I'm doing my term paper about wordbuilding. And I'm interested what is "mate" in the word "roommate"? Is it a second root so the word "roommate" is a compound, or is it a suffix?

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    What research have you yourself done? Have you, for example, looked at the Wikipedia article for affixes, where the third line on the page will tell you the answer quite clearly? Dec 7, 2013 at 15:59
  • I'm sorry, maybe for a native speaker it's quite a simple question) and I followed your advise, but didn't find anything helpful, or I'm just blind) I'm analysing the word building tendency on basis of David Mitchell's "Cloud Atlas". Dec 7, 2013 at 16:32
  • From Wikipedia: “[Affixes] are bound morphemes by definition”. ‘Mate’ is not a bound morpheme: it appears on its own as a fully-fledged noun meaning ‘friend, comrade’. Dec 7, 2013 at 16:56
  • do a simple test: say "a roommate is a type of mate." if this is true, then your compound word is an endocentric compound whose root is mate.
    – user31341
    Dec 7, 2013 at 19:50
  • Although I must say so in more than 15 characters, the answer to the presenting question is precisely Yes. One can consider it either way, and many do. Dec 7, 2013 at 21:03

1 Answer 1


All words ultimately lead to roots.

Both room and mate would trace the roots. Mate=*partner* from mette=*guest*. Room is a Germanic word from Raum.

In your example of roommate, it is a Noun+Noun compound word as in shipmate.

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