• synonyms


  1. a suffix formerly used to form transitive and intransitive verbs from adjectives (fasten; harden; sweeten), or from nouns (heighten; lengthen; strengthen).
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Origin of -en1

Middle English, Old English -n- (as in Middle English fast-n-en, Old English fǣst-n-ian to make fast, fasten); cognate with -n- of like verbs in other Gmc languages (Old Norse fastna)


  1. a suffix used to form adjectives of source or material from nouns: ashen; golden; oaken.
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Origin of -en2

Middle English, Old English; cognate with Old High German -īn, Gothic -eins, Latin -īnus; see -ine1


  1. a suffix used to mark the past participle in many strong and some weak verbs: taken; proven.
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Origin of -en3

Middle English, Old English; cognate with German -en, Old Norse -inn


  1. a suffix used in forming the plural of some nouns: brethren; children; oxen.
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Origin of -en4

Middle English; Old English -an, case ending of n-stem nouns, as in naman oblique singular, and nominative and accusative plural of nama name; akin to n-stem forms in other IE languages, as in Latin nōmen, nōmin- name


  1. a diminutive suffix: kitten; maiden.
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Origin of -en5

Middle English, Old English, from neuter of -en2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for -en


suffix forming verbs
  1. cause to be; become; cause to haveblacken; heighten
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Word Origin

Old English -n-, as in fæst-n-ian to fasten, of common Germanic origin; compare Icelandic fastna


suffix forming adjectives
  1. of; made of; resemblingashen; earthen; wooden
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Word Origin

Old English -en; related to Gothic -eins, Latin -īnus -ine 1
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for -en


word-forming element making verbs (e.g. darken, weaken) from adjectives or from nouns, from Old English -nian, from Proto-Germanic *-inojan (cf. Old Norse -na), from PIE adjectival suffix *-no-. Most active in Middle English.

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suffix added to nouns to produce adjectives meaning "made of, of the nature of" (e.g. golden, oaken), corresponding to Latin -ine. Common in Old and Middle English, surviving words with it now are largely discarded in everyday use and the simple form of the noun serves as an adjective as well.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper