suf·​fix | \ ˈsə-fiks How to pronounce suffix (audio) \

Definition of suffix

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: an affix occurring at the end of a word, base, or phrase — compare prefix


suf·​fix | \ ˈsə-fiks How to pronounce suffix (audio) , (ˌ)sə-ˈfiks \
suffixed; suffixing; suffixes

Definition of suffix (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to attach as a suffix

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Other Words from suffix


suffixal \ ˈsə-​fik-​səl How to pronounce suffixal (audio) , (ˌ)sə-​ˈfik-​səl \ adjective


suffixation \ ˌsə-​fik-​ˈsā-​shən How to pronounce suffixation (audio) \ noun

What are prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms?


Prefixes and suffixes are both kinds of affixes. That is, they are word parts that attach to the beginning or end of a word or word base (a word stripped down to its simplest form) to produce a related word or an inflectional form of a word. Examples are in- in informal and both re- and -ing in reporting.

A third kind of affix is called an infix. Infixes are inserted into a word or word base. English uses very few infixes, but a couple examples are the plural-making s in words like cupsful and passersby, and various swear words, like damn in informal constructions like guaran-damn-tee.

A combining form is a form of a word that only appears as part of another word. There are a number of kinds of combining forms, each classified by what kind of word results when the form is used. For example, -wise in clockwise is an adverb combining form; -like in birdlike is an adjective combining form; -graph in photograph is a noun combining form; and -lyze in electrolyze is a verb combining form.

Combining forms are similar to affixes but can have a bit more lexical substance to them. Unlike affixes, combining forms are substantial enough to form a word simply by connecting to an affix, such as when the combining form cephal- joins with the suffix -ic to form cephalic. A combining form can also differ from an affix in its being derived from an independent word. For example, para- is a combining form in the word paratrooper because in that word it represents the word parachute. Para- is a prefix, however, in the words paranormal and paramedic. A combining form can also be distinguished historically from an affix by the fact that it is borrowed from another language in which it is descriptively a word or a combining form, such as the French mal giving English the mal- in malfunction.

Examples of suffix in a Sentence

Noun The adjective “smokeless” is formed by adding the suffix “-less” to the noun “smoke.” The adverb “sadly” is formed by adding the suffix “-ly” to the adjective “sad.”
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The dot-org suffix has the distinction of being one of original domains created in the mid-1980s. CBS News, "Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will hike costs," 24 Jan. 2020 Companies with several classes of shares often have multiple ticker symbols, and some tickers have meaningful suffixes attached. Allie Morris, Dallas News, "Motley Fool: The promise of liquid biopsies and making sense of ticker symbols," 23 Feb. 2020 But another sizable portion stems directly from its licensing of its .tv URL suffix, thanks to the recent surge in streaming sites. Alexander Lee, Washington Post, "Tuvalu is a tiny island nation of 11,000 people. It’s cashing in thanks to Twitch.," 23 Dec. 2019 Owners of popular suffixes can collect hundreds of millions of dollars a year in registration fees. CBS News, "Nonprofits worry sale of dot-org universe will hike costs," 24 Jan. 2020 Advocates fear the commercialisation of a traditionally non-profit suffixTHE OFFER would confound anyone who has ever used a web browser. The Economist, "Unexpected domain A proposed sale of rights to .org web addresses sparks a backlash," 23 Jan. 2020 Those with different suffixes, like .co try to come off like legit news sites, but usually aren’t. NBC News, "How to talk to your kids about the coronavirus (and ease their fears)," 7 Feb. 2020 For the past year and a half, crudely drawn internet characters named with the -oomer suffix have been getting odder and more specific. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "The Misogynistic Joke That Became a Goth-Meme Fairy Tale," 3 Feb. 2020 His namesake, contractor Walker Berry Kroeger — neither used their first name nor a suffix — was his uncle. Paula Allen,, "Busy character actor who grew up in San Antonio learned his craft on local stages," 25 Jan. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'suffix.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of suffix


1720, in the meaning defined above


1778, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for suffix


borrowed from New Latin suffīxum, noun derivative from neuter of Latin suffīxus, past participle of suffīgere "to fasten from below, attach to the top of," from suf-, assimilated form of sub- sub- + fīgere "to drive in, insert, fasten" — more at fix entry 1


derivative of suffix entry 1

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Time Traveler for suffix

Time Traveler

The first known use of suffix was in 1720

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Statistics for suffix

Last Updated

17 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Suffix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for suffix


How to pronounce suffix (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of suffix

: a letter or a group of letters that is added to the end of a word to change its meaning or to form a different word


suf·​fix | \ ˈsə-ˌfiks How to pronounce suffix (audio) \

Kids Definition of suffix

: a letter or group of letters that comes at the end of a word and has a meaning of its own

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More from Merriam-Webster on suffix

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with suffix

Spanish Central: Translation of suffix

Nglish: Translation of suffix for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of suffix for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about suffix

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