Suffix

Meaning

Examples

Function or Characteristic Usage

Notes in this column refer to common functions of these suffixes. However, these are generalizations only, and you will find exceptions to many of them.

able, ible

able, can do

capable, agreeable, visible

verb ® adjective

ade

result of action

blockade, lemonade

verb or noun ® noun

age

act of, state of, collection of

salvage, storage, forage

added to root words (often French) to form a noun

al

relating to

sensual, gradual, manual, natural

verb or noun ® adjective

algia

pain

neuralgia

noun

an, ian

native of, pertaining to

American, Martian, antediluvian

noun ® adjective

ance, ancy

action, process, state

assistance, allowance, defiance

verb ® noun

ant

performing, agent

assistant, servant

verb ® noun

ary, ery, ory

relating to, quality, place where

dictionary, bravery, dormitory, aviary, ordinary

noun or adjective

adjective ® noun

adjective or noun ® noun

ate

cause, make

liquidate, segregate

noun or adjective ® verb

cian

having a specific skill

magician, optician, physician

noun

cule, ling

very small

molecule, miniscule,

noun or adjective

cy

action, function

advocacy, hesitancy, prophecy, normalcy

noun

dom

quality, realm, office

freedom, kingdom, wisdom, thralldom

noun

ee

one who receives the action

employee, nominee, refugee

noun

en

made of, make

silken, frozen, oaken, wooden, lighten

adjective or verb (ex: widen)

ence, ency

action, state of, quality

difference, conference, urgency

noun

er, or

on who, that which

baker, carpenter, brewer

noun

escent

in the process of

adolescent, obsolescent, convalescent

adjective or noun

ese

a native of

Javanese, Vietnamese

noun or adjective

esis, osis

action, process, condition

genesis, hypnosis, neurosis, osmosis

noun

ess

female

poetess, goddess

noun

et, ette

small one, group

midget, octet, baronet,

noun

fic

making, causing

scientific, specific

adjective

ful

full of

frightful, beautiful, helpful

adjective

fy

make

fortify, simplify

verb

hood

order, quality

neighborhood, motherhood

noun

ic

nature of, like

metallic, heroic, poetic

adjective

ice

condition, state, quality

justice, malice

noun

id, ide

something connected to or belonging to

fluid, fluoride, torrid, canid

noun or adjective

ine

having the nature or characteristic of

feminine, masculine, medicine

adjective or noun

ion, sion, tion

act of, state of, result of

contagion, infection, aversion

noun

ish

origin, nature, resembling

Spanish, foolish,

noun ® adjective (however, often the adjective is used as a noun. ex: "The Spanish" meaning the people of Spain)

ism

system, manner, condition

alcoholism, feminism, heroism, communism

noun

ist

one who, that which

pianist, elitist

noun

verb ® noun

ite

nature of, quality of

dynamite, graphite, sulfite, neophyte

noun or adjective

verb or adjective ® adjective or noun

ity, ty

state of, quality

captivity, clarity

noun

ive

causing

conclusive, festive, restive, abusive

adjective or nouns derived from adjectives

ize

to make (like)

emphasize, anthropomorphize

verb

less

without

worthless, mindless, guileless

adjective

ly

like

clearly, fearlessly

adverb

ment

act of, result

contentment, amendment

noun

verb ® noun

ness

state of

carelessness, uselessness

adjective ® noun

oid like (often suggests flawed or partial resemblance) asteroid, tabloid, anthropoid, rhomboid, ovoid noun or adjective ® noun or adjective that is similar to or has the qualities of the original word
(o)logy study, science, theory biology noun
an " ®" indicates a transformation from one part of speech to another

Copyright Jessica DeForest, 2000. All rights reserved