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a suffix occurring in loanwords from French, usually agent nouns formed from verbs (entrepreneur; voyeur), less commonly adjectives (agent provocateur).
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Origin of -eur

<French; Old French -o(u)r<Latin -ōr--or2 and -eo(u)r<Latin -ātōr--ator; see -tor

Other definitions for -eur (2 of 2)


Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -eur mean?

The form -eur is a suffix that marks an agent noun or, occasionally, an adjective in loanwords from French. Agent nouns are nouns that indicate a person who does an action. Broadly speaking, then, -eur means “doer.” The suffix -eur is relatively common in both everyday and technical terms.

The suffix -eur ultimately comes from the Latin -or or -ator, which was used to indicate agent nouns.

An equivalent of -eur in words from English is the suffix -er, as in singer (someone who sings).

What are variants of -eur?

When agent nouns ending in -eur are used to refer to a feminine-gendered element, -eur becomes -euse, as in chanteuse (a female singer). Although -eur is a masculine-gendered ending for agent nouns, it is often (though not always) preferred over -euse as the default in English, regardless of the subject’s gender.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -euse article.

Examples of -eur

One example of a word you may be familiar with that features the suffix -eur is entrepreneur, “a person who organizes and manages any enterprise, especially a business, usually with considerable initiative and risk.”

The first part of the word, entrepren-, comes from the French entreprendre, meaning “to undertake,” like in the related word enterprise. Because the suffix -eur means “doer”, entrepreneur roughly translates to “someone who undertakes (some venture).”

What are some words that use the suffix -eur?

The following words are all French loanwords and therefore use the equivalent form of -eur in French.

What are some other forms that -eur may be commonly confused with?

Not every word that ends with the exact letters -eur uses the suffix -eur to indicate a “doer.” Non-agent nouns with similar endings include grandeur and monseigneur. Learn why monseigneur means “my lord” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

A connoisseur is a kind of expert judge or discerning enthusiast, especially in fine arts of matters of taste. Given that the connoiss- part of the word comes from the French verb for “to know,” what is a literal translation of connoisseur?

How to use -eur in a sentence

  • Like the corresponding French nouns in -eur, these nouns in -aire, as well as those in -èire, are also used as adjectives.

    Frdric Mistral|Charles Alfred Downer
  • The same sentiment, though expressed the contrary way, occurs in Eur.

  • There can be no doubt that the fylfot throughout Eur-Asia had a symbolic significance, which in many places it still retains.

    Evolution in Art|Alfred C. Haddon
  • A plaintive phee-eur; a short, plaintive, twittering warble.

British Dictionary definitions for -eur


combining form
a variant of euro-
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