Bound morpheme

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A bound morpheme is a morphological element that can only appear as a proper subpart of a word, i.e. an element which cannot function as an independent word or free morpheme.


The English word agreement contains the nominalizing affix -ment which is not a word in its own right, and therefore -ment is an affix of English. A form like mit (as in permit, remit, commit, etc.) which is not an affix but a root (since affixes may attach to it, forming a word) also cannot occur freely in syntax and may be called a bound morpheme for this reason.


One can distinguish two types of bound morphemes: (a) affixes, and (b) roots.


Utrecht Lexicon of Linguistics