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

Other Words from suffix


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


suffixation \ ˌsə-​fik-​ˈsā-​shən How to pronounce suffix (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 digital obsession with cores—used as a suffix that basically denotes a kind of style—began back in 2013, when the term normcore was first coined by trend forecasters K-Hole as a philosophy of fashion. Sarah Spellings, Vogue, 27 July 2022 Assuming the name is right, companies don’t add the suffix Pro carelessly. David Phelan, Forbes, 6 May 2022 The suffix -vik, meaning bay, is a common feature in place names throughout the Nordic region. David Nikel, Forbes, 1 May 2022 Executable files for both the Windows and macOS versions had the suffix .ts. Dan Goodin, Ars Technica, 15 Jan. 2022 The suffix -core comes from hard core, which at first (1841) referred to broken bricks or stones that formed the hard substratum of roads and foundations. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 7 Feb. 2022 Painting a full picture of Anderson—from her public perception to her intimate, whirlwind romance with Lee Bass—was intrinsic to making Pam & Tommy more than a suffix to its sleazy predecessors. Emma Fraser, ELLE, 6 Feb. 2022 The artist, whose real name is Tiago Uriel Pacheco, uses the suffix PZK in honor of his freestyle crew in Argentina, but his music defies categorization, often shifting from R&B and even pop to rap. Leila Cobo, Billboard, 7 Jan. 2022 Will scientists loop back to the beginning and reuse the letters, perhaps with a numerical suffix? Mary Norris, The New Yorker, 26 Dec. 2021 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Suffix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for suffix


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

More from Merriam-Webster on suffix

Nglish: Translation of suffix for Spanish Speakers

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


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