What is the origin of using '-wise' as a suffix in expressions such as the following. Is it grammatically correct? Is it strongly idiomatic, or sloppy language?

'What is he doing job-wise these days?'

'Grammar-wise it is a good essay, but content-wise it is very thin.'

'When she goes up to university what will she do accommodation-wise?'

'Have you any thoughts of the best plan transport-wise?'

  • ... (certainly answered there) Aug 12 '14 at 19:11
  • Both adjective wise and suffix -wise come from the PIE root ****weid-*** 'to see'. Aug 12 '14 at 19:34
  • Such words as otherwise and likewise are shortened from in other wise and in like wise, which simply mean in another way and in a similar way.
    – Anonym
    Aug 12 '14 at 19:47

(The etymology is not included in( this answer) .

The use of wise as a suffix meaning in the manner of, like has origin from Old English. As a word-forming element it is quite common:

  • "way of proceeding, manner," Old English wise "way, fashion, custom, habit, manner; condition, state, circumstance," from the same source as wise (adj.). Compare Old Saxon wisa, Old Frisian wis, Danish vis, Middle Dutch wise, Dutch wijs, Old High German wisa, German Weise "way, manner."

  • Most common in English now as a word-forming element (as in likewise, clockwide); the adverbial -wise has been used thus since Old English. For sense evolution from "to see" to "way of proceeding," compare cognate Greek eidos "form, shape, kind," also "course of action." Ground sense is "to see/know the way."

Usage note:

  • The suffix -wise is old in the language in adverbs referring to manner, direction, etc.: crosswise; lengthwise. Coinages like marketwise, saleswise, and weatherwise are often criticized, perhaps because of their association with the media: Otherwise—or moneywise, as they were already saying in the motion-picture industry—Hollywood was at the crest of its supercolossal
    • This suffix should not be confused with the adjective wise, which appears in such compound words as streetwise and worldly-wise.


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