A suffix is an element of a language that is added to the end of a word. E.g. -ly is a suffix often found at the end of adverbs: really, quickly, happily, strangely, etc., -d/-ed is a suffix often found at the end of a verb to denote the simple past: used, bruised, grazed, heated, etc.

learn more… | top users | synonyms (1)

61
votes
5answers
5k 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, ...
35
votes
6answers
127k views

“Oriented” vs. “orientated”

What are the origins of the word orientated? As far as I know, the correct spelling is oriented and orientated is not an alternative spelling but an error that is in common use. Is it for example ...
16
votes
6answers
22k views

Difference between “commentor” and “commentator”

What is the difference between commentor and commentator? Is commentor or commenter a legitimate English word?
39
votes
1answer
3k 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?
16
votes
5answers
35k views

What is the difference between “electric” and “electrical” and their usage?

What is the difference between electric and electrical and their usage? For example, what is the difference between "electrical machine" and "electric machine"?
17
votes
3answers
4k views

Creating words with “-able” suffix

What are general rules of thumb for creating adjectives with -able? I wanted to denote an object as having an ability to be tiled, but "tileable" and "tilable" both yielded as incorrect words by spell ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

Is there any rhyme or reason to when one should double the last consonant when adding -ed or -ing? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: focussed or focused? The double consonant Sometimes, final consonants are doubled when adding -ed or -ing to the end of a verb whose penultimate letter is a vowel. ...
21
votes
3answers
5k views

When to drop the 'e' when ending in -able?

I've seen a thread that generally asks about Creating words with “-able” suffix But I don't think it answers my point, though they are admittedly dangerously close topics. When do you drop the 'e' ...
15
votes
2answers
682 views

What’s going on with “drink > drench”? Is it like “passage > passenger”?

Edit: I am looking for a particular linguistic term for this process (which here uses terminal palatalization to indicate such) of turning passive verbs like drink into active verbs like drench. I ...
8
votes
2answers
21k views

When is it correct to use the “-wise” suffix?

I found myself writing the following in a bit of technical documentation: The Trainers' and Students' clients have very little in common, both user interface-wise and code-wise. At first, I ...
15
votes
3answers
6k 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.
19
votes
5answers
14k views

What is the distinction between “among” and “amongst”?

It seems amongst is quite often used as a synonym for among but it is supposed to sound more distinguished. Is there any difference in the meaning?
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Using short adjectives as adverbs, such as “easy” & “short”

I know that some adjectives (such as easy & short) can be used as adverbs in some situations, but when can this happen and what adjectives does this apply to? This definitely works: "He stopped ...
13
votes
2answers
6k views

Adjective form of “collide”—“collideable” or “collidable”?

I need to name an interface in a program I'm writing as being able to collide, but I've seen use of both collideable and collidable in projects with a similar type. Both of them look right in some ...
31
votes
9answers
27k views

“Trainer” is to “trainee” as “mentor” is to what?

What do you call someone who is being mentored? Is it mentoree or mentee? Does the term student or pupil imply a context outside the business environment?
10
votes
2answers
487 views

Is “-th” still a productive suffix in English?

The main question here is whether using -(e)th to create ordinals out of cardinals1 is still considered a productive suffix in English. Is it? If so, then does it matter whether we are in a formal ...
9
votes
4answers
5k 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, ...
17
votes
4answers
8k views

Is there a rule for which suffix to use when creating adjectives from nouns?

There are many suffixes that are used to create adjectives from nouns (-al, -ic, -ive, -y). Are there any rules used to create adjectives from nouns? In example, why is the adjective excessive, and ...
20
votes
3answers
3k views

What does the suffix “‑fu” mean?

Can anyone tell me what the suffix “‑fu” stands for in the following sentence? If you want to take advantage of some other Spring-fu, like some of its aspect-oriented features, then you’ll need to ...
7
votes
1answer
3k 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? ...
7
votes
4answers
7k views

“-ee” and “-er” word endings

There are a few examples of pairs of words ending with -ee/-er like employee and employer or advisee and adviser. What I was curious about is if there was any rule that would describe the relationship ...
11
votes
5answers
1k views

What is the adjectival form of “nemesis”?

If I have a non-person object or idea that I consider to be my nemesis1, how could I refer to the object as a noun but use an embellishing adjective to emphasize that the object is my nemesis? For ...
29
votes
2answers
7k 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?
16
votes
7answers
41k views

What's the difference between “adviser” and “advisor” — are both interchangeable?

I work for a financial services provider and we deal with "Financial Advisors" all the time. Increasingly, I'm seeing people send emails and so forth with the term "Financial Adviser" and the terms ...
12
votes
4answers
10k views

Are the words “sillily”, “uglily”, “friendlily”, “livelily”, etc., valid English?

I have wondered about how to make the words silly, ugly, friendly, lively, etc. into adverbs, so I researched in the Internet. I found many different answers, so I tried checking Oxford Dictionaries. ...
12
votes
1answer
2k views

Rules for removing last vowel when adding “-able”? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: When to drop the 'e' when ending in -able? Both are correct for these words: sizable, sizeable sharable, shareable takable, takeable But these words are ...
26
votes
3answers
1k views

What purpose does an '-o' serve?

I have been singing a lot of children’s songs lately, and this afternoon in the car I noticed three songs that add an ‑o to the end of words: “He had many a mile to go that night before he ...
7
votes
5answers
13k views

Which is the proper spelling: “Adapter” or “adaptor”?

In my current project we are writing a program to convert a newer protocol to an older one. These conversion programs are being referred to as adapters, but the team cannot agree which spelling to ...
8
votes
4answers
4k views

When is it appropriate, if at all, to use the suffix “ish”?

When is it appropriate, if at all, to use the suffix ish? Consider the following: She was a largish woman According to Google the word largish is defined as somewhat large. However, ...
5
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 ...
2
votes
2answers
2k views

Geometric or Geometrical?

I have read the excellent answers to Why is it "geometric" but "theoretical" - my question is specifically about usage. Is there a best practice for deciding between the variants "geometric" and ...
15
votes
3answers
788 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 ...
14
votes
5answers
2k 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)?
11
votes
5answers
4k views

Usage of -ist and -ian, when to use which?

This is a question bugging me for a long long time, especially for a non-native speaker like myself. We have physicist standing for the people doing physics research, as is linguist, chemist, etc. ...
4
votes
1answer
496 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: ...
4
votes
1answer
2k views

What are the limits of using the suffix “-esque”?

I'm seeing this suffix everywhere lately. Of course, there are a number of -esques that are commonly used (i.e. Kafkaesque), but is there some sort of rule for determining who (or what) gets assigned ...
3
votes
5answers
6k views

Is the suffix “-ette” used for referring to a female?

I recently came across the word scooterette in an Indian newspaper. I wondered if this is an Indian coinage; a quick search on Google showed me it's almost purely Indian. I could not find a reliable ...
3
votes
3answers
5k views

“Archivable” or “archiveable”

I have an entity and I would like to describe it as being able to be archived. Is it archivable, archiveable (which seem OK for me but no wiktionary.org results) or something else?
2
votes
2answers
834 views

When does a locational distinction change its suffix and capitialization in a proper name?

I am trying to capitalize Western Canada or western Canada properly and am wanting a definition for when the "ern" is added as a suffix to a locational distinction of a proper noun. I believe the ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

“Scientific” versus “scientifical”

Is there any substantive difference in the meanings of these two words? Is the latter considered a proper word at all? If the answer to either of the above questions is yes, what are these words' ...
1
vote
0answers
84 views

“-ic versus -ical” what's the difference in meaning between adjectives ending in -ic or -ical? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: Why is it “geometric” but “theoretical”? “Ironic” vs. “ironical” “Comic” vs. “comical” “Historic” vs. “historical” What's the difference for instance between ...
0
votes
2answers
504 views

When are Roman Numeral suffixes appropriate for number abbreviations?

This question was asked and closed last year as general reference. However, it did not attract the caliber of answer I expected it to. I suggested the following content as an edit, but it was rejected ...
0
votes
2answers
326 views

“Utilisability” vs. “usability”

I tried hard to find if we have the noun utilisability in dictionaries but it does not exist. But, when goolging, I found some articles that contain this word. I know that we have the verb to use ...
22
votes
5answers
16k views

“Extensible” vs. “extendible”

Where does the adjective form extensible come from and does it connote anything different than extendible? What's the difference, if any, between the two?
11
votes
1answer
4k views

Is there a maximum number of suffixes that can be added to an English word?

You can add various derivational and inflectional suffixes on to most English words to create new longer words (or forms of words). But is there a definite or theoretical maximum that can be added in ...
11
votes
4answers
16k views

“Postfix” or “suffix”?

Wikipedia and The Free Dictionary were not much help — is there a practical difference in the semantics of suffix and postfix, except that the latter is more rare? File name extensions are well ...
11
votes
5answers
6k views

Is there a good rule of thumb for plurals from words ending in “o”?

The following words and their plurals seem to be somewhat inconsistent: combo / combos concerto / concertos grotto / grottos / grottoes (?) hero / heros (?) / heroes potato / potatos (?) / potatoes ...
5
votes
1answer
3k views

What are the differences between -ist, -ite, and -ian

The suffixes -ist, -ite, and -ian all mean a follower of a person or idea. For example, a follower of Christianity is a Christian, a follower of Buddhism is a Buddhist, and a follower of Shia Islam is ...
3
votes
1answer
4k views

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

English has a lot of words in which the suffix ‑ess makes a word feminine, such as actress, hostess, huntress. That looks like a suffix that is also used frequently in Italian, so I’d guess it has ...
27
votes
2answers
22k views

Correct spelling: Updatable or Updateable?

Which is the correct spelling of the word? For example, "The file is not updat(e)able.". Btw, I did go to google and ref.dic.com for this first, and they both seem to indicate that they are both ...