noun suf·fix \ ˈsə-fiks \
|Updated on: 27 Jul 2018

Definition of suffix

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


play \ˈsə-fik-səl, (ˌ)sə-ˈfik-səl\ adjective

Examples of suffix in a Sentence

  1. The adjective “smokeless” is formed by adding the suffix “-less” to the noun “smoke.”

  2. The adverb “sadly” is formed by adding the suffix “-ly” to the adjective “sad.”

Recent Examples of suffix from the Web

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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.

Origin and Etymology of suffix

New Latin suffixum, from Latin, neuter of suffixus, past participle of suffigere to fasten underneath, from sub- + figere to fasten — more at fix

Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms



verb suf·fix \ ˈsə-fiks , (ˌ)sə-ˈfiks \

Definition of suffix

suffixed; suffixing; suffixes
: to attach as a suffix


play \ˌsə-fik-ˈsā-shən\ noun

First Known Use of suffix


in the meaning defined above

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Other Grammar and Linguistics Terms

SUFFIX Defined for English Language Learners


Definition of suffix for English Language Learners

  • : 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

SUFFIX Defined for Kids


noun suf·fix \ ˈsə-ˌfiks \

Definition of suffix for Students

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

Seen and Heard

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having an air of easy unconcern

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