Part of a word you insert between existing parts of an existing word. In the english language, these are rare, with only two consistantly-usable examples, those being the nefarious duo of "-fuck-" and "-funk-", as illustrated in "fan-FUCKing-tastic!" and "interFUNKonnectedness".

NatchLucid would like me to make some space here for the lizittlest infix of them all, the sizyllable "-iz-." You got a problem wit dat, bizitch? Actually, I might. While expletive in-funkin'-fixation denotes an increase in enthusiasm or intensity, "iz" doesn't seem to modify the meaning of the word at all, like a prefix or suffix might be reasonably expected to. (be reason expect to?) Unfortunately, I am so far removed from my linguistics class as to not recall whether or not infixation necessary and/or exclusively works on the phoneme or morpheme level - or, as in my above "definition", only occurs with chunks of actual words... not just weird and disonnant syllables. So for the time being, I'm going to have to say that thizis not (ha ha) infixation at work until someone can learn me (or conclusively assert below) otherwise. Cheers!

Infix can also mean infix notation, that is, the operators go inside. This is the `normal' way people do math: 5 + (4 * 6). There's also prefix, which is what LISP uses, and RPN/postfix, which HP's calculators and Forth use. With the ease of parsing, and lack of ()'s, it's a shame RPN hasn't become the standard. Maybe ISO should start working on it?

The main examples of infixes in the world's languages are in the Austric group, which is a hypothetical superfamily centred around South-East Asia, including both the Mon-Khmer languages (such as Khmer or Cambodian) and the Austronesian languages (such as Indonesian and those of the Philippines and Polynesia). In fact the sharing of infixes is one reason some linguists suspect the families are related.

In Khmer, charoen means 'causing prosperity' and chamroen means 'to prosper'. (The infix is actually -am-.) This has been borrowed into Thai, which does not belong to either family, and both words mean 'prosper'. Pak means 'rest' in Thai, pnak means '(physical) support', and pamnak means 'mental or moral support'. These are not isolated examples: the process is highly productive in these languages.

In Sora, a member of the Munda family, an Indian branch related to Mon-Khmer, some elements are prefixes before a vowel and infixes after a consonant. So id 'scratch' forms Arid 'scratching tool', whereas pO 'pierce' forms pArO 'piercing tool'. (A and O represent vowels different from a, o.) Interestingly, there is another prefix Ar- which stays a prefix: Arid 'scratch each other', ArpO 'pierce each other'.

There are traces of a nasal infix in the present tense of some Indo-European verbs. In English stand vs stood is the only relic of this, but it is more common in Latin (tango 'I touch', tetigi 'I touched', tactum 'touched') and in Greek (lambano 'I take', elabon 'I took').

Infixation is a process of adding material into an existing stem. The term is not usually used for changes within a stem such as the ablaut of sing ~ sang ~ sung, nor of the pattern morphology of Semitic languages.

Asian language examples from:

In*fix" (?), v. t. [imp. & p. p. Infixed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Infixing.] [L. infixus, p.p of infigere to infix; pref. in- in + figere to fix: cf. F. infixer. See Fix.]


To set; to fasten or fix by piercing or thrusting in; as, to infix a sting, spear, or dart.


The fatal dart a ready passage found, And deep within her heart infixed the wound. Dryden.


To implant or fix; to instill; to inculcate, as principles, thoughts, or instructions; as, to infix good principles in the mind, or ideas in the memory.


© Webster 1913.

In"fix (?), n.

Something infixed.




© Webster 1913.

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