Definition of SUFFIX


A suffix is a noun referring to the linguistic element that is attached to the end of a word or base to form a new word or alter its meaning. It is a type of affix, along with prefixes and infixes, and is commonly used in many languages, including English, to create derivative words with different grammatical functions or semantic nuances.

Derivation in Linguistics: In linguistic analysis, a suffix is a morpheme added to the end of a word stem to form a new word, often changing its grammatical category, tense, number, or meaning. For example, the suffix “-er” can convert a verb into a noun (e.g., “teach” to “teacher”) or indicate comparative degree (e.g., “taller” from “tall”).

Grammatical Functions: Suffixes can serve various grammatical functions, including inflectional and derivational roles. Inflectional suffixes typically modify the grammatical properties of a word, such as tense, aspect, mood, or plurality, while derivational suffixes create new words with altered meanings or functions.

Word Formation: In word formation processes, suffixes play a crucial role in expanding vocabulary and expressing nuanced meanings. They can indicate relationships between words, such as agent nouns (e.g., “teacher”), diminutives (e.g., “kitten”), verb tense (e.g., “walked”), or adjectival qualities (e.g., “beautiful”).

Productivity and Creativity: The use of suffixes allows for linguistic creativity and productivity, as speakers can combine existing word stems with suffixes to generate new words and adapt language to express evolving concepts and ideas. This flexibility contributes to the richness and diversity of language.

Examples: Examples of suffixes in English include “-able” (e.g., “comfortable”), “-ing” (e.g., “running”), “-tion” (e.g., “celebration”), “-ize” (e.g., “organize”), and “-ly” (e.g., “quickly”). Each suffix contributes to the formation of distinct words with specific meanings or grammatical functions.

Suffixes are linguistic elements added to the end of words or bases to modify their meanings, grammatical functions, or forms. They are essential for word formation, allowing speakers to create new words, convey nuanced meanings, and adapt language to meet communicative needs and expressive purposes.

Examples of SUFFIX in a sentence

  • In the word “happiness,” “-ness” is a suffix that changes the root word “happy” into a noun.
  • The suffix “-ing” is commonly added to verbs to indicate ongoing actions, as in “running” or “swimming.”
  • Understanding suffixes can help improve vocabulary skills by decoding the meanings of unfamiliar words.
  • A suffix can alter the grammatical function of a word, such as changing a verb into a noun or an adjective into an adverb.
  • Some suffixes, like “-able” or “-less,” can change the meaning of a word by adding a sense of possibility or negation.
  • When learning a new language, it’s important to grasp the rules for adding prefixes and suffixes to root words.
  • The suffix “-er” can denote a person or thing that performs a specific action, as in “teacher” or “singer.”
  • English has borrowed many suffixes from other languages, contributing to its rich and diverse vocabulary.

Etymology of SUFFIX

The term suffix has its etymological roots in Latin, offering insights into its linguistic origins.

  • Latin Influence: “Suffix” is derived from the Latin word “suffigere,” which means “to fasten underneath.” In Latin grammar, a suffix was added to the end of a word to modify its meaning or create a new word.
  • Semantic Context: In modern usage, a “suffix” is a morpheme added to the end of a word to alter its meaning or indicate its grammatical function. Suffixes can change the word’s part of speech, tense, number, or meaning, and they are commonly used to create new words or modify existing ones in various languages.

The term suffix emphasizes its association with word formation and modification, reflecting its Latin origin and its specific usage in linguistics and grammar to describe morphemes added to the end of words.


  • Affix
  • Ending
  • Postfix
  • Termination
  • Addendum
  • Extension
  • Appendage
  • Tailpiece


  • Prefix
  • Base
  • Root
  • Stem
  • Word
  • Prefixoid
  • Infix
  • Combining form


  • Affixation
  • Morpheme
  • Derivation
  • Word formation
  • Inflection
  • Prefixation
  • Morphology
  • Lexicon

🌐 🇬🇧 SUFFIX in other languages

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