Suffixes of Quality

By Mark Nichol - 2 minute read

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This post lists suffixes—any group of letters attached to the end of a word, a base, or a phrase to convey a meaning related to that of the root element—that pertain to qualities. Examples of nouns featuring a particular suffix are provided after the suffix.

Suffixes attached to words to refer to a quality of being or a state or condition include the following:
-acity: perspicacity, capacity
-an: partisan, urban
-ance: attendance, balance
-ate: apostate, reprobate
-cracy: democracy, theocracy
-cy: residency, privacy
-dom: kingdom, wisdom
-ence: sentience, abscence
-ern: western, cavern
-ery: bravery, effrontery
-escence: effervescence, adolescence
-ese: legalese, Chinese
-esque: burlesque, grotesque
-ete: aesthete, athlete
-ette: kitchenette, cigarette
-ful: handful, earful
-gamy: monogamy, polygamy
-gon: pentagon, polygon
-hood: brotherhood, neighborhood
-ia: absentia, dementia
-ial: editorial, colonial
-ian: pediatrician, patrician
-ine: canine, feline
-ity: gravity, hilarity
-ization: organization, fertilization
-less: fearless, homeless
-let: inlet, booklet
-ling: underling, stripling
-ness: kindness, darkness
-ocity: velocity, ferocity
-oid: spheroid, humanoid
-phile: audiophile, bibliophile
-ship: fellowship, governership
-sion: discussion, dimension
-th: length, strength
-tion: station, attrition
-tude: attitude, fortitude
-ty: frailty, liberty
-ure: failure, closure

Words pertaining to medical or psychological conditions, or analogous states, often have one of the following suffixes:
-algia: neuralgia, nostalgia
-emia: anemia, hypogyclemia
-iasis: psoriasis, elephantiasis
-itis: appendicitis, tonsillitis
-oma: carcinoma, hematoma
-opia: myopia, hyperopia
-osis: neurosis, psychosis
-path: homeopath, sociopath
-plegia: paraplegia, quadriplegia
-pnea: apnea, orthopnea
-trophy: atrophy, dystrophy

Words denote a place where something specific occurs, or an entity with a certain responsibility, are augmented by the following suffixes:
-ary: aviary, military
-ium: auditorium, stadium
-ory: laboratory, observatory

Many words for types of ingredients or materials end with the following suffixes:
-ing: clothing, writing
-ings: seasonings, leavings

An action or a process or procedure, or a belief, is expressed in words with these suffixes:
-ade: blockade, promenade
-age: storage, patronage
-ism: racism, sexism
-ment: measurement, movement
-oscopy: arthroscopy, colonoscopy
-ure: pedicure, closure

Many words describing a person with a particular skill or vocation or who engages in a specific activity, or a person who or a thing that has a certain quality or purpose, end with this suffix:
-ac: maniac, hemophiliac
-ant: servant, applicant
-ar: burglar, liar
-ard: laggard, wizard
-arian: disciplinarian
-art: braggart, boggart
-ative: preservative, derivative
-crat: bureaucrat, aristocrat
-eer: engineer, volunteer
-ent: president, absorbent
-er:hanger, teacher
-ess: waitress, heiress
-ian: guardian, Italian
-ic: workaholic, alcoholic
-ist: therapist, dentist
-ite: parasite, dynamite
-or: doctor, translator

Note that -ess, which generally signifies a female practitioner (other examples are adventuress and poetess), is widely considered dated because it denotes an unnecessary distinction between genders. A female author, for example, is simply described as an author, not an authoress, and if her gender is pertinent, it may be referred to otherwise in written content.

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1 Response to “Suffixes of Quality”

  • TheBluebird11

    Seems like a very comprehensive list. One other suffix came to mind: -isan (artisan, partisan). Maybe not very common except in bread-making and politics lol

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