Origin of -euse
Words nearby -euse
WORDS THAT USE -EUSE
What does -euse mean?
The form -euse 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, -euse means “doer.” The suffix -euse is relatively common in both everyday and technical terms.
The suffix -euse comes from the Latin -ōsa, which was used to indicate agent nouns whose grammatical gender was female.
The suffix -euse is the feminine-gendered variant of -eur. 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. Some words that end with -euse, such as danseuse, are still reserved (though not without due criticism) for women.
Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -eur article.
Examples of -euse
One example of a term you may be familiar with that features -euse is chanteuse, “a female singer, especially one who sings in nightclubs and cabarets.”
The first part of the word, chant-, comes from the French chanter, meaning “to sing.” The suffix -euse means “doer” and specifies that the doer in question is female. Chanteuse roughly translates to “someone (female) who sings.”
What are some words that use the suffix -euse?
The following words are all French loanwords and therefore use the equivalent form of -euse in French.
What are some other forms that -euse may be commonly confused with?
Not every word that ends with the exact letters -euse uses the suffix -eur to indicate a “doer.” Non-agent nouns with similar endings include chartreuse. Learn why chartreuse denotes a distinguished yellowish-green color at our entry for the word.
Break it down!
The French verb danser means, as you may guess, “to dance.” With this in mind, what is a danseuse?