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 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 Adding the Japanese suffix -mi, meaning taste, highlights the specific taste detected by the tongue. Rob Dunn And Monica Sanchez, WSJ, 17 Apr. 2021 Now the pill is experiencing new life as a funny little suffix that makes all interests and proclivities sound more dramatic. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 13 Apr. 2021 Like Elvis, carburetors had long since left the building, and Bosch Motronic fuel injection delivered fuel to the thirsty engine, whose twin red intake plenums paid homage to the model’s TR suffix—short for Testa Rossa (red head). Robert Ross, Robb Report, 5 Apr. 2021 While -core gets a lot of attention for helping define this phalanx of subgenres generated by social media users in recent years, there are plenty of style persuasions that don’t employ the suffix. Emily Ruane,, 11 Mar. 2021 Both are identified with the same G7 suffix, and both include the Intel Iris Xe branding. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, 4 Sep. 2020 The lower-power ‘UP4’ series chips for tablets and thin-and-light PCs (designated in prior generations with the ‘Y’ suffix) includes four processors, ranging from the 1.8GHz dual-core Intel Core i3-1110G4 up to the 1.2GHz quad-core Core i7-1160G7. Mark Hachman, PCWorld, 4 Sep. 2020 As its numerical suffix suggests, the Baby II isn't the first time that Bugatti has created a miniature. Mike Duff, Car and Driver, 1 Sep. 2020 The synonymous suffix -ess is falling out of use as well. Melissa Mohr, The Christian Science Monitor, 3 Aug. 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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Last Updated

24 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Suffix.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jun. 2021.

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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

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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