I am aware of -wright, which is often used as a compound, e.g. playwright. But are there any other suffixes that are synonymous or similar in meaning to -wright and -smith?

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  • Related: Suffix -smith in surnames – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 at 7:24
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    It seems that you are asking if there other surnames that are also used in compounds, but unless you actually specify, I fear the question will be closed for being too broad (Nowadays called "needs more focus"). – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 at 7:32
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    @PhilipWood you are right there is no mention of surnames in the question, that is why I posted my comment. Four users have cast their votes to close it, I am only trying to keep the Q open. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 at 8:46
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    The above commentary and the fact that there is evidently a huge range of answers in what what one answerer has termed "the spirit of the question" indicates that the question is nowhere near clear enough why these particular suffixes are of interest, and what the questioner is specifically asking about. It could be suffixes that are, or were, words in their own right. It could be the quite different question of suffixes that form nouns for people. Or agentive nouns. It could indeed be surnames. There's just not enough in the question to go by. – JdeBP Jul 9 at 8:57

-monger, as in costermonger, fishmonger and scandalmonger. [The latter seems to be a coinage, no doubt semi-humorous, from the early 1700s.]

-master, as in postmaster, stationmaster, schoolmaster, quartermaster, toastmaster. [Maybe some of these are less well known in the US than in the UK. Postmistress and schoolmistress used to be at least as commonly used in the UK as their male equivalents, but have an old-fashioned ring now.]

-er, as in wheeler, jeweller, glazier, grazier, butcher ...

-ist, as in cyclist, psychiatrist, motorist.

No doubt my last example isn't quite in the spirit of the question...

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    Don't forget -keeper, -ster/-stress, -izer, -maker, -nik, and -or. The problem here is that the question is vague about what "the spirit of the question" is, and there are quite a lot of productive suffixes, even when limiting onesself to those involving nouns for people. If you want a book, try Robert M. W. Dixon's Making New Words: Morphological Derivation in English (OUP, 2014). This is chapter 9. – JdeBP Jul 9 at 8:50
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    I shall not now forget them. 'Nik' is especially delightful. Many thanks – and for the book reference. The question, if such it be, is stimulating if not crystal clear. – Philip Wood Jul 9 at 9:35
  • -nik is unusual in English outside the US. It's a borrowing from various Slavic language, probably primarily via Yiddish (given the particulars of its use which line up more with Yiddish than the original Slavic senses) and so dates to 20th century migration to the US – Tristan Jul 9 at 10:22
  • "-nik is unusual in English outside the US." Rest assured it reached even the benighted shores of the UK many years ago! – Philip Wood Jul 9 at 10:25
  • Refusenik had a big surge in the 80s due to the situation of Soviet Jewry being not allowed to emigrate. – Ross Presser Jul 9 at 11:33

In the past, "-man" has been commonly used, as in "tradesman" and "craftsman." It has fallen into disfavor over the last few decades due to gender equality issues, with "-woman" or "-person" sometimes taking its place as a suffix.

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  • great suggestion. so obvious i did not even think about it – oldboy Jul 9 at 23:57

-worker (dockworker, lineworker, coalworker, metalworker, glassworker, ironworker) is an element that identifies people who work in a particular place or with a particular material.

Some (like dockworker) are compounds with worker. Others (like ironworker) may have been formed from ironwork(s)+er (see Merriam-Webster, which lists ironworker under ironwork).

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    Both Wright and Smith are common last names, but I'm less certain about Worker. It would help if the OP specified in their question. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 at 7:03
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    @Mari-LouA I don't think the OP is looking for surnames because his examples (playwright and wordsmith) are both words which are not used as surnames. Had he given Cartwright and Goldsmith as examples I would think that he was looking for surnames but as it is I don't think he is. – BoldBen Jul 9 at 8:00
  • @BoldBen I added the examples in the edit, playwright and wordsmith are not usually surnames. But "Wright" and "Smith" are indeed common English surnames. There has to be a limiting element otherwise any > four-letter suffix would fit the criteria. – Mari-Lou A Jul 9 at 8:44
  • @BoldBen you were right, although i perhaps should have been more specific. i was looking for synonyms of the -smith and -wright suffixes. – oldboy Jul 9 at 23:58
  • thanks for your answer – oldboy Jul 9 at 23:58

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