Definition of anaphor in English:



  • A word or phrase that refers to an earlier word or phrase (e.g., in my cousin said she was coming, she is used as an anaphor for my cousin).

    ‘In the latter case, a referential anaphor refers to what its antecedent refers to; the anaphor is thus said to be coreferential with its antecedent.’
    • ‘The latter case, where an anaphor refers to the set-theoretical difference of restrictor and scope, has been studied by both psycholinguists and formal semanticists.’
    • ‘The domain from which potential antecedents for both individual and discourse-deictic anaphors can be elicited is defined in terms of dialogue acts.’
    • ‘Two complicating factors are that the relation between anaphors and antecedents is by no means unrestricted and that often there is a partial match between anaphor and antecedent.’
    • ‘Correlatively, it has been suggested that temporal anaphors like ‘then’ and modal anaphors like ‘that’ (in ‘that would have been unfortunate’) are kinds of descriptions.’



/ˈanəˌfôr/ /ˈænəˌfɔr/


1970s back-formation from anaphora.