What brought this up was sabotage, is there a general modifier for a noun (so not necessarily a suffix) to describe someone as about to perform an act of that noun?

So if we did it to sabotage, I could call someone that and the meaning would be you're a person likely to commit sabotage. But someone who is yet to, not someone who currently practices or has already done it (saboteur).

The only one I can think of is -al for suicidal, someone thinking about/considering suicide. Maybe sabotage in particular is difficult, are there any more of these noun-adjective pairs?

  • I wanted to use the tag word-family for the question ("A word family is the base form of a word plus its inflected forms and derived forms made from affixes") but it doesn't exist and I don't have the rep, anyone wanna create it so this question has more meaningful tags?
    – Hashbrown
    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:27
  • You mean like "sabotagial" or some such? I don't know of either a specific word for "likely to sabotage" nor do I know of a suffix meaning "likely to". Probably the best one can do is -istic (of, relating to, or characteristic of), but it's not that specific.
    – Hot Licks
    Mar 11, 2016 at 1:37
  • 1
    '-ive / -ative / -itive' would be great suffixes for tendency or disposition, but there is no such word as 'saboteurive'. Or the Latin prefix 'ad' was also once indicative of tendency (shortened to 'a-' in Old French), but again 'asaboteur' doesn't exist. Still, these are affixes that can indicate tendency (e.g., 'ag-' is an alteration of 'ad-' in the word 'aggressive', which also bears the suffix '-ive').
    – Egox
    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:09
  • I have seen '-bent' used for a similar purpose.
    – Jesse M
    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:45
  • for which words?
    – Hashbrown
    Mar 11, 2016 at 3:54

1 Answer 1


Sabotagical is a slang word used to convey the meaning of "having characteristics of sabotage or a saboteur." Otherwise, one would just use that phrase or paraphrase. For example, one would say, "he's likely to sabotage;" "he's often a saboteur;" or "he's sabotaging." Indeed, -ing is probably the closest applicable suffix to what you're looking for, but this only applies the qualities of the noun, not the specific meaning of "likely to sabotage." "He's abusing;" "he's loving;" and "he's questioning" are examples with other words. Compare abusive, affectionate, and inquisitive.

Sabotage-prone has a similar meaning, but I don't think it conveys intent. Someone who is accident-prone does not intend to commit accidents, for instance. If they did, they wouldn't be accidents.

  • Thanks for chucking in a bunch of alternatives. I guess I was asking a bit much for such a specific word to exist, I just hoped it was just a matter of my not knowing it
    – Hashbrown
    Mar 15, 2016 at 0:54
  • @Hashbrown, you're welcome! Don't be afraid to ask a question if you think a word for it probably exists, though. I've seen all sorts of single-word requests that get very specific answers. Mar 15, 2016 at 4:22

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