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Is the suffix -ion in the word invention the same as in the words direction, nation, fiction, station?

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I’m curious why you thought -ion the suffix, given that they all have the longer -tion in common. I think you’ll find that words like accordion, suspicion, legion, fashion, battalion, million, minion, scorpion, prion, centurion, evasion, dimension, succession, submission, confusion work differently than those you’ve selected. – tchrist Apr 2 '13 at 1:02
@tchrist Your last five, I think, do work like OP's examples: they represent the -io, -ionis suffix on the stem of the past participle. – StoneyB Apr 2 '13 at 11:21

Sort of.

The -ion suffix is a suffix, appearing in words of Latin origin, denoting action or condition.

It is used in Latin and in English to form nouns from stems of Latin adjectives ( communion; union ), verbs ( legion; opinion ), and especially past participles ( allusion; creation; fusion; notion; torsion ).

For example:


the act or an instance of directing.

(from latin directus - meaning to lay straight)


a large body of people, associated with a particular territory, that is sufficiently conscious of its unity to seek or to possess a government peculiarly its own: The president spoke to the nation about the new tax.

(from latin natio - meaning birth)


An invention (esp. literary invention); imaginative writing as opposed to writing based on facts.

From Latin fictionem, accusative of fictio (“a making, fashioning, a feigning, a rhetorical or legal fiction”), from fingere (“to form, mold, shape, devise, feign”).


From Latin statiō, meaning station, stem sto meaning I stand.

So getting back to your question, the answer is that -ion serves the same purpose in all of those words from being latin stems into instances (or conditions) of that stem. It doesn't have a meaning in it's own right, but rather modifies the meaning of the stem.

Most importantly, many of the words that now end in -ion have evolved past this basic interpretation of how -ion modifies the stem. This means that for most words, the fact that they end in -ion is useful for etymological reasons or as a guideline, but that the words now have a meaning that is not any longer directly related to how the -ion suffix alters the stem of the word.

We can see this in the following:

directus (to lay straight) -> "direction" (literally "to lay straight") -> idiomatic evolution over time -> current meaning.

Similarly natio (birth) -> nation (place of birth) -> current meaning evolved over time

fictionem (to invent, to feign) -> fiction (an instance of making up) -> current meaning "made up" (relation to literature evolved over time).

sto (I stand) -> statio (I am standing/*I am stationed*) -> station (a place where one is standing) -> current meaning evolved over time.

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I never knew nation,direction and fiction have -ion as suffix. – Raghav Apr 2 '13 at 0:42
though natio,diretus etc. might be a valid word in Latin and others have been derived from it but nation,direction,fiction are themselves a proper word in English. – Raghav Apr 2 '13 at 0:47
@Raghav: I do not dispute that nation, direction and fiction are all well established nouns in English. But so is invention and station, which the OP was specifically asking about. Answering that question, imo, requires breaking down the nouns (all the way back to the original latin) to see that they were originally constructed using a suffix -ion, and that the suffix had the same effect in all of them. – Matt Apr 2 '13 at 0:51
@Matt: I think Raghav (and OP) are forgetting that language changes significantly over time. The word forms we use today are often only distantly related morphologically/semantically to their (e.g. Latin) roots. Which are themselves invariably the result of earlier changes from even earlier forms. It's not always helpful to dissect words in this way if what you're looking for is an understanding of what they mean (and how they're used) today. – FumbleFingers Apr 2 '13 at 4:28

There is NO suffix -tion or -sion. The -sion words are generally from the Latin past participle form of the base. There is only -ion. Please refer to LEX or Real Spelling or WordWorksKingston.

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