Briefly: early libfixology

Back to the 1940s. Ben Zimmer writes to report that going through back issues of American Speech, he came across a couple of articles discussing what we would now call “libfixes”; Harold Wentworth called them “neo-pseudo-suffixes”:

Harold Wentworth, “The Neo-Pseudo-Suffix ‘-eroo'”, American Speech, Vol. 17, No. 1 (Feb., 1942), pp. 10-15 (link)

Dwight L. Bolinger, “Among the New Words”, American Speech, Vol. 18, No. 4 (Dec., 1943), pp. 301-305 (link):

Long lists have been compiled of words formed out of what Harold Wentworth calls neo-pseudo-suffixes. ANW has commented on a number of these, including –cast, -burger, -legger, -aroo, and others. How deeply the habit of dissecting words in American English may be seen perhaps better, however, in those suffixes of which there are but a few scattered examples and which have yet to become popular. Herewith are listed a number of them, which also meet the condition of not being independent words used in some nonce-combination (such as busting or fest).

Only two items on the list have survived: from icicle, Popsicle; from photogenic, telegenic.

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