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


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 second, the Compound Remote Associate Task, asks for words that work as common prefixes or suffixes for unrelated terms. The Economist, "Zapping the brain improves creativity," 14 June 2019 Less demanding aerodynamic targets have allowed the GT to have some cleaner design; its doors don’t have the integral air channels of the S-suffix models, and both front and rear bumpers have more structure and less gap. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, "The 2020 McLaren GT Is a Mid-Engined Supercar Built for Luxurious Grand Touring," 15 May 2019 They are commonly referred to as énarques, a word combining the school’s name with the suffix for a ruler, as in monarchy. Pascal-emmanuel Gobry, WSJ, "The Failure of the French Elite," 22 Feb. 2019 This phone also may come in various color options, sort of like the old iPhone 5C, and may inherit the C suffix to become the iPhone XC. Eric Limer, Popular Mechanics, "What to Expect From Apple's 2018 iPhone Event," 5 Sep. 2018 Female religious scholars have added the feminine Arabic suffix, ah, to a host of once-male posts, including da’yiah (preacher), alimah (Islamic scholar) and muftiyah (legal expert). The Economist, "Saudi women want more sway in religious affairs," 12 July 2018 On that date, new, descriptive suffixes ranging from .deals to .sucks—meant to make search easier—will be available for anyone to buy. Chelsea Peng, Marie Claire, "Taylor Swift Reportedly Bought Domain Name So No One Else Can Have It," 23 Mar. 2015 There are many fans who believe a much simpler explanation for the mass misunderstanding: -stein is a much more common suffix in names than -stain, so people simply remembered the series having the more common spelling by mistake. Noelle Devoe, Seventeen, "This Crazy Conspiracy Theory About "The Berenstein Bears" Will Blow Your Mind," 10 Jan. 2018 In the nineteenth century, Noah Webster favored the -ize suffix while the British shifted to a preference for –ise, perhaps from borrowing a number of French words with that spelling. John E. Mcintyre,, "Our common language, up to a point," 8 Mar. 2018

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


1778, 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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Last Updated

13 Jul 2019

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Time Traveler for suffix

The first known use of suffix was in 1778

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More Definitions for suffix



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

Comments on suffix

What made you want to look up suffix? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to complain fretfully

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