My buddy says things like cashiola instead of cash and calls my Mikeyola instead of Mikey. We are both native American English speakers, and my buddy swears other people say this.

Is this precendented in common English, or is he just making this up?

We have done some googling and we can’t find any words that seem to have this suffix in blogs or anything. Cashiola seems to be a name.


Etymonline's entry for pianola suggests:

ca. 1896, trademark name (1901) of a player piano, the ending perhaps abstracted from viola (q.v.) and meant as a diminutive suffix.The pianola's popularity led to a rash of product names ending in -ola, especially Victrola (q.v.), and slang words such as payola.

That is, using an -ola suffix as a diminutive is not unprecedented, and is something that people have done for more than a century.

An anomalous example is granola, which etymonline notes was used capitalized in the years after 1886 for a kind of breakfast cereal, and has been used uncapitalized since about 1970. 1886 is ten years before the 1896-1901 timeframe mentioned earlier for popularization of the -ola suffix.

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  • 2
    And let's not forget Motorola (derived in a way from a "Victrola in a motor vehicle"), which somehow has managed to survive as a name and completely overcome its 1950s early Space-Age patina. – Paul Richter Jan 31 '12 at 7:41
  • @PaulRichter Plusola! – Kris Jan 31 '12 at 7:43

There are two different -ola suffixes. The first one, call it -ola¹, derives from Latin, sometimes as a dimuitive and sometimes otherwise; for example, modern Latin hyperbola < Greek ὑπερβολή is not a diminuitive, but aureola < aureolus and lineola < līneola are from diminuitives.

About this first suffix, the OED says:

classical Latin -ola (in e.g. fasciola (see fasciola n.), līneola lineola n., sēpiola sepiola n*.),* feminine singular corresponding to -olus -olus suffix. Compare -olum suffix.

Occurring in nouns borrowed from the late 15th cent. onwards from classical and post-classical Latin, as aureola n., Gratiola n., striola n.

Several words in -ola (e.g. cupola n.) are from Italian and Spanish reflexes of Latin forms in -ula -ula suffix.

(Not productive in English.) Occurring as a diminutive suffix in nouns.

The other version, which I’ll call -ola², is mainly used for commercial names or in immitation thereof, and is considered chiefly U.S.   Here’s the OED again:

Etymology: Probably < -ola (in pianola n.).

The term granola n., apparently containing this element, appears as a trade mark in 1886 and 1928 but seems not to have been used generally until the second half of the 20th cent.

One of the earliest formations with this suffix in commercial use was Shinola n. (1903). The casual slang use is attested from 1919 onwards (see J. E. Lighter Hist. Dict. Amer. Slang (1997) at cited word).

Chiefly U.S.

Used to form nouns denoting commercial products (as Editola n., moviola n., Victrola n.). Subsequently (slang) used as a humorous device for extending ordinary words (e.g. jazzola); a few of these formations have become current (e.g. boffola n. and adj.), esp. with reference to forms of bribery (payola n., plugola n.).

Attested words ending in either of the two -ola suffixes include: acerola, areola, aureola, barbola, cambozola, canola, carambola, choola, cola, colocola, cupola, Dongola, dongola, Ebola, Editola, española, fasciola, fasola, foveola, frottola, girandola, gola, gondola, Gorgonzola, granola, Gratiola, hemimetabola, hemiola (now usually hemiolia < Latin hēmiolia < Greek ἡμιολία), herola, Holometabola, hordeola, hyperbola, idola, Kola, kola, lineola, lobola, mandola, Manola, mariola, massoola, mazoola, Metabola, Miliola, minneola, mobola, modiola, mola, moola, Moviola, nespola, oropendola, paleola, parabola, pascola, patola, payola, peola, pergola, Pianola, plugola, Pongola, pyrola, riffola, roseola, rubeola, Salsola, Savonarola, scagliola, schnozzola, scuola, sdrucciola, semiparabola, semola, sensoriola, sepiola, shola, sola, stola, striola, taeniola, tarentola, tetracola, tola, tombola, Tropaeola, vacciola, vandola, variola, Victrola, viola, and vola.

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