English is not my mother tongue, hence I wonder if there was any rule to choose one suffix from another. For now, I use more of a it-sounds-better-than-the-other kind of rule.

i.e: Why freedom, kingdom, childhood, brotherhood, uniqueness, likeliness?

  • 1
    See Neil Coffey's fine article here for starters (actually Crystal did the original work). – Edwin Ashworth Dec 18 '14 at 11:58
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    I think there's no rule. Also, likeliness is the same as likelihood, which is way more common. – QOI Dec 18 '14 at 11:58
  • I would upvote both of you if I could – Arthur Rey Dec 18 '14 at 12:00

I'm in a posting mood. Here's a comment on the semantics of the suffix -hood from Wiktionary, which I didn't realise was so thorough:


A condition or state of being the thing or being in the role denoted by the word it is suffixed to, usually a noun.

child - childhood

A group sharing a specified condition or state.

brother - brotherhood neighbor - neighborhood

You can try the others yourself.

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