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MAJOR MEANS OF WORD-FORMATION

AFFIXATION

An affix is any element in the morphological structure of a word other than a root. For
example, the word unkinder consists of the root kind plus the two affixes un- and –er.
Hence, affixation is used for the process of adding an affix. Affixes are traditionally
divided into: a.suffixes, which come after the form to which they are joined, e.g. –ness in
sadness, thus suffixation is used for the process of adding a suffix; b.prefixes, which
come before the form to which they are joined, e.g. un- in unkind; prefixation is thus the
process of adding a prefix; c.infixes, which are inserted within it. The focus of this chapter
is on suffixes and prefixes.

NOUN FORMING SUFFIXES

Noun suffixes from Anglo-Saxon


 -ar: liar, beggar; it is a variant of –er; also a French suffix.
 -craft Handicraft, witchcraft, stagecraft, woodcraft: in these examples, the
new nouns refer to an activity or job which implies doing something
skillfully; aircraft, spacecraft, and hovercraft: these nouns refer to vehicles
that move in a specific way or have a particular aim.
 -dom Freedom, wisdom, boredom, earldom, martyrdom, and stardom:
nouns formed in this way refer to a state or condition; kingdom,
Christendom, dukedom: these nouns refer to a territory or realm, the land
that someone controls.
 -en Chicken, kitten, maiden: these nouns are diminutives; vixen is the old
feminine form of fox.
 -er Baker, leader, farmer, lecturer, painter, reader, speaker, teacher, waiter:
nouns formed in this way name the agent, or doer; blender, cooker,
computer, printer: these nouns refer to things rather than people; Londoner,
cottager: added to place names or nouns, they refer to an inhabitant, a person
living in.
 -folk This combining form occurs in nouns that refer to groups of people,
e.g. country folk, kinsfolk, townsfolk, womenfolk.
 -ful Armful, handful, plateful, spoonful, and mouthful: in these
combinations, the nouns refer to amounts and measurement, the quantity
that fills or would fill.
 -hood Boyhood, childhood, maidenhood, motherhood, and widowhood:
nouns formed in this way refer to states, conditions, qualities.
 -ie, -y Auntie, baby, Danny, doggy: the suffix gives the noun an
affectionate form.
 -ing Running, shaving, Browing, farthing, reading: a suffix used for
forming gerunds, or verbal nouns; formerly used to make patronymics and
to show origin; used with diminutive force; found also in a few place names.
 -le Nouns containing this suffix refer to: 1. something small, e.g. icicle 2.
a person who does (something specified), e.g. beadle 3. a thing used for
doing (something specified), e.g. handle.
 -ling Darling, duckling, and hireling: a suffix used to form diminutives,
sometimes in a depreciatory sense.
 -man A combining form which occurs in nouns that refer to people whose
job involves whatever the original word refers to, e.g. barman, fireman,
fisherman, milkman, policeman, stuntman, tradesman; it is also used with
adjectives describing nationality, e.g. Frenchman, Scotsman, and
Englishman.
 -ness Attractiveness, bitterness, goodness, happiness, madness, sadness: the
nouns formed in this way refer to the state or quality described by the
adjective.
 -ock Bullock, hillock: a diminutive suffix; it has lost its meaning in such
words as buttock.
 -ship Authorship, citizenship, leadership, membership, studentship refer to
people in a particular position or occupation; craftsmanship, salesmanship,
statesmanship refer to the ability or skill that people in a particular job or
position use when doing that job; friendship, kinship, relationship,
partnership, refer to a relation between two or more people or things;
battleship, spaceship, steamship refer to types of boats or other vehicles.
 -ster A suffix meaning: 1. a person who is, does, or creates (something
specified), e.g. punster, gamester , often derogatory, trickster and 2. a person
associated with (something specified), e.g. gangster.
 -th A noun-forming suffix meaning: 1. the act of, e.g. birth, stealth, and 2.
the state or quality of being or having, e.g. filth, wealth; in words such as
height, sleight, the –th has become –t.
 -woman Nouns containing this combining form refer to women who do a
particular job or come from a particular place, e.g. barwoman, creftwoman,
Englishwoman, horsewoman, saleswoman.
 -wright A combining form which occurs in nouns that refer to people who
create, build, or repair something, e.g. playwright, shipwright, wheelwright.

Noun suffixes from French, Spanish, and Italian

The following suffixes were originally Latin. They have been included here because
they came into English directly from these Romanic languages.
 -ade A suffix meaning: 1. the act of, e.g. blockade, cascade 2. the result or
product of, e.g. orangeade, pomade, lemonade, and 3. participants in an
action, e.g. brigade, parade, cavalcade.
 -age This noun-forming suffix means: 1. act, condition, or result of, e.g.
marriage, cleavage, usage 2. amount or number of, e.g. acreage 3. cost of,
e.g.postage 4. place of, e.g. steerage 5. collection of, e.g. peerage 6. home of,
hermitage; the suffix appears in many words borrowed directly from French
into Middle English, e.g. savage, voyage.
 -ance, -ence This suffix means: 1.action, state, process denoted by the
verb: acceptance, assistance, disturbance, entrance, and resistance; 2. state or
quality described by adjectives: arrogance, elegance, importance,
insignificance, irrelevance, reluctance.
 -ancy, -ency Same as –ance; the –y ending is a modern extension of the –
e ending.
 -ant, -ent In combination with verbs, the suffix refers to occupations,
participations, or one who does something: applicant, assistant, attendant,
defendant, immigrant, inhabitant, and participant. It also refers to a thing or
substance that has a specific effect: coolant, defoliant, disinfectant,
pollutant; sometimes, as in the case of the adjectives dependent and
descendent, nouns are distinguished from adjectives by using –ant for the
noun and –ent for the adjective.
 -ary Nouns formed in this way refer to a person or thing connected with, a
place for: antiquary, beneficiary, intermediary, missionary, secretary, aviary,
library, infirmary, and seminary.
 -ation The suffix combines with verbs to form nouns which refer to the
state or process described by the verb; there are variations of the spelling:
-ation, -ition, -sion, -tion: action, conclusion, creation, decision, education,
exhibition, information, operation, organizition.
 -ee Nouns formed in this way refer to the recipient of a specified action or
to a person in a particular condition: addressee, employee, examinee, and
absentee.
 -eer Nouns formed with this suffix refer to a person or thing that has to do
with something: auctioneer, engineer, mountaineer or to a person, who
writes, makes: pamphleteer, profiteer.
 -ery The suffix combines with verbs to form nouns which refer to an
action: bribery, cookery, delivery, forgery, recovery, robbery; other nouns
describe a type of behaviour: bravery, foolery, savagery, snobbery; the suffix
also combines with verbs or nouns to form new nouns which refer to a place
where something is done or kept: bakery, brewery, distillery, fishery,
refinery, winery; some words ending in –ery refer to a group or collection of
objects of a particular kind: artillery, drapery, imagery, jewellery, scenery.
 -ese Nouns formed with this suffix refer to: 1. a native or inhabitant:
Chinese, Japanese, Maltese 2. a language or dialect: Lebanese, Chinese,
Portuguese 3. the style of: journalese.
 -ess Nouns formed with this suffix refer to a woman or female animal:
actress, duchess, empress, lioness, hostess, princess, stewardess, tigress,
waitress; today often avoided as discriminating or patronizing.
 -et, -ette The suffix is added to nouns, meaning “little”: piglet, islet, and
eaglet.
 -ian Nouns containing this suffix refer to a person whose job or hobby
implies the thing denoted by the original noun: comedian, electrician,
historian, musician, physician, and politician.
 -ibility The suffix combines with adjectives to form nouns that refer to the
state or quality denoted by the adjective, or to something defined by that
state or quality: accessibility, credibility, possibility, visibility.
 -ice A suffix meaning: “state”, “condition”, or “quality”: justice, armistice,
malice.
 -ier A noun forming suffix meaning: “a person concerned with (a specified
action or thing)” : furrier, glazier, and bombardier.
 -ine The suffix is : 1.added to bases of Latin origin to form nouns derived
from them, e.g. divine 2. used to form feminine nouns: heroine, Josephine 3.
used to form certain abstract nouns, e.g. doctrine, medicine 4. used to form
the names of certain products and substances: benzine, chlorine, iodine,
morphine.
 -ism This suffix: 1. occurs in nouns which refer to particular beliefs, or to
behaviour based on these beliefs, e.g. atheism, fascism, feminism, optimism,
pessimism; it also combines with this meaning with nouns and adjectives in
order to form new nouns which refer to beliefs and behaviour based on the
thing reffered to or described by the original noun or adjective, e.g.
absenteeism, barbarism, capitalism, Catholicism, cynicism, modernism,
realism, skepticism, terrorism; in other nouns it refers to a form of
discrimination based on the thing described by the original noun: racism,
sexism, and 2. combines with some verbs ending in –ize or –ise; nouns
formed in this way refer to the process described by the verb, or to an
instance of that process, e.g. baptism, criticism, hypnotism, magnetism.
 -ist A noun-forming suffix, corresponding to verbs ending in –ize or nouns
ending in –ism, denoting : 1. a person whose behaviour is based on a set of
beliefs, e.g. feminist, atheist, fascist, optimist; other nouns containing the
suffix refer to someone whose beliefs and behaviour are based on the thing
described by the original noun or adjective: communist, extremist, idealist,
impressionist, realist, terrorist 2. a peson whose work or study implies the
thing described by the original noun, e.g. artist, cartoonist, dentist, dramatist,
economist, novelist, therapist; the suffix also combines with nouns ending in
‘-logy’, as in archeologist, biologist, ecologist 3. a person who plays an
instrument: bassist, cellist, pianist, violinist.
 -let Nouns containing this suffix denote things that are smaller than
whatever the noun refers to, e.g. booklet, droplet, eaglet, piglet, rivulet,
starlet; the suffix also occurs in nouns that refer to jewellery: bracelet,
armlet, and wrislet.
 -ty A noun-forming suffix meaning : “quality of”, “condition of”, e.g.
novelty, safety.
 -y A noun-forming meaning:”quality”, “condition”: jealousy, victory,
glory; it also means “ action”, e.g. inquiry, entreaty.

Noun suffixes from Latin and Greek

We have included here suffixes that might also have appeared in the preceding list,
since they may be regarded as French as well as Latin.
 -al Nouns containing this suffix refer to the action described by the word
of origin, e.g. betrayal, burial, denial, dismissal, portrayal, renewal.
 -an The suffix combines with nouns of places to describe someone or
something coming from that place: (a final ‘a’ is replaced by ‘-an’) African,
American; (a final ‘y’ is replaced by ‘-ian’; when the place name ends in a
consonant, ‘-ian’ is added to the end) Italian, Iranian; note some exception:
Belgian, Norwegian, Moroccan.
 -ana
A noun-forming suffix meaning: “sayings”, “writings”, or “facts” of, e.g.
Americana, Churchilliana.
 -ar A noun-forming suffix denoting “agency”: bursar, vicar; -ar is
equivalent to –er.
 -arian
Nouns containing this suffix show that somebody or something is associated
with a particular thing ( age, social belief, occupation, sect), e.g. agrarian,
humanitarian, librarian, totalitarian, octogenarian.
 -arch A noun-forming suffix meaning: “ruler”, e.g. matriarch, monarch.
 -ate This suffix denotes: 1. an office, function, agent, official: episcopate,
potentate, directorate 2. a person or thing that is the object of (an action):
legate, mandate 3. (chemistry) a salt made from ( an acid): acetate, nitrate.
 -cide A suffix meaning ‘killer’, ‘killing’; it occurs in nouns which have one
of these words as part of their meaning: fratricide, genocide, homicide,
insecticide, pesticide, suicide.
 -cy Nouns containing this suffix refer to: 1. quality, condition, state, e.g.
accuracy, delicacy, diplomacy, efficiency, fluency, intimacy, pregnancy,
privacy, redundancy 2. position, rank, or office of, e.g. advocacy, candidacy,
presidency, regency.
 -escence This suffix corresponds to the adjective suffix –scent, e.g.
obsolescence.
 -gon This form means: “a figure having a specified number of angles”,
e.g. hexagon, pentagon, decagon, octagon.
 -gram This is combining form occurs in nouns that refer to: 1. something
that is written or drawn, e.g. anagram, diagram, hologram, pictogram,
telegram 2. weights, e.g. kilogram, milligram.
 -graph This form occurs in nouns that have “writing”, “drawing”, or
“record” as part of their meaning, e.g. autograph, monograph, paragraph,
photograph, telegraph.
 -ic A noun-forming suffix meaning: 1. a person or thing affected by,
showing, e.g. paraplegic, hysteric, hypnotic 2.adhering to, e.g. Gnostic, and
3.belonging to, e.g. cynic, Philippic.
 -ics Nouns containing this suffix refer to a subject or an area of study or
activity: politics, physics, mathematics, linguistics, economics, athletics,
aeronautics, and acoustics.
 -ina A suffix used to form feminine names, titles, occupational
designations, e.g. Christina, czarina, ballerina.
 -ion Nouns formed with this suffix refer to a state or process, or to an
instance of that process, e.g. action, collection, conclusion, connection,
creation, education, examination, imagination, operation, production,
realization, situation; note the variation of the spelling of –ion, the most
common ones being –ation, -ition, -tion, -sion.
 -ite A noun-forming suffix meaning: 1. a native, inhabitant, citizen of:
Brooklynite 2. offspring of: Israelite 3. a follower or supporter of:
Thatcherite 4.a product ( esp. a commercially manufactured one): dynamite,
vulcanite 5.a salt or ester of an acid: nitrite, sulfite 6. a rock or mineral:
anthracite.
 -ition. See –ion
 -itis This suffix occurs in nouns that refer to an illness, e.g. appendicitis,
bronchitis, hepatitis; it also occurs in nonce words (meaning “obsession” or
“preoccupation” with the thing denoted by the original noun), e.g. golfitis,
weddingitis.
 -ity A suffix meaning: “state”, “condition”, “character”, e.g. absurdity,
complexity, creativity, diversity, equality, formality, generosity, immunity,
originality, security, superiority.
 -logue The suffix occurs in wors that have “speaking” or “discussion” as
part of their meaning, e.g. dialogue, Decalogue, epilogue, monologue,
prologue.
 -mania This combining form occurs in nouns which refer to a (specified)
type of mental disorder characterized by an abnormal preoccupation,
compulsion, e.g. kleptomania, megalomania, egomania.
 -ment Nouns containing this suffix refer to the process of making or doing
something, or to the result of this process: abandonment, achievement,
amusement, argument, assignement, management, development, movement,
improvement, replacement, requirement, and retirement.
 -meter Nouns containing this form refer to devices for measuring:
barometer, chronometer, hydrometer, and pedometer.
 -mony A noun-forming suffix meaning: ‘a resulting thing’, ‘condition’, or
‘state’: patrimony, matrimony.
 -ology A combining form meaning: “area of study” or “system”, e.g.
astrology, ecology, mythology, neurology, sociology, psychology and
technology.
 -or Nouns containing this suffix refer to people who do the action
described by the original verb, e.g. actor, advisor, collector, commentator,
conspirator, creator, director, editor, governor, inventor, invigilator, narrator,
prosecutor, and supervisor; in other nouns it refers to things rather than
persons: elevator, calculator, compressor, escalator, reactor and refrigerator.
 -ory A noun-forming suffix meaning: ‘place’ or ‘thing’ for: laboratory,
lavatory
 -osis Nouns containing the suffix refer to a process or state, e.g. hypnosis,
metamorphosis, osmosis, prognosis; other nouns refer to an illness or
disease: neurosis, tuberculosis, sclerosis.
 -phile A combining form meaning: “loving”, “favourably disposed to”, e.g.
Anglophile, Francophile, bibliophile.
 -phobia A combining form meaning: “fear”, “dread”, “hatred”, e.g.
agoraphobia, claustrophobia, hydrophobia, xenophobia.
 -phone This form occurs in words that refer to instruments that produce,
amplify, or transmit sound, e.g. gramophone, microphone, saxophone,
telephone, and xylophone.
 --tion. See –ion
 -trix This form of some feminine nouns of agent, corresponds to –or, e.g.
aviatrix, executrix.
 -tude A noun-forming suffix corresponding to –ness, e.g. certitude,
attitude, gratitude.
 --ure The suffix combines with verbs to form nouns that refer to the action
or state described by the verb, e.g. closure, departure, exposure, failure,
pleasure, procedure, sculpture.

I.1.2. ADJECTIVE FORMING SUFFIXES

Adjectives suffixes from Anglo-Saxon

 -ed This suffix combines with verbs to form past participles which are used
as adjectives, e.g. cooked (meat), excited (boy), retired (teacher); it also
combines with nouns to form adjectives which describe someone or
something as having a particular feature, e.g. bearded (man); some past
participles ending in –ed combine with other words to form compound
adjectives, e.g. blue-eyed (boy).
 -en Adjectives containing this suffix describe something that is made from
or resembles the substance referred to by the original noun: golden, silken,
wooden, and woolen.
 -er The suffix combines with other adjectives to form comparative
adjectives, e.g. older, softer, younger, narrower, tinier.
 -est The suffix combines with other adjectives to form superlative
adjectives, e.g. tallest, fattest, coldest, thickest, youngest, happiest, and
simplest.
 -fold Adjectives containing the suffix denote something as having a
specified number of parts , e.g. twofold, threefold.
 -ful Adjectives formed with this suffix denote someone or something as
having much of the characteristic or quality mentioned: boastful, cheerful,
delightful, graceful, harmful, powerful, shameful, thankful, and youthful.
 -ing The suffix combines with the base form of the verb to form the present
participle; when the present participles of transitive verbs are used as
adjectives, they denote the effect something has on someone’s behaviour or
feelings, e.g. amusing (novel), disgusting (behaviour); when the present
participles of intransitive verbs are used as adjectives, they denote a
continuing process or state: persisting (calamities).
 -ish The suffix occurs in words which refer to the people, language or
features of a region, e.g. British, Finnish, Scottish, Turkish; adjectives
containing this suffix also describe something as not having much of the
characteristics denoted by the original adjective, e.g. longish, backish,
darkish, reddish, smallish, warmish, youngish; other combinations describe
one person or thing as being like another: boyish, foolish, childish.
 -less A suffix meaning: “without”, “lacking”: airless, effortless, endless,
harmless, helpless, motherless, restless, useless, speechless; adjectives
containing the suffix also refer to someone or something exceeding a
category, e.g. timeless, priceless, numberless, ageless.
 -like In combinations with nouns the suffix forms adjectives which
describe things that are similar to whatever the nouns refer to, e.g. childlike,
clock-like, desert-like, dog-like, dreamlike, honey-like.
 -ly An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “like”, “characteristic of”,
“typical of”, or “suitable for”: brotherly, deadly, friendly, kindly, lively,
lonely, lively, motherly, sisterly, womanly, worldly.
 -most A suffix used in forming superlatives: easternmost, hindmost,
lowermost, nethermost, innermost, outermost, uppermost.
 -some It combines with nouns and verbs to form new adjectives that refer to
characteristics of people and things, e.g. bothersome, fearsome, flavoursome,
tiresome, quarrelsome.
 -ward Adjectives containing –ward refer to direction or course (homeward
journey, eastward ride); note that words formed with –wards are mainly used
as adverbs.
 -worthy Adjectives that contain this combinig form describe people or
things that deserve or merit whatever the original word refers to, e.g.
newsworthy, noteworthy, praiseworthy, and trustworthy.
 -y An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “having”, “full of”, “characterized
by”, “inclined, tending to”, “suggestive of, somewhat like”, e.g. bloody,
cloudy, dirty, dusty, foggy, hairy, rainy, smoky, snowy, sunny, thirsty.

Adjective suffixes from French, Latin, Greek

 -able An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “able to, capable of”, “worthy


of”, “having qualities of”, “tending to, inclined”, e.g.: acceptable, admirable,
desirable, enjoyable, imaginable, preferable, remarkable, valuable,
fashionable, irritable
 -ac An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “characteristic of” (elegiac,
demoniac), “of, relating to” (cardiac), “affected by or having” (maniac);
adjectives formed in this way are sometimes used as nouns.
 -aceous A suffix meaning: “of the nature of, like”, “belonging to”,
“characterized by”, e.g.: herbaceous, foliaceous.
 -al A suffix meaning: “related to, connected with”, e.g. environmental,
experimental, classical, conventional, historical, fanatical, parental, logical,
educational, oriental, sensational, vocational.
 -an An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “belonging to, related to”, e.g.
diocesan, American.
 -ant A suffix meaning: “that shows, has or does”, e.g.: defiant, arrogant,
distant, brilliant, elegant, ignorant, significant, vacant.
 -ar Adjectives containing this suffix refer to someone or something that is
“related to, like” or “of the nature of”, e.g. regular, polar, and singular.
 -ary Adjectives containing this suffix describe someone or something that is
related to or is defined by features of the things referred to by the original
word: complementary, customary, fragmentary, imaginary, legendary,
momentary, rudimentary, supplementary.
 -ate An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “of or characteristic of”
(collegiate, roseate), “having or filled with” (proportionate, passionate),
(biol.) “having, marked by” (spatulate, caudate).
 -centric It occurs in adjectives that describes something as being centred on
the thing referred to by the original word, e.g. egocentric, heliocentric, and
anthropocentric.
 -ent An adjective- forming suffix meaning: “that has”, “shows”, or “does”,
e.g. persistent, insistent, dependent, fluent, and different.
 -escent An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “starting to be”, “being”, or
“becoming” (convalescent, obsolescent), “giving off or reflecting light”
(phosphorescent).
 -ese A suffix meaning: “of a country or place” (Burmese, Portuguese), “in
the language or dialect of” (Cantonese).
 -esque Adjectives containing this suffix refer to someone or something
“connected with”, “having the quality or style of”, e.g. Romanesque,
Dantesque.
 -fic An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “making”, “creating”, e.g.
scientific, terrific.
 -ian It combines with the names of famous people to form words that
describe someone or something as being related to the work of the person
mentioned, e.g. Dickensian, Edwardian, Freudian, Wordswothian.
 -ible It combines with verbs to form adjectives that describe something that
is related to the thing referred to by the original verb, e.g. accessible,
comprehensible, deductible, discernible,permissible, and resistible.
 -ic Adjectives containing this suffix refer to something as “having the
nature of”, “having to do with”, “resembling, involving, or being related to”
the thing denoted by the original noun: alcoholic, angelic, democratic, heroic,
ironic, linguistic, patriotic, rhythmic, symbolic, photographic.
 -ical Adjectives formed with –ical sometimes have special or differentiated
meanings beyond those of the corresponding –ic forms, e.g. economical,
historical.
 -ile A suffix meaning: “of, having to do with”, “like”, “suitable for”, e.g.
docile, juvenile, servile; sometimes –il: civil, fossil.
 -ine A suffix meaning:”having the nature of”, “like”, e.g. canine, divine,
Florentine.
 -ive A suffix meaning: “tending to”, ”given to”, e.g. active, aggressive,
attractive, creative, defensive, extensive, imaginative, productive.
 -ory An adjective-forming suffix meaning: “of, having the nature of”, e.g.:
contradictory, hortatory, introductory, explanatory.
 -ose A suffix meaning: “full of”, “having the qualities of”, e.g.: bellicose,
adipose, verbose.
 -ous An adjective-forming suffix meaning:”full of”, “characterized by”, e.g.:
dangerous, hazardous, famous, and poisonous.
 -phobic A combining form which occurs in adjectives that have “fear”,
“hatred”, “dread”, as part of their meaning, e.g. claustrophobic, xenophobic.
 -ulous A suffix meaning : “tending to”, “full of”, “characterized by”, e.g.:
populous, tremulous.

I.1.3. VERB FORMING SUFFIXES

 -en Verbs containing this suffix describe the process of causing something
to have a particular quality. E.g. blacken, fatten, harden, lighten, sharpen,
shorten, weaken.
 -le A suffix used with frequentative force, e.g. babble, prattle.

Suffixes of Latin origin

 -ate A verb-forming suffix meaning: “to cause to become”, “to become”,


( invalidate, sublimate, evaporate, maturate), “to produce” (ulcerate,
salivate), “to provide or treat with” (refrigerate, vaccinate), “to form by
means of” (delineate, triangulate), “to arrange for” (orchestrate), “to
combine, infuse, or treat with” (chlorinate, oxygenate).
 -fy A suffix meaning: “to make”, “cause to be”, or “become” (liquefy), “to
cause to have”, “feel”, “imbue with” (glorify), “to become” (putrefy).
 -ish A suffix usually found in verbs of French origin, e.g. finish, punish.
 -ize A verb-forming suffix meaning: “ to cause to be”, “become”,
“resemble” (democratize, legalize, industrialize, standardize), “to become
like, or change into” (crystallize), “to subject to, treat with, or combine with”
(oxidize, galvanize), “to engage in”, “act in a specified way” (theorize,
criticize, moralize, terrorize, victimize); -ise is often used as an alternative
spelling of –ize in British English.

I.1.4. ADVERB FORMING SUFFIXES

 -ling An adverb-forming suffix meaning: “direction”, “extent”, or


“condition”, e.g. darkling.
 -ly A suffix meaning: “in a specified manner”, “to a specified extent or
direction”, “in or at a specified time or place” (badly, clearly, perfectly,
naturally, outwardly, hourly), “in the specified order of sequence” (secondly,
firstly).
 -meal An adverb-forming suffix meaning: “amount done or used at one
time”; it is obsolete except in inchmeal, piecemiel.
 -ward A suffix meaning: “in a specified direction or course”, e.g.:
eastward, inward; note that words containing –ward can usually be used as
either adverbs or adjectives; words that are formed with –wards are mainly
used as adverbs.
 -wise An adverb-forming suffix meaning: “in a particular direction,
position, or manner” (sidewise, anywise, sailor-wise, ostrich-wise), “with
regard to” (vote-wise, time-wise, comfort-wise, status-wise).

I.1.5. PREFIXES

Prefixes from Anglo-Saxon


 a- A prefix meaning: “in, into, at, to” (aboard, ashore); “in the act or state
of” (asleep).
 a- A prefix meaning: “up”, “out”, e.g. awake, arise.
 a- A prefix meaning: “off”, “of”, e.g. akin.
 be- The prefix displays various uses and meanings; prefixed to verbs it is
used: 1. with the general meaning of “around” (beset, besprinkle) 2. as an
intensifier, with the general meanings of “completely, excessively” (bedeck,
besmear) 3. as a privative, with the meaning of “away” (bereave, betake) 4.
as a transitive prefix, with the general meaning of “about” (bethink, bemoan);
prefixed to nouns and adjectives it is used to form verbs meaning: “make”,
“furnish with”, “cover with”, “treat as” (besot, befriend, becloud); prefixed to
past participles in –ed used as adjectives, with the general senses of “covered
with”, “furnished with” (bewhiskered).
 by- A prefix meaning: “close by” (by-stander), “side” (by-street, by-way),
“secondary”, “on the side”, “incidental to the main” (by-product).
 down- It combines with nouns and verbs to form words which denote
someone or something moving towards, or being situated in a lower position
or place, e.g. downhill, downstage, downstairs, downstream, downwards; it
also forms new nouns and verbs which show that something has become
worse than it was, e.g. downfall, downgrade, downplay, downturn.
 for- A prefix meaning: “away, apart, off” (forbid, forget, forgo); the original
senses are now largely unnoted; it also means “much”, “intensely” (forlorn,
forworn).
 fore- Nouns containing the prefix refer to the front part of something, e.g.
forearm, forehead, foreleg, forelimb; in other combinations (nouns,
adjectives, verbs) it refers to things which “come before in time, place, order,
or rank”, e.g. forefathers, forerunner, foresee, foreword, foretell, forethought.
 mis- The prefix forms new nouns and verbs that refer to something that is
done wrongly or badly, e.g. misbehave, misbehaviour, misdirect, misinform,
misinformation, misplace, mistrust, misunderstand.
 off- It occurs in words which denote places, things, or events which do not
happen in a particular place, e.g. off-Broadway, off-campus, off-road, off-
stage, offshore, off-track (note that these words are written with a hyphen
with the exceprion of offshore); it also occurs in words which express the
idea that whatever is referred to by the noun is not the case, e.g. off-balance,
off-centre, off-season.
 on- It combines with nouns which refer to a place to form new words which
refer to the place where something exists or happens, e.g. on-field, on-screen,
onshore, on-stage ( these words are written with a hyphen with the exception
of onshore; words formed with –on are now and then used as adverbs).
 out- combining form meaning: “situated at or coming from a point away”,
“outside” (outbuilding, outpatient), “going away or forth”, “outward”
(outbound, outcast), “better”, “more than” (outrun, outdo, outsell).
 over- A combining form meaning: ”outer”, “upper”, “superior”, “eminent”
(overbearing, overhead), “passing across or beyond “ (overshoot, overpass,
overrun), “denoting a movement downward from above” (overflow),
“excessive”, “beyond the normal” (overrate, oversleep, oversell).
 un- The prefix forms adjectives, adverbs, and nouns which denote things are
opposite of whatever the original nouns, adjectives, or adverbs refer to, e.g.
unable, unfair, unbelievable, unsafe, unkind, unpredictable, unconscious,
unpleasant, untidy, unacceptability, uncertainty, unrealistically,
unsuccessfully; it also combines with participles to form adjectives which
express the idea that something has not happened or is not true, e.g.:
unaltered, unchanging, unfinished, unread, unstamped, untested, unuttered,
unwritten (adjectives formed in this way can be used to form –ly adjectives);
verbs formed with this prefix express the idea that the process or state
referred to by the original verb is reversed, e.g uncover, undo, undress,
unlock, unplug, unseal, untie.
 under- A prefix meaning: “insufficient, too little, below normal standard”
(underpay, undersize, underdeveloped, underestimate, underpriced,
understatement, underweight), “beneath or below” (underarm, underbelly,
underfloor, underfoot, underline, underlit, underpass, undersigned,
underwear), “in a inferior or subordinate position or rank” (undergraduate,
under-secretary, undersheriff); it also combines with numbers to form nouns
and adjectives which refer to people who are younger than the age
mentioned: under-fives, under-twenty-ones (used in the plural form).
 up- A combining form meaning: “situated in a higher or more remote place
or position” (upstage, upstream, uphill, upstairs, upwards), “increase or
improvement” (update, upgrade, uprate, upscale), “disturbance, trouble,
confusion” (upended, uprising, uproar, uproot, upset).
 well- Adjectives formed with well- are used to describe people or things that
have features which are acceptable or valuable, e.g. well-balanced, well-bred,
well-chosen, well-cut, well-dressed, well-furnished, well-organized, well-
timed, well-prepared; this combining form can be used to show that the
qualities the adjectives describe are strong or exceptional, e.g. well-attended,
well-deserved, well-earned, well-known, well-respected, well-hidden; it can
also express the idea of “friendliness or sympathy”, e.g.well-intentioned,
well-meaning, well-meant, well-received, well-regarded, well-wisher.
 with- a combining form meaning: “away”, “back” (withdraw), “against”,
“from” (withhold).

Prefixes from Latin

 ab- prefix meaning: “away”, “from”, “off”, “down” (abdicate); shortened to


a- before m, p, v.
 abs- same as ab-; used before t or c (abstract).
 ad- A prefix meaning: “motion toward “, “addition to”, “nearness to” (admit,
adjoin); assimilated in words of Latin origin to ac-, af-, ag-, al-, an-, ar-, as-,
at-.
 ac- same as ad-; used before c or q (accept).
 af- same as ad-; used before f (affix).
 ag- same as ad-; used before g (aggregate).
 al- same as ad-; used before l (allude).
 an- same as ad-; used before n (annex).
 ap- same as ad-; used before p (applaud).
 ar- same as ad-; used before r (arrogant).
 as- same as ad-: used before s (assist).
 at- same as ad-; used before t (attention).
 ambi- a combining form meaning: “both”, e.g. ambidextrous.
 ante- This prefix occurs in words which have “before”, “prior to”, “in front of”
as part of their meaning, e.g. antecedent, antechamber, antedate, anteroom.
 bi- A prefix which occurs in words that have “two” as part of their meaning,
e.g. bicarbonate, bicentenary, bicycle, bigamy, bilingual, binary, binoculars,
biplane, bi-annual.
 circum- A prefix meaning: “around, about, surrounding”: circumnavigate,
circumlocution, circumflex, circumscribe, circumspect, circumstantial.
 cis- A prefix that occurs in words that have “on this side” as part of their
meaning: cisalpine, cisatlantic.
 com-A prefix meaning: “with or together”, e.g. combine; also used as an
intensifier, e.g. command; assimilated to col-, con-, cor-, co-.
 co- a prefix shortened from com-, meaning: “together with” (cooperation),
“joint” (co-owner), “equally” (coextensive), “complement of” (cosine).
 col- same as com-; used before l (colleague, collect, collocation, collaborate).
 con- same as com-; used before c, d, f, g, j, n, q, s, t, v (concur, confederation,
conjunction, connect, consensus, contact, converge).
 cor- same as com-; used before r (corrupt).
 contra-the prefix occurs in words that have “against, opposite, opposed to” as
part of their meaning, e.g. contraception, contradict, contradiction,
contraindication, contrary, contravene.
 counter- Words containing – counter refer to actions or activities that oppose
another action or activity, e.g. counterargument, counterattack, counter-
measure, counter-reform, counter-strategy.
 de- Verbs containing the prefix describe an action which reverses the action
described by the original verb, e.g. deactivate, decentralize, decontaminate,
dehydrate, demobilize; it also means: “undo” (defrost, decode, de-ice, de-mist),
“down” (decline, depress, decrease).
 dis- The prefix is used to form: 1.verbs meaning: “cause to be the opposite of,
or do the opposite of”, “cease”, “refuse to” (disagree, disappear, discontinue,
disengage, disinfect, dislike, dismount), “away”, “apart” (dismiss, disperse),
“deprive of”, “expel from” (disbar) 2.adjectives meaning: “not, -un”, “the
opposite of” (dishonest, disinterested) 3.nouns meaning: “opposite of”
(disadvantage, disrespect, disobedience).
 en- A prefix meaning: “ to put or get into or on” (enthrone, entrain), “to cover
or wrap with” (enrobe), “ to make, make into or like, cause to be” (endanger,
enfeeble), “in or into” (enclose); also used as an intensifier (encourage).
 ex- A prefix meaning: “former, previous” (ex-convict, ex-friend, ex-prisoner,
ex-wife, ex-minister), “forth, from, out” (exempt, expel, excoriate), “beyond”
(excess), “away from, out of” (expatriate, expropriate).
 extra- The prefix occurs in words that have “outside’, “outside the scope or
region of”, “beyond”, “besides” as part of their meaning: extra-fine, extra-
large, extra-soft, extra-strong, extra-European, extra-mural, extra-terrestrial.
 in- A prefix meaning: “in, into, within, on, toward” (inbreed, infer, induct);
also used as an intensifier in some words of Latin origin, e.g. instigate and
assimilated to il before l (illuminate), ir- before r- (irrigate), im- before m, b, p
(immigrate, imbibe, impeach).
 in- A prefix meaning: “no, not, without” (insignificant); assimilated to il-
before l (illiterate), ir- before r (irresponsible), im- before m, p, b (immaterial,
impossible, imbecile).
 il- same as in-; used before l.
 im- same as in-; used before m, p, b.
 ir- same as in-; used before r.
 inter-It occurs in words which have “between” or “together, mutual,
reciprocal, mutually” as part of their meaning, e.g. intercontinental, inter-city,
inter-language, interact, inter-racial, interchange, interdependence,
intermingled.
 non- Words containing this prefix denote persons or things that do not have the
characteristics or qualities referred to, e.g. non-academic, non-verbal, non-
aggressive, non-classical, no-essential, non-profit, non-smoker, non-violent.
 ob- A prefix meaning: “to, toward, before” (object), “opposed to, against”
(obnoxious), “upon, over” (obfuscate), “completely” (obsolete), “oppositely”
(objurgate); in words of Latin origin, ob- assimilates to oc- before c (occur), of-
before f (offer), and op- before p (oppress); this prefix becomes o- before m
(omit).
 oc- same as ob-; used before c (occur).
 of- same as ob-; used before f (offer).
 op- same as ob-; used before p (oppose).
 para-Words containing this combining form refer to activities that are
connected with parachutes, or to the people who use them, e.g. parachute,
paragliding, paratrooper; it also means ‘protection against’ (parasol).
 per- A prefix meaning: ”through”, “throughout”, “away”, e.g. perceive,
percolate; “completely, very”, e.g. persuade.
 post- A prefix meaning: “after in time, later than, following” (post-election,
post-modernism, post-structuralism, postgraduate, postglacial).
 pre- A prefix meaning: “before in time, earlier than, prior to” (presuppose,
predetermine, preawar), “before in place”, “in front of”, “anterior to”
(preaxial).
 preter- A prefix meaning: “past, beyond, outside the bounds of” (preterhuman,
preternatural).
 pro- The prefix occurs in words that describe someone or something that
strongly supports a person, system, idea, or doctrine, e.g. pro-authority, pro-
democracy, pro-feminism, pro-West, pro-union.
 re- A prefix meaning: “back” (repay, restore), “again, anew, over again”
(reappear, reconsider, recreate, regeneration, restart, reunite, rewrite).
 retro- This combining form occurs in words which have “back, backwards” as
part of their meaning, e.g. retroactive, retrospective.
 semi- A prefix meaning: “half” (semi-annual, semicircle, semi-detached, semi-
tone), “partly, not fully, imperfectly” (semi-conscious, semi-divine, semi-
human, semi-literate, semi-organic, semi-skilled).
 sub- A prefix meaning: “beneath, under, below” (sub-aquatic, submarine, sub-
oceanic, subsoil, subway), “secondary or less important, lower in rank,
position” (sub-agent, sub-class, sub-continent, subculture, sub-editor,
substructure, sub-total, subtype), “to a lesser degree than, inferior, smaller, or
less important than” (sub-fertile, subhuman, subnormal, subsonic, subzero),
“exert power over, control” (subdue, subject, subjugation, submit); in words of
Latin origin , sub- is assimilated to suc- before c, suf- before f, sug- before g,
sum- before m, sup- before p, and sur- before r; sub- often changes to sus-
before c, p, and t.
 suc- same as sub-; used before c (succeed).
 suf- same as sub-; used before f (suffer).
 sug- same as sub-; used before g (suggest).
 sum- same as sub-; used before m (summon).
 sur- same as sub-; used before r (surrender).
 sur- A prefix meaning: “over, upon, above, beyond”, e.g. surplus, surreal,
surface.
 subter- A prefix meaning: “below”, “less than”, “secretly”, e.g. subterfuge,
subterranean.
 super- A prefix meaning meaning: “greater in quality, amount, or degree than”
(superabundant, super-active, super-efficient, superheated, super-friendly,
super-intelligent, super-modern, super-sensitive), “higher in rank or position
than, superior to”(super-brain, super-computer, superman, super-species,
superstore, supermarket), “beyond” (superhuman, supernatural, supersonic).
 supra- A prefix meaning: “over, above, beyond”, e.g. suprarenal, supraliminal.
 trans- A prefix meaning: “on the other side of, to the other side of, over,
across, through” (transatlantic, trans-continental, trans-Siberian), “so as to
change thoroughly” (transliteration, transcribe, transvestite), “above and
beyond” (trans-sonic).
 tri- This form occurs in words which have “three” as part of their meaning, e.g.
triangle, tricycle, trilogy, triplet.
 uni-A combining form meaning: “having or consisting of one only”, e.g.
uniform, union, unique, unity, unilateral.
 vice-A prefix meaning: “one who acts in the place of”, “subordinate”,
“deputy”, e.g. vice-admiral, vice-governor, vice-premier, vice-president.

Prefixes from Greek


 a- It occurs in words that have “not”, “without”, or “opposite” as part of their
meaning, e.g. amoral, apolitical, aseptic, atypical.
 aero-This combining form occurs in words which have “air” or “air travel” as
part of their meaning, e.g. aerodrome, aero-engines, aeronautics, aero-plane,
aerospace.
 amphi- A prefix meaning: “on both side or on both ends” (amphistylar,
amphisbaena), “around” (amphitheatre), “of both kinds” (amphibious).
 ana-A prefix meaning:”up, upward” (anabolism), “back, backward” (anagram,
anaclastic), “against” (anachronism), “similar, according to” (analogy), “again”
(anamnesis).
 anti-This prefix occurs in words that describe someone or something that is
opposed to the thing referred to by the original noun or adjective, e.g. anti-
abortion, anti-colonial, anti-democratic, anti-Marxist, anti-war; it also occurs in
words which denote one thing as being meant to prevent or destroy another,
e.g. anti-inflation, anti-fraud, anti-bacterial, anti-aircraft, anti-tank and in words
which have “against’ as part of their meaning: antithesis.
 arch-A prefix meaning: “main, chief, principal”; used in forming titles of rank,
e.g. archbishop, archdeacon, archduchess.
 dia- The prefix occurs in words that have “through”, “across”, or “between” as
part of their meaning: diagonal, dialectic, dialogue, diameter, and diaphragm.
 eu- A prefix meaning: “good, well”, e.g. eulogy, euphony, euphemism.
 exo-A prefix meaning: “outside, outer, outer part”, e.g. exogamy.
 hemi- a prefix meaning: “half”, e.g.hemisphere, hemicycle.
 hemo- It occurs in words that have “blood” as part of their meaning:
hemoglobin, hemocyte.
 hetero- It occurs in words having “other”, “another”, or “different” as part of
their meaning, e.g. heterodox, heterogeneity, heterosexual.
 neo- A combining form meaning: “new, recent, latest” (neolithic), “in a new,
different, or modified way” (neo-classical, neo-colonialism, neo-
expressionism, neo-Gothic, neo-Nazism).
 para-A prefix meaning: “by the side of”, “beside”, “by”, “past”, “beyond”,
“aside from”, e.g. paragraph, parapsychology, paradigm.
 pro- a prefix meaning:” before in place or time”, e.g. proboscis, prolepsis,
protasis.
 proto- A combining form meaning: “first in time, original”, e.g. protoplast,
proto-fascist, prototype, “first in importance”, “chief, principal” (protagonist).
 pseudo- A combining form meaning: “fictitious”, “not corresponding to the
reality”, “illusory”, e.g. pseudonym, pseudo-fact, pseudo-religious, pseudo-
science.
 syn- A prefix meaning: “with”, “together with”, “at the same time”, “by means
of”, e.g. synagogue, synapse, synonym, syncope, synchronize; syn- is
assimilated to syl- before l; sym- before m, p, b.
 syl- same as syn-; used before l (syllogism).
 sym- same as syn-; used before m, p, and b (symbol, sympathy, symmetry).