14
votes
2answers
1k views

What's the deal with “fiery”?

How did English end up with the adjective fiery (instead of *firy) from fire, but miry from mire and wiry from wire? Are there any other words where the noun is -ire and the adjective is -iery?
-1
votes
1answer
45 views

confusion about the suffix 'ence' and “ance” [closed]

I am confused about using the suffixes "ance" and "ence". Where would I use "ance" and where "ence"? Is there some important rule about this?
4
votes
2answers
494 views

'-gate' as a suffix to coin words related to scandals and corruption cases

I noticed that for corrruption/scandals the usage of '-gate' suffix is pretty common, as we have recently seen with 'datagate' and before with 'watergate' Can anyone explain what the relation between ...
2
votes
2answers
291 views

Why is “feminism” good but “racism” and other “-isms” bad? [closed]

Feminism is generally seen as a good thing. It means something or other about achieving equality of the sexes; of treating people of different sexes the same or as well as each other. Racism is ...
0
votes
1answer
421 views

What is the meaning and origin of the suffix “-son”? [closed]

A friend recently asked me the meaning of the name Madison. Although I wasn’t sure of the meaning of Madison, it prompted a discussion about the suffix ‑son, seen in a lot of names: Jefferson, ...
7
votes
2answers
375 views

Why did the old pronouns and their respective endings vanish from daily usage?

If I’m not wrong, the verb conjugation in the past used to be: I have we have thou hast ye have he/she/it hath they have This conjugation is closer to its equivalent in the ...
3
votes
2answers
318 views

Eleusian vs. Eleusinian (and, to a lesser extent, Elysian)

Both Eleusian and Eleusinian are used in relation to mysteries. I've only seen Elysian used in relation to Elysian Fields. Given that the suffix -ian denotes "of or belonging to," I'm wondering if ...
-2
votes
1answer
1k views

Does the suffix -ion in “invention” mean the same in “station”?

Is the suffix -ion in the word invention the same as in the words direction, nation, fiction, station?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is “k” added to “panic” when suffixes added (as in “panicky”)?

When adding any suffix to the word "panic," a "k" is added after the "c". Examples: panicked, panicking, panicky. Why is this the case? Are there any other English words that do the same? I'm also ...
3
votes
2answers
430 views

Where does the suffix “-tine” come from?

Where does the suffix -tine come from? For e.g., Ovaltine, Creatine, etc. all have a -tine suffix. What is the meaning connoted to the noun attached?
4
votes
1answer
480 views

What is the origin of “-ix” as a feminine variation?

Some words are made feminine by altering the suffix to be -ix. Examples: dominator → dominatrix executor → executrix rector → rectrix What is the origin of this variation? From my 5 years of ...
2
votes
1answer
417 views

Pronunciation of onomatopoeia, pharmacopoeia, etc

Words such as onomatopoeia and pharmacopoeia incorporate the Greek suffix -poeia, meaning to make or to prepare. Wiktionary's provided etymology for onomatopoeia reads: From Ancient Greek ...
4
votes
2answers
294 views

When is “-less” used, and when is “-free” used?

When is the suffix "-less" used, and when is the suffix "-free" used? My initial assumption was that "-free" is used when the absence of something is good, such as "care-free", and "-less" is used ...
8
votes
2answers
520 views

Pedlar vs. peddler

The etymonline entry for peddler reads: late 14c. (c.1300 as a surname, Will. Le Pedelare), from peoddere, peddere (c.1200, mid-12c. as a surname), of unknown origin. It has the appearance of an ...
7
votes
1answer
436 views

The “-igan” ending

Does the -igan suffix serve the same function in the following words? shenanigan cardigan hooligan If so, what does it mean? Where does it come from?
4
votes
1answer
272 views

Why does “lactic” have an “-ic”, while “unique” have an “-ique”?

Lactic: "pertaining to milk," 1790 (in lactic acid; so called because it was obtained from sour milk), from Fr. lactique, from L. lactis, gen. of lac "milk" (see lactation) + Fr. -ique. Unique: ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Where do “‑ess” and “‑ine” suffixes come from?

English has a lot of words that end in ‑ess or ‑esse, such as actress, hostess, huntress, finesse, duress, prowess, Lyonesse, and Westernesse. That looks like a suffix that is also used frequently ...
0
votes
2answers
199 views

What are the differences between the etymology of “ingenious” and “ingenuous”? [closed]

As a matter of fact, I don't know whether there is any difference between the source words in bold below: From Latin ingeniosus (“endowed with good natural capacity, gifted with genius”), from ...
4
votes
4answers
751 views

-ness suffix etymology

What is the etymology of the suffix '-ness'? I have come across it in OE texts but always assumed it was a later borrowing.
15
votes
3answers
520 views

When did things like ‑fu start to spread?

I have looked at the answers to the question Can anyone tell me what the suffix “‑fu” stands for?, and I understand what it means. When, though, did it come into use? Does its spread coincide with ...
0
votes
2answers
7k views

Meaning of the “rupt” suffix/prefix

I was wondering the other day about the word corrupt, found that the suffix "rupt" appears in many words and as a prefix for another set and decided to ask this question: What does "rupt" mean? ...
-2
votes
1answer
424 views

Does the root -batic have a source meaning? [closed]

I'm curious about the words aerobatic and acrobatic. They seem of Latin origin and I wonder if anyone could enlighten me as to the meaning of the "-batic" portion of these words. Edit: I stand ...
6
votes
3answers
3k views

Why do we use the suffix “‑gate” when referring to a scandal? [closed]

I see a lot of times when something is a politically-oriented scandal that the suffix ‑gate is added to the end of the word the scandal revolves around. Examples include: Watergate Weinergate ...
11
votes
4answers
7k views

“-gram” vs. “-graph”

What’s the difference between the suffixes -gram and -graph? Is there any difference? Even if they are completely synonymous, what’s the difference in etymology? For example, pictograph vs. ...
3
votes
1answer
288 views

Why isn’t “lutherie” spelled “luthery”?

It seems to me that most English words similar to lutherie (crafting stringed instruments) end in ‑y. That is, nouns for professions or activities that are used instead of gerunds with objects. ...
13
votes
3answers
2k views

Suffixing by “-rama”, “-orama” or “-arama” — how did this begin?

Suffixing by -rama, -orama or -arama — how did this begin? I mean words like futurama, foodarama, etc.
6
votes
1answer
2k views

Origins of the “‑cede/‑seed/‑ceed” suffix

Somewhere in the back of my mind I seem to remember cedere meant “to go or yield” in Latin. Presumably this gives us the words concede and accede. (?) But what about the words supersede and proceed? ...
27
votes
2answers
4k views

Is there any relation between the suffix “-ship” and actual ships?

I am curious if there is actual relation between all nouns ending in -ship, such as relationship, citizenship, sportsmanship, etc. with the vessel for transporting people or goods over the sea?
6
votes
1answer
2k views

How did “-ish” suffix come to denote the approximate meaning of the word it is attached to?

I know it's currently more of a slang to attach and use it as normalish (see what I did here?) suffix, but still — was there any evolution for this? Also — maybe it had some special meaning?
7
votes
4answers
3k views

Use of “-en” suffix

"Woollen" is an Old English word that uses the suffix "-en" to turn a noun into a verb. As I understand it, the use of this suffix died out in Middle English. Do any more modern words use this ...
33
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin of “-ing”

What is the origin of the suffix -ing used to form gerunds and present participles? Why is the suffix the same in both cases?
14
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the origin of “earthling”?

What is the origin of the word earthling? Are there other words with a similar meaning (marsling, venusling)?
49
votes
5answers
3k views

Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”?

I just came across a course name: Geometric and Theoretical Optics. The mismatched endings bug me. Why do we have both -ical and -ic endings? Is there any difference in meaning between, say, ...
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Origin of different past tenses for verbs with the same endings?

Why do we have a situation where the past of "to blow" is "blew", but of "to glow" is "glowed"? And don't say "flew" if you mean "it flowed". The poem Lovers, by Phoebe Cary has many examples of ...
8
votes
1answer
3k views

What does the suffix “‑erior” mean?

The suffix ‑erior is used in many words that seem to indicate position: superior inferior anterior posterior However, with my Google-fu, I can’t find a real definition or etymology. What does ...
8
votes
3answers
2k views

Origin of the “-y” or “-ie” diminutive suffix to denote intimacy/tenderness? (E.g. Bob→Bobby, dad→daddy, Doug→Dougie)

Many names seem to get a "-y" or "-ie" at the end when the speaker wishes to denote a hint of familiarity, intimacy, or tenderness. Examples can be seen not just in names, but in terms like puppy, ...
4
votes
3answers
2k views

Do adjectives ending in “-ed” derive from words that were once used as verbs?

Talented derives from talent, which is not a verb in Modern English. Has talent ever been used as verb? Are there any words ending in -ed that derive from words once used as verb that is not used ...