What it would be called if we have words like "history", "histories", "historic", etc? I mean, for example we have words that are synonyms, homonyms, etc, but how about words that can be stemmed to a root word? What should we call such group of words?

  • 1
    Derivatives are words derived from the same root.
    – V.V.
    Apr 8, 2016 at 3:33
  • @V.V. How about to make an answer for this?
    – lonesome
    Apr 8, 2016 at 9:58
  • You could also use the term word family.
    – rogermue
    Apr 8, 2016 at 10:13

2 Answers 2


A word family is a group of related words that are formed from the same word. There are inflected forms with inflectional affixes (-s: help-helps,-er, -est : big-bigger-biggest, -ing :run-running, -ed: help-helped, etc.) which belong to the word and derived forms with derivational affixes (-able, -er,-ment, un-, in-, -ation, -ist, -ful,-ize, etc.) which make a word family. The core word and derived forms support the same core meaning. But derivational suffixes usually change the word class and the meaning.

help,helper, helpful, group-subgroup, dark-darkness, agree-agreement, friend -friendship.

  • That is one good answer. So all in all, run.runner, and running are a word family. Am I right?
    – lonesome
    Apr 8, 2016 at 13:13
  • Yes, the group of a head word + derived words is called a word family.
    – V.V.
    Apr 8, 2016 at 13:35
  • So in a way, that does not matter if it is inflectional affixes or a derivational affixes. All are a word family. Right? I am trying to make sure I am not mistaking anything because for a moment I feel word family is different from a derived form, since you made two bold phrases.
    – lonesome
    Apr 8, 2016 at 13:47
  • Since inflected forms are simply grammatical forms of tne word and they are always present in the context, they are automatically included into the word family. Derivatives are new words with the same root.You asked two questions. I gave you two terms and their definitions.
    – V.V.
    Apr 8, 2016 at 13:59
  • Wait for other answers.
    – V.V.
    Apr 8, 2016 at 14:01

In linguistics, the many word-forms that relate to a single unit of meaning, such as history, histories, historic etc, relate to a single lexeme. A dictionary is essentially a list of lexemes.

However this is an academic word and I don't think it will be widely understood. I looked it up to answer this question.

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