Infix has meanings in linguistics, mathematics and computer science, and chemistry.
An infix is an affix inserted inside another morpheme. This is not uncommon in Semitic languages, in which roots are composed of three or occasionally four consonants and are conjugated by changing the vowels and sometimes inserting consonants between them.
Several infixes are heard in colloquial English:
Expletive infixation, a form of tmesis seen in profanity such as Massafuckingchusetts and absobloominlutely.
- Meaningless epenthetic sounds, such as the -iz- or -izn- of hip-hop slang (e.g., hizouse for house; shiznit for shit).
- The infamous -ma- infix, possibly coined by the writers of The Simpsons, and whose distribution has been documented by linguist Alan C. Yu. The sole purpose of the -ma- infix seems simply to be to make a word longer and more sophisticated, as with the words sophistimacated, saxomaphone, and edumacation.
Mathematics and Computer science
In the syntax of notations used in mathematics and computer science, infix is used to describe an operator such as the usual addition sign + that is taken to bind to the variables immediately preceding and following them. See operator for more on the placement of operators.
In chemistry, infixes are used to describe molecular structure in IUPAC nomenclature.
Chemical nomenclature includes the minuscule infixes -pe-, signifying complete hydrogenation (from piperidine); and -et- (from ethyl), signifying the ethyl radical C2H5. Thus, from picoline, we can derive pipecoline and from lutidine, we can derive lupetidine; from phenidine, we can derive phenetidine and from xanthoxylin, we can derive xanthoxyletin.
Last updated: 05-13-2005 07:56:04