A BIG List of Suffixes and Their Meanings

Suffixes

A suffix is a letter or a group of letters that is usually attached to the end of a word to form a new word, as well as alter the way it functions grammatically.

Depending on whether it is a noun, verb, adjective or adverb, a different suffix would be required. For example, the verb read can be altered to become the noun reader by adding the suffix ­-er. The same verb can also be turned into the adjective readable by adding the suffix –able.

It is just as important to understand the definitions of suffixes as prefixes, because they too help us to deduce the meanings of any new words that we learn.

I have listed some of the most common suffixes below:

-able able to be excitable, portable, preventable
-ac pertaining to cardiac, hemophiliac, maniac
-acity (-ocity) quality of perspicacity, sagacity, velocity
-ade  act, action or process, product blockade, cavalcade, promenade,
-age action or process passage, pilgrimage, voyage
-aholic (-oholic) one with an obsession for workaholic, shopaholic, alcoholic
-al relating to bacterial, theatrical, natural
-algia pain neuralgia, nostalgia,
-an (-ian) relating to, belonging to Italian, urban, African
-ance state or quality of brilliance, defiance, annoyance
-ant a person who applicant, immigrant, servant
-ant inclined to, tending to brilliant, defiant, vigilant
-ar of or relating to, being lunar, molecular, solar
-ar a person who beggar, burglar, liar
-ard  (art) a person who does an action coward, sluggard, wizard
-arian a person who disciplinarian, vegetarian, librarian
-arium (orium) a place for terrarium, aquarium, solarium
-ary of or relating to literary, military, budgetary
-ate state or quality of (adj.) affectionate, desolate, obstinate
-ate makes the word a verb (different pronunciation) activate, evaporate, medicate
-ation action or process creation, narration, emancipation
-ative tending to (adj.) creative, preservative, talkative
-cide act of killing homicide, suicide, genocide
-cracy rule, government, power bureaucracy, aristocracy, theocracy
-crat someone who has power aristocrat, bureaucrat, technocrat
-cule diminutive (making something small) molecule, ridicule,
-cy state, condition or quality efficiency, privacy, belligerency
-cycle circle, wheel bicycle, recycle, tricycle
-dom condition of, state, realm boredom, freedom, wisdom
-dox belief, praise orthodox, paradox
-ectomy surgical removal of appendectomy, hysterectomy
-ed past tense called, hammered, laughed
-ee receiver, performer nominee, employee, devotee
-eer associated with/engaged in engineer, volunteer
-emia blood condition anemia, hypoglycemia, leukemia
-en makes the word a verb awaken, fasten, strengthen
-ence state or condition, action absence, dependence, negligence
-ency condition or quality clemency, dependency, efficiency
-ent inclined to performing/causing, or one who performs/causes competent, correspondent, absorbent
-er more bigger, faster, happier
-er action or process flutter, ponder, stutter
-er a person who does an action announcer, barber, teacher
-ern state or quality of eastern, northern, western
-escence state or process adolescence, convalescence
-ese relating to a place Chinese, Congolese, Vietnamese
-esque in the style of Kafkaesque, grotesque, burlesque
-ess female actress, heiress, lioness
-est most funniest, hottest, silliest
-etic relating to (makes the word an adj.) athletic, energetic, poetic
-ette diminutive (makes something smaller) cigarette, diskette, kitchenette
-ful full of helpful, thankful, cheerful
-fy make, cause (makes the word a verb) amplify, falsify, terrify
-gam/gamy marriage, union monogam, polygamy
-gon/gonic angle hexagon, polygonic, pentagon
-hood state, condition, or quality childhood, neighborhood, motherhood
-ial relating to celestial, editorial, martial
-ian relating to Martian, utopian, pediatrician
-iasis diseased condition elephantiasis, psoriasis
-iatric healing practice pediatric, psychiatric,
-ible able to be audible, plausible, legible
-ic/ical relating to, characterized by analytic/al, comic/al, organic
-ile relating to, capable of agile, docile, volatile
-ily in what manner sloppily, steadily, zanily
-ine relating to canine, feminine, masculine
-ing materials bedding, frosting, roofing
-ing action or process dancing, seeing, writing
-ion action or process celebration, completion, navigation
-ious having the qualities of, full of ambitious, cautious, gracious
-ish relating to, characteristic apish, brutish, childish
-ism state or quality altruism, despotism, heroism
-ist a person, one who does an action artist, linguist, pianist
-ite resident of, follower, product of suburbanite, luddite, dynamite
-itis inflammation, preoccupation appendicitis, tonsillitis, frontrunneritis
-ity state, condition, or quality abnormality, civility, necessity
-ive inclined to; quality of; that which attractive, expensive, repulsive
-ization act or process of making colonization, fertilization, modernization
-ize cause, treat, become antagonize, authorize, popularize
-less without fearless, helpless, homeless
-let version of booklet, droplet, inlet
-like resembling, characteristic childlike, homelike, lifelike
-ling younger or inferior duckling, underling
-loger/logist one who does astrologer, cardiologist, chronologer
-log speech dialog, monolog,
-ly in what manner badly, courageously, happily
-ment action, result movement, placement, shipment
-ness state or quality (makes a noun) kindness, shyness, weakness
-oid resembling humanoid, tabloid, hemorrhoid
-ology study of, science of anthropology, archaeology, biology
-oma tumor, swelling carcinoma, osteoma, hematoma
-onym name, word synonym, antonym, homonym
-opia eye defect myopia, nyctalopia, hyperopia
-opsy examination biopsy, autopsy, necropsy
-or a person who inventor, legislator, translator
-ory relating to armory, dormitory, laboratory
-osis process, diseased condition diagnosis, prognosis, neurosis, psychosis
-ostomy/otomy surgical colostomy, lobotomy, craniotomy
-ous full of hazardous, humorous, wondrous
-path one who engages in homeopath, naturopath, psychopath
-pathy feeling, diseased sympathy, apathy, neuropathy
-phile one who loves bibliophile, audiophile, pyrophile
-phobia abnormal fear of acrophobia, claustrophobia, xenophobia
-phone sound homophone, telephone, microphone
-phyte plant, to grow zoophyte, cryptophyte, epiphyte
-plegia paralysis paraplegia, quadriplegia, hemiplegia
-plegic one who is paralyzed paraplegic, technoplegic, quadriplegic
-pnea air, spirit apnea, hyperpnea, orthopnea
-scopy/scope visual exam arthroscopy, gastroscopy, microscope
-scribe/script to write transcript, describe, manuscript
-sect to cut dissect, insect, bisect
-ship state or condition of, skill of authorship, citizenship, friendship
-sion state or quality confusion, depression, tension
-some characterized by, group of cumbersome, quarrelsome, foursome
-sophy/sophic wisdom, knowledge philosophy, theosophy, anthroposophic
-th state or quality depth, length, strength
-tion state or quality attention, caution, fascination
-tome/tomy to cut hysterectomy, epitome, tonsillotome
-trophy nourishment, growth atrophy, hypertrophy, dystrophy
-tude state, condition or quality fortitude, gratitude, magnitude
-ty state, condition or quality ability, honesty, loyalty
-ular relating to or resembling cellular, circular, muscular
-uous state or quality of arduous, tumultuous, virtuous
-ure action, condition closure, erasure, failure
-ward specifies direction backward, eastward, homeward
-ware things of the same type or material hardware, software, kitchenware
-wise in what manner or direction clockwise, lengthwise, otherwise
-y made up of, characterized brainy, fruity, gooey

 

So as you can see, affixes can dramatically change the definitions of words. Knowing the various prefixes and suffixes along with their meanings can really help you to understand how words are used, and also how they should be spelt.

Although these groups of letters (affixes) are important and assist with forming words, they are not words in their own right and cannot stand alone in a sentence.

If they are printed or written alone, then they should have a hyphen before or after them to demonstrate that they are to be attached to other letters to form words (the way I have listed them in the above tables).

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