Show Summary Details
Page of


Correct and Preferred Usage

Roxanne K. Young

Page of

PRINTED FROM AMA MANUAL OF STYLE ONLINE ( © American Medical Association, 2009. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the license agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a title in AMA Manual of Style Online for personal use (for details see Privacy Policy and Legal Notice).

date: 23 January 2020

Back-formation is the creation of a new word in the mistaken belief that it was the source of an existing word. Many back-formations are verbs, some of them derived from abstract nouns (ambulate from ambulation, diagnose from diagnosis, dialyze from dialysis) and others from agent nouns, real or supposed (beg from beggar, peddle from peddler, scavenge from scavenger). These examples of back-formations have achieved acceptance; however, many of those pertaining to medical jargon have not, including adhese, cyanose, defervesce, diurese, lyse, necrose, pex (from orchidopexy), plege (from cardioplegia), and torse. Medical jargon also includes many deviant singular forms of nouns

Access to the complete content on AMA Manual of Style requires a subscription or purchase. Public users are able to search the site without a subscription.

Please subscribe or login to access full text content.

If you have purchased a print title that contains an access token, please see the token for information about how to register your code.

For questions on access or troubleshooting, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.