3 types of clipped words (with 60+ examples)

What are clipped words?

1. Introduction

In English language, clipping is the process of forming new words by dropping one or more syllables from a larger word, thereby resulting in a shorter word. Clipped Words are the words that are formed by clipping one or more syllables from a larger word or phrase, while retaining the meaning of the original word or phrase.

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Being shorter, clipped words are easy to spell and pronounce. Clipped words are more commonly used in everyday language. It is interesting to note, in some cases, the clipped form of a word is more popular (and more frequently used) than the original word itself.

Clipping is also known as shortening or truncation. Clipping refers to part of a word that provides for the whole, such as the word "bike" from "motorbike", and "cooker" from "pressure cooker".

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2. Three types of clipped words

There are 3 types of clipped words:

  1. Front clipped words: Such words are formed by clipping front part of a larger word or phrase. In front clipping, the end of the word is retained.

  2. Back clipped words: Such words are formed by clipping back part of a larger word or phrase. In back clipping, the beginning of the word is retained.

  3. Middle clipped words: Such words are formed by clipping both front and back parts of a larger word or phrase. In middle clipping, the middle of the word is retained.

The image below shows the three types of clipped words with one example of each type:

Examples of front, back and middle clipping
Fig-1: Examples of front, back and middle clipping

Before we take look at some of the examples of Clipped Words, I should note that sometimes two words are joined together or blended to form a new word. This process of blending words together results in the formation of completely new words called "blend words". We encourage you to read more about blend words in our article decicated to the topic.

3. Clipped Words List

3.1 Front clipping examples

Front Clipped Words
Clipped Word Original word
phone telephone
bike motorbike
burger hamburger
cooker pressure cooker
pen fountain pen
plane aeroplane
bus omnibus
tie neck-tie
van caravan
pike turnpike
mum chrysanthemum

3.2 Back clipping examples

The image below shows a few common examples of back-clipped words:

Back-clipped words like Pub, Chimp and Piano
Fig-2: Examples of Back-clipped words
Back Clipped Words
Clipped Word Original word
gym gymnasium
cable cablegram
pub public house
exam examination
specs spectacles
veg vegetarian
memo memorandum
gas gasoline
photo photograph
cafe cafeteria
lab laboratory
ad advertisement
lunch luncheon
fan fanatic
cab cabriolet
zoo zoological garden
sitcom situation comedy
piano pianoforte
pants pantaloons
movie moving picture
ag agriculture
alum alumna
bio biology
auto auto-mobile
disco discotheque
chimp chimpanzee
dad daddy
fab fabulous
mom mommy
prep preparatory
quad quadrangle
frank frankfurter
pug pugnacious
math mathematics
grad graduate
limo limousine
dorm dormitory
sub submarine
taxi taxicab
teen teenager
tux tuxedo
typo typographical error
co-op cooperative
rhino rhinoceros
stereo stereophonics
stats statistics
rev revolution
cuke cucumber
con convict
store storehouse
ref referee
non-veg non-vegetarian
vet veterinary surgeon
sis sister
vibes vibrations
ID identification

3.3 Middle clipping examples

Middle Clipped Words
Clipped Word Original word
fridge refrigerator
flu influenza
script (for medicine) Prescription

💡 Note: Clipped words are different from "abbreviations" and "contractions".

Although, an abbreviation is also a shortened form of a word or phrase, they often end with a period (.), such as Lib. for Library. Abbreviations are clearly understood to be substitutes for the full term. On the other hand, a contraction is a word or phrase that has been shortened by dropping one or more letters. When writing a contraction, an apostrophe (') replaces the missing letters, such as let's go for let us go.

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