Definition of suppletion in English:



  • The occurrence of an unrelated form to fill a gap in a conjugation (e.g. went as the past tense of go).

    ‘Lexical words are generally fitted into the flow of language through such mechanisms as affixation, suppletion, stress shift, and vowel change, all of which have morphological and other effects.’
    • ‘We list the instances of suppletion and give examples of regular inflected items when they are available.’
    • ‘These patterns of suppletion can be correlated with particular geographical areas, language families, and specific lexemic groups.’
    • ‘In the first part of the paper, we show that suppletion is not erratic: suppletive forms tend to always appear in groups, in definite areas of verbal paradigms.’
    • ‘As the complementary part of the project, we will examine a range of genetically diverse languages, create a database, and use it to construct a typologically informed theory of suppletion.’



/səˈplēSHən/ /səˈpliʃən/


Middle English from Old French, from medieval Latin suppletio(n-), from supplere ‘fill up, make full’ (see supply).