from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition
- n. Linguistics The use of an unrelated form to complete a paradigm, as the past tense went of the verb go, goes, going, gone.
from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License
- n. The supplying of something lacking.
- n. The use of an unrelated word or phrase to supply inflected forms otherwise lacking, e.g. using “to be able” as the infinitive of “can”, or “better” as the comparative of “good”.
- n. More loosely, use of unrelated (or distantly related) words for semantically related words which may not share the same lexical category, such as father/paternal or cow/bovine.
Other, more extreme cases of allomorphy are called suppletion, where two forms related by a morphological rule cannot be explained as being related on a phonological basis: for example, the past of go is went, which is a suppletive form.
Compared to other solutions regarding the origins of PIE's 1ps nominative pronoun and suppletion, this is the most explanatory and leaves nothing to mystery.