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)

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, ...
12
votes
6answers
14k views

Difference between “commentor” and “commentator”

What is the difference between commentor and commentator? Is commentor or commenter a legitimate English word?
4
votes
2answers
723 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. ...
17
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
15
votes
4answers
6k 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?
8
votes
2answers
4k 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 ...
19
votes
3answers
3k 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' ...
8
votes
2answers
9k 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 ...
13
votes
3answers
14k 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"?
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 ...
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?
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? ...
31
votes
9answers
13k 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?
18
votes
3answers
2k 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 ...
10
votes
2answers
334 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 ...
4
votes
1answer
887 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 ...
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, ...
8
votes
6answers
10k 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 ...
14
votes
2answers
341 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 ...
6
votes
4answers
3k 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 ...
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 ...
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)?
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.
9
votes
4answers
3k 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. ...
8
votes
4answers
2k 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
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 ...
4
votes
1answer
273 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: ...
3
votes
5answers
3k 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 ...
2
votes
1answer
851 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' ...
2
votes
3answers
3k 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?
0
votes
1answer
207 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 ...
24
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 ...
9
votes
4answers
6k 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?
9
votes
4answers
2k 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 ...
7
votes
4answers
4k 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 ...
17
votes
2answers
15k 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 ...
4
votes
2answers
177 views

Proper placement of suffix while using the first name only

Ordering a gravestone and want to make sure the suffix is used correctly. While the last name is on the bottom to be shared by spouse, I need to put Edward H. II up top. The proper name is Edward ...
3
votes
4answers
695 views

Adjective or noun when referring to plural citizenship

What is the right form to use when talking about plural citizenship? "We are Italian" or "we are Italians"? (or American, Or German or any other ending with "*an") Same issue for "Saudi" or "Saudies", ...
3
votes
7answers
1k views

Is there a suffix for loathing?

For instance trichomania is a love of hair, and trichophobia is a fear of hair. But what suffix would denote a loathing of hair? Edit: Maybe I'm looking at the wrong end of the word, and I should be ...
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?
9
votes
2answers
1k 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. ...
9
votes
3answers
6k views

What would be a a linguistic term for those nouns ending with -ing?

What would be a a linguistic term for those nouns ending with -ing? Examples: building, scaffolding, ending. What are some other examples, and what do they all share in common semantically?
7
votes
2answers
275 views

Are there names for consonant-shifts when suffixes are added?

I saw a spelling mistake on an SO question: submittion. That got me wondering, is there a name for the shift of ‑mit‑ to ‑miss‑ in submission, permission, admission and so on? Are there other patterns ...
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?
6
votes
2answers
1k views

Problem with -ance/-ence

OK, so I'm ashamed to admit that as a native speaker I think I've missed something somewhere. I was typing up some documentation and spellchecker kept bugging me. So I looked up some words and found ...
5
votes
1answer
2k views

Does 'symbolic' mean the same as 'symbolical', and should one be preferred?

Wikipedia's article on vespers contains this passage (my emphasis): The name, however, by which it was most widely known during that period was Lucernalis or Lucernaria hora (l. c., 126). This ...
4
votes
1answer
481 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 ...
4
votes
4answers
687 views

The problem is threefold?

The problems are threefold. The problem is threefold. Which is the right way to use the -fold suffix? Note - This question was previously asked by a user whose account has been suspended, ...
4
votes
2answers
5k views

“Hirable” or “hireable”

What is the correct adjective form of the word hire? I have seen references to both hireable and hirable. I checked using Google's Ngram viewer book search and it appears that both have been in use ...
4
votes
3answers
942 views

Is ‘Yes-ish’ a perfect alternative to Yes, or is it 'Yes ‘on condition’? Is it received English?

I found a word ‘Yes-ish’ in the answer (from PLL) to my question about the meaning of ‘Stuck to the script’ I posted today. As it is quite new to my ear, I consulted with Wikipedia before logging out ...