a compound word neither element of which is subordinate to the other, as bittersweet.
These days, it's hard to tell leftists and liberals apart without an agenda. Hence the increasing popularity of ''liberal-leftist,'' which merges categories on the model of compounds like ''toaster-oven'' and ''owner-occupier.'' (Linguists call those ''dvandvas,'' a term invented by the Sanskrit grammarians.)
Geoffrey Nunberg, "Sticks and Stones; The Defanging of a Radical Epithet," New York Times, August 17, 2003
Dvandva compounds can be doubly pluralized, but only when the first noun is irregular: men-children, menfish, menservants, gentlemen-farmers, women writers, and women-doctors, but not boys-kinds, girlsfriends, or players-coaches.
Steven Pinker, Words and Rules: The Ingredients of Language, 1999
Dvandva, literally meaning “a pair,” is a Sanskrit technical term used exclusively in grammar and linguistics. (By the end of the second millennium b.c., Hindu Brahmans had invented and developed the science of descriptive linguistics, including phonology, phonetics, metrics, grammar, and etymology, in order to preserve the correct pronunciation and oral transmission of the Vedas). Dvandva is a reduplication of dva “two,” closely related to Latin duo, Greek dýo (also dýō and dýwe), Slavic (Czech) dva, Germanic (Gothic) twa, and Old Irish da, all derived from Proto-Indo-European duwo. Dvandva entered English in the 19th century.
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