Definition of polysynthetic in English:


Pronunciation /ˌpälēsinˈTHedik/ /ˌpɑlisɪnˈθɛdɪk/


  • Denoting or relating to a language characterized by complex words consisting of several morphemes, in which a single word may function as a whole sentence. Many North and South American languages are polysynthetic.

    ‘As Geoff points out, the Inuit's polysynthetic language puts them in a strong position to make up descriptive words like this.’
    • ‘Unlike English, Iñupiaq is a polysynthetic language - dozens of affixes can add nuance to the meaning of a simple noun like snow.’
    • ‘Considering that Eskimo languages are polysynthetic it is difficult to compare them to English.’
    • ‘Mohawk is a polysynthetic language, in which noun objects can easily be incorporated into the verb.’
    • ‘Like many Indian languages, it is polysynthetic, meaning that what we would express in a sentence the Maidu express in a single word containing a long string of suffixes.’