-er

1

a suffix used in forming nouns designating persons from the object of their occupation or labor (hatter; tiler; tinner; moonshiner), or from their place of origin or abode (Icelander; southerner; villager), or designating either persons or things from some special characteristic or circumstance (six-footer; three-master; teetotaler; fiver; tenner).
a suffix serving as the regular English formative of agent nouns, being attached to verbs of any origin (bearer; creeper; employer; harvester; teacher; theorizer).

QUIZZES

CAN YOU FEEL THE WEAL WITH THIS WORD OF THE DAY QUIZ?

Did you collect all of last week’s words, but eftsoons forget what they mean? Don’t worry, we’re here to jog your memory. See how many words from the week of May 18 to 24 you can get right!
Question 1 of 7
weal
Compare -ier1, -yer.

Origin of -er

1
Middle English -er(e), a coalescence of Old English -ere agentive suffix (cognate with Old High German -āri, Gothic -areis < Germanic *-arjaz (> Slavic *-arĭ) < Latin -ārius -ary) and Old English -ware forming nouns of ethnic or residential orig. (as Rōmware Romans), cognate with Old High German -āri < Germanic *-warioz people

Words nearby -er

Definition for -er (2 of 7)

-er2

a noun suffix occurring in loanwords from French in the Middle English period, most often names of occupations (archer; butcher; butler; carpenter; grocer; mariner; officer), but also other nouns (corner; danger; primer). Some historical instances of this suffix, as in banker or gardener, where the base is a recognizable modern English word, are now indistinguishable from denominal formations with -er1, as miller or potter.

Origin of -er

2
Middle English < Anglo-French -er, equivalent to Old French -er, -ier < Latin -ārius, -ārium. Cf. -ary, -eer, -ier2

Definition for -er (3 of 7)

-er3

a termination of nouns denoting action or process: dinner; rejoinder; remainder; trover.

Origin of -er

3
< French, orig. infinitive suffix -er, -re

Definition for -er (4 of 7)

-er4

a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adjectives: harder; smaller.

Origin of -er

4
Middle English -er(e), -re, Old English -ra, -re; cognate with German -er

Definition for -er (5 of 7)

-er5

a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adverbs: faster.

Origin of -er

5
Middle English -er(e), -re, Old English -or; cognate with Old High German -or, German -er

Definition for -er (6 of 7)

-er6

a formal element appearing in verbs having frequentative meaning: flicker; flutter; shiver; shudder.

Origin of -er

6
Middle English; Old English -r-; cognate with German -(e)r-

Definition for -er (7 of 7)

-er7

a suffix that creates informal or jocular mutations of more neutral words, which are typically clipped to a single syllable if polysyllabic, before application of the suffix, and which sometimes undergo other phonetic alterations: bed-sitter; footer; fresher; rugger. Most words formed thus have been limited to English public-school and university slang; few, if any, have become current in North America, with the exception of soccer, which has also lost its earlier informal character.
Compare -ers.

Origin of -er

7
probably modeled on nonagentive uses of -er1; said to have first become current in University College, Oxford, 1875–80
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

British Dictionary definitions for -er (1 of 2)

-er1

suffix forming nouns

a person or thing that performs a specified actionreader; decanter; lighter
a person engaged in a profession, occupation, etcwriter; baker; bootlegger
a native or inhabitant ofislander; Londoner; villager
a person or thing having a certain characteristicnewcomer; double-decker; fiver

Word Origin for -er

Old English -ere; related to German -er, Latin -ārius

British Dictionary definitions for -er (2 of 2)

-er2

suffix

forming the comparative degree of adjectives (deeper, freer, sunnier, etc) and adverbs (faster, slower, etc)

Word Origin for -er

Old English -rd, -re (adj), -or (adv)
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