Is there a term that can be used to refer to both the prefix and suffix of a word?

For example, unenjoyable. I'm looking for a collective word that described BOTH un and able.

  • 6
    If the prefix and suffix necessarily occur together, as in en-XXX-en, then together they act as a circumfix. Consider the circumfixed verbs enlighten, enliven, enhearten, enharden, enripen, enbiggen. In all these cases, the XXX is an adjective, and applying this particular circumfix to said adjective produces a verb that bestows that quality on something.
    – tchrist
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 2:37
  • not sure about a single word, but I believe an apt phrase would be the "grammarians' crucifix"!
    – Sam
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 3:40
  • The opening sentence of the Wikipedia article on prefix: "A prefix is an affix which is placed before the stem of a word.". And the very first sentence of the Wikipedia article on suffix: "In linguistics, a suffix [...] is an affix which is placed after the stem of a word.".
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 11:31

3 Answers 3


I think the word you are looking for is affix, though that also includes "-fixes" other than just "suffix" and "prefix".

Noun: affix (plural affixes)

(linguistics) A bound morpheme added to a word’s stem; formerly applied only to suffixes (also called postfixes), the term as now used comprises prefixes, suffixes, infixes, circumfixes, and suprafixes.


I believe you are looking for "affix"

noun Grammar

noun: affix; plural noun: affixes


  1. an additional element placed at the beginning or end of a root, stem, or word,
    or in the body of a word, to modify its meaning.
  • 1
    Ah, beat me too it. Simultaneous answering :-) Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 0:48
  • Where is this quote from? Always cite your sources. Moderators are instructed to delete on sight anything that's not properly attributed.
    – RegDwigнt
    Commented Dec 30, 2013 at 10:10

Like the other answers mentioned, the general word referring to prefixes, suffixes and similar, is affix. However, Wikipedia also mentions adfix as joint name for prefixes and suffixes but not any other kind of affix:

It [infix] contrasts with adfix, a rare term for an affix attached to the end of a stem, such as a prefix or suffix.

See the definition of adfix in Wiktionary.

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