What are

Consider this sentence.

My friend has given me a book as a gift for my birthday.

In this sentence, the word ‘friend’ has been used as a noun to denote a person.

Consider this sentence:

My friendship with Clinton is growing like a banyan tree.

Here, the word ‘friendship’ has been used to mention the relationship between Clinton and me.

But the word friendship is a derivative of the word ‘friend’. Such a derivative is created by adding ‘ship’ at the end of the word.

The ‘ship’ is called Suffix.

The addition, which is added at the end of the word, is called ‘Suffix’.


Man and manhood
Here, ‘hood’ is a suffix.

Free and freedom
Here, ‘dom’ is a suffix.

The origin of Suffixes is the languages of Latin, Greek and English itself.

The Suffixes can be categorized as follows:

1. Suffixes of Nouns of English origin

2. Suffixes of Adjectives of English origin

3. Suffixes of Verbs of English origin

4. Suffixes of Adverbs of English origin

5. Suffixes of Nouns of Latin origin

6. Suffixes of Adjectives of Latin origin

7. Suffixes of Verbs of Latin origin

8. Suffixes of Greek origin

1. Suffixes of Nouns of English origin:

i. Denoting the doer:

Er –Painter, baker

Ar – beggar

Or – sailor

Yer - lawyer

Ster – spinster, punster, songster

Ter – daughter, sister

Ther – father, mother, brother,

ii. Denoting state, action, condition, being, etc…

Dom – freedom, martyrdom, wisdom

Hood – manhood, childhood,

Head - godhead

Lock – wedlock,

Ledge - knowledge

Ness – darkness, boldness, goodness, sweetness

Red – hatred, kindred

Ship – friendship, hardship, lordship

Th – health, stealth, growth

iii. Denoting diminutives:

El – satchel, kernel,

Le - girdle, handle

En – maiden, kitten, chicken

Ie – dearie, birdie, lassie

Kin – lambkin, napkin

Let – leaflet

Ling – ducking, darling, stripling, weakling

Ock – hillock, bullock

2. Suffixes of Adjectives of English origin:

Ed – having
Examples: Gifted, talented, wretched, learned

En – made of
Examples: Wooden, golden, woolen, earthen

Ful – full of
Examples: Hopeful, fruitful, joyful

Ish – somewhat like
Examples: Boorish, reddish, girlish

Less – free from
Examples: Fearless, shameless, hopeless, senseless, boundless

Ly – like
Examples: Manly, godly, sprightly

Some – with the quality of
Examples: Wholesome, meddlesome, gladsome, quarrelsome

Y – with the quality of
Examples: Wealthy, healthy, windy, slimy, greedy, needy, thirsty, dirty

3. Suffixes of Verbs of English origin:

En – causative, forming transitive verbs
Examples: Weaken, sweeten, gladden, deaden, strengthen etc…

Se – to make
Examples: Rinse, cleanse

Er – intensive
Examples: Chatter, glitter, glimmer, fritter, flutter

4. Suffixes of Adverbs of English origin:

Ly – like
Examples: Boldly, wisely

Long – towards
Examples: Headlong, sidelong

Ward – turning to
Examples: Homeward, backward, upwards

Way – to wards
Examples: Straight a way, anyway, always

Wise – manner
Examples: Likewise, otherwise

5. Suffixes of Nouns of Latin origin:

i. Denoting chiefly the agents or doer of a thing

Ain – chieftain

An –artisan

En – citizen

On – surgeon

Ar – scholar

Er – preacher

Eer – engineer

Ier – financier

Ary – missionary

Ate – advocate

Ee – trustee

Ey – attorney

Y – Deputy

Or –emperor

Our –saviour

Eur –Amateur

Er – interpreter

ii. Denoting state, action or the result of an action

Age – bondage, marriage, breakage, leakage

Ance – abundance, brilliance, assistance, excellence, innocence

Cy – fancy, accuracy, lunacy, bankruptcy

Ion – action, option, union

Ice – service, cowardice

Ise – exercise

Ment – improvement, judgment, punishment

Mony – parsimony, matrimony, testimony

Tude – attitude, altitude, magnitude, servitude, fortitude

Ty – cruelty, frailty, credulity

Ure – pleasure, forfeiture, verdure

Y – Misery, victory

iii. Denoting Diminutives:

Cule (ule, cel, sel, el, le) – animalcule, globule, parcel, damsel, chapel, circle

Et – owlet, lancet, trumpet

Ette – cigarette, coquette

iv. Denoting places:

Ary (ery, ry) – dispensary, library, nunnery, treasury

Ter (tre) – cloister, theatre

6.Suffixes of Adjectives of Latin origin

Al – national, regal, mortal, fatal

An –human

Ane- humane, mundane

Ar – regular, familiar

Ary – customary, contrary, necessary, ordinary, honorary

Ate – fortunate, temperate, obstinate

Ble – feeble, Laughable

Able- Laughable

Ible – sensible

Esque – picturesque, grotesque

Id – humid, vivid, lucid

Ile – servile, fragile, juvenile

Ine – feminine, canine, feline, divine

Ive – active, attentive, sportive

Lent – corpulent, indolent, turbulent, virulent

Ose – verbose,

Ous – dangerous, onerous, copious

7. Suffixes of Verbs of Latin origin

Ate – assassinate, captivate, exterminate

Esce – acquiesce, effervesce

Fy – simplify, purify, fortify, sanctify, terrify

Ish – publish, nourish, punish, banish

8. Suffixes of Greek origin :

Ic – angelic, cynic, phonemic, phonetic,

Ique – unique

Ist – artist, chemist

Isk – asterisk, obelisk

Ism – patriotism, despotism, enthusiasm

Asm - enthusiasm

Ize – civilize, sympathize, criticize etc…

Sis – crisis, analysis, heresy, poesy

Sy - heresy, poesy

E – Catastrophe

Y – Monarchy, philosophy

There are few more Suffixes of French origin :

Ee – This suffix is added to nouns to denote the person who takes a passive share in an action.
Examples :Employee, payee, legatee, trustee, referee

Or, ar, er, eer, ier – denoting a person who performs a certain act or function
Examples: Emperor, scholar, officer, engineer, gondolier

Ist – denoting a person who follows a certain trade or pursuit
Examples: Chemist, theosophist, artist, nihilist

Ism – forming abstract noun
Example: Patriotism

Ize or ise – forming verbs from nouns and adjectives
Examples: Crystallize, moralize, baptize

The Etymology of innumerable words is in another page.

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