What is Clipping?

Clipping is a process of shortening a word by omitting one or two of its parts (i.e. beginning, middle, or ending letters/syllables) while retaining its original meaning. This word-formation process does not create new meanings rather it provides stylistic value. Each type is discussed below, from the most common to the least. 

What are the types of Clipping?

1. Backclipping

Blackclipping (Apocopation) is the loss of one or more syllables at the end of a word. 


  • abs (abdominal muscle)
  • app (application)
  • bi (bisexual)
  • bra (brassiere)
  • deb (debutante)
  • photo (photograph)
  • ep (episode)
  • fed (federal)
  • gig (gigabyte)
  • intro (introduction)
  • demo (demonstration)
  • hyper (hyperactive)
  • expat (expatriate)
  • expo (exposition)
  • fave (favorite)
  • flex (flexible)
  • frat (fraternity)
  • gas (gasoline)
  • glam (glamour/glamorous)
  • gov (governor)
  • gozz (gossip)
  • grad (graduate)
  • hanky/hankie (handkerchief)
  • fax (facsimile)
  • exec (executive)
  • binocs (binoculars)

2. Foreclipping

Foreclipping (Aphaeresis) refers to the omission of one or more syllables at the beginning of a word. 


  • phone (telephone)
  • sample (example)
  • coon (raccoon)
  • gator (alligator)
  • burger (hamburger)
  • graf (paragraph)
  • cid (acid)
  • stash (moustache)

3. Middle Clipping

Middle Clipping (Syncope) retains the middle part of a word, getting rid of the beginning and ending parts.


  • flu (influenza)
  • tec (detective)
  • jams (pajamas)
  • fridge (refrigerator)

4. Complex Clipping

Complex Clipping is the shortening of a compound word by preserving and combining its initial parts (or first syllables).


  • sci-fi (science fiction)
  • midcult (middlebrow culture)
  • sitcom (situation comedy)
  • forex (foreign exchange)
  • frag (fragmentation grenade)
  • garbo (garbage man)
  • govvy (government-run or sponsored)
  • grandma (grandmother)
  • grandpa (grandfather)
  • chum (chamber fellow)
  • antilog (antilogarithm)
  • perm (permanent wave)
  • shrink (head shrinker) 

How to Use Clipping 


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Short Text Messaging

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Reference: The Handbook of English Linguistics

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