suffix

noun
suf·fix | \ ˈsə-fiks \

Definition of suffix 

(Entry 1 of 2)

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

suffix

verb
suf·fix | \ ˈsə-fiks , (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

Noun

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

Verb

suffixation \ˌsə-fik-ˈsā-shən \ noun

What are prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms?

Noun

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

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 TaylorSwift.porn 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, baltimoresun.com, "Our common language, up to a point," 8 Mar. 2018 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 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 And the final four are a suffix attached to a landline or mobile phone. Jo Craven Mcginty, WSJ, "Losing Your Old Area Code? You’re Not Alone," 4 Aug. 2017 But, Lynne Murphy points out, the –ize suffix was original in British and American spelling, and survives in both. John E. Mcintyre, baltimoresun.com, "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

Noun

1778, in the meaning defined above

Verb

1778, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for suffix

Noun

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

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Statistics for suffix

Last Updated

27 Jul 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for suffix

The first known use of suffix was in 1778

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More Definitions for suffix

suffix

noun

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

suffix

noun
suf·fix | \ ˈsə-ˌfiks \

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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Comments on suffix

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