam, name of a person) Jam is a boy. Morphology, a branch of linguistics, deals with the structure of words.

Examples of word

All sentences are formed by a series of words. A sentence starts with a word, consists on word and ends with a word. Therefore, there is nothing else in a sentence than a word. 

Some different examples are: Boy, kite, fox, mobile phone, nature, etc.

Different Types of Word


An abbreviation is a word that is a short form of a long word.

Example: Dr for doctor, gym for gymnasium


Acronym is a word formed from the first letter or letters of a compound word/ term and used as a single word.

Example: PIA for Pakistan International Airline


An antonym is a word that has the opposite meaning of an another word

Example: Forward is an antonym of word backward or open is an antonym of word close.

Back formation

Back formation word is a new word that is produced by removing a part of another word.

Example: In English, ‘tweeze’ (pluck) is a back formation from ‘tweezers’.

Clipped words

Clipped word is a word that has been clipped from an already existing long word for ease of use.

Example: ad for advertisement


Collocation is a use of certain words that are frequently used together in a form of a phrase or a short sentence.

Example: Make the bed,

Compound words

Compound words are created by placing two or more words together. When compound word is formed the individual words lose their meaning and form a new meaning collectively. Both words are joined by a hyphen, a space or sometime can be written together. 

Example: Inkpot, ice cream,

Content word

A content word is a word that carries some information or has meaning in speech and writing.

Example: Energy, goal, idea.


A Contraction is a word that is formed by shortening two or more words and joining them by an apostrophe.

Example:  ‘Don’t’ is a contraction of the word ‘do not’.


Derivation is a word that is derived from within a language or from another language.

Example: Strategize (to make a plan) from strategy (a plan).


Diminutive is a word that is formed by adding a diminutive suffix with a word.

Example: Duckling by adding suffix link with word duck.

Function word

Function word is a word that is mainly used for expressing some grammatical relationships between other words in a sentence.

Example: (Such as preposition, or auxiliary verb) but, with, into, etc.


Homograph is a word that is the same in written form (spelled alike) as another word but with a different meaning, origin, and occasionally pronounced with a different pronunciation

Example: Bow for ship and same word bow for shooting arrows.


Homonyms are the words that are spelled alike and have same pronunciation as another word but have a different meaning.

Example: Lead (noun) a material and lead (verb) to guide or direct.


Homophones are the words that have same pronunciation as another word but differ in spelling, meaning, and origin.

Example: To, two, and too are homophones.


Hyponym is a word that has more specific meaning than another more general word of which it is an example.

Example: ‘Parrot’ is a hyponym of ‘birds’.


Legalism is a word or phrase that is used in law terminology.

Example: Summon, confess, judiciary

Linker/ conjuncts

Linker or conjuncts are the words or phrase like ‘however’ or ‘what’s more’ that links what has already been written or said to what is following.

Example: however, whereas, moreover.

Loanword/ borrowed

A loanword or borrowed word is a word taken from one language to use it in another language without any change.

Example: The word pizza is taken from Italian language and used in English language


Metonym is a word which we use to refer to something else that it is directly related to that.

Example: ‘Islamabad’ is frequently used as a metonym for the Pakistan government.


Monosyllable is a word that has only one syllable.

Example: Come, go, in, yes, or no are monosyllables.


Polysyllable is a word that has two or more than two syllables.

Example: Interwoven, something or language are polysyllables.


Rhyme is a word in poetry that ends with a similar sound as the other words in stanza.

Example; good, wood, should, could.


Synonym is a word that has a similar meaning as another word.

Example: ‘happiness’ is a synonym for ‘joy’.