A little while ago, I added the two-part back-formed verb child-mind to my inventory of these things, and then after I posted on the verb parent and the compound noun child-rearing, it occurred to me to search for a verb child-rear — and, yes, there were a few hits. The world of back-formed verbs is rich and wonderful, and there’s quite a collection of examples in postings to Language Log, to ADS-L, and to Neal Whitman’s Literal-Minded blog.

First, child-mind. This one is in the OED (draft revision of June 2005), which has the noun child-minding from 1919, the back-formed transitive verb child-mind from 1969, and the corresponding intransitive from 1975 (so these verbs are fairly recent innovations).

Then, child-rear, which seems to be pretty infrequent and even more recent than child-mind:

[1999] In a key substantive due process case which considered the right to child-rear, … the United States Supreme Court stated … (link)

[apparently 2008] If you decide that you’re going to bring a child into the world and you haven’t already done so, now would be a good time to discuss your values about how you want to child rear. (link)

No good hits for child-raise, in any of its forms.

3 Responses to “Child-rear”

  1. Ian Preston Says:

    I assume “child-bear” is a similar back-formation. There’s an example of it here in 2002 Canadian parliamentary proceedings.

  2. arnoldzwicky Says:

    To Ian Preston: thanks. There are a number of other hits. Added to the inventory.

  3. Postings on 2-p b-f verbs « Arnold Zwicky’s Blog Says:

    […] […]

Leave a Reply