from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- adj. Of or relating to a language such as Eskimo or Mohawk, characterized by long, morphologically complex words with a large number of affixes that express syntactic relationships and meanings usually expressed as phrases or sentences in other languages.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- adj. said of a language, characterized by a prevalence of relatively long words containing a large number of morphemes. Typically, the morphemes are bound (i.e., they cannot stand alone as independent words). An example of a polysynthetic language is Ojibwe, where:
- adj. Having layers of twin crystals
from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English
- adj. Characterized by polysynthesis; agglutinative.
from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- In philology, compounded of a number and variety of elements beyond the usual norm; exhibiting excessive intricacy of synthetic structure, as by the incorporation of objective and adverbial elements in the verb forms; incapsulated: as, a, polysynthetic word; characterized by such compounds: as, a polysynthetic language: first applied by Du Ponceau to the class of languages spoken by the Indian tribes of America. Also incorporative and (rarely) megasynthetic.
- In mineralogy, compounded of a number of thin lamellæ) in twinning position to each other, or characterized by this kind of structure: as, a polysynthetic twin. See twin.
from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.
- adj. forming derivative or compound words by putting together constituents each of which expresses a single definite meaning
The Ancient Greek prefix poly- + synthetic, from Latin synthesis ("collection, set, composition"), from Ancient Greek σύνθεσις (sunthesis, "composition"), from συντίθημι (suntithēmi, "to put together, combine"), from συν- (sun-, "together") + τίθημι (tithēmi, "to put, place"), from Proto-Indo-European *dʰe- (“to put, to do”). (Wiktionary)