[ nes ]
/ nɛs /
Save This Word!


a headland; promontory; cape.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
Question 1 of 12
On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.

Origin of ness

First recorded before 900; Middle English -nes(s) (in placenames), in part continuing Old English næs, in part from Old Norse nes; akin to nose

Definition for ness (2 of 2)


a native English suffix attached to adjectives and participles, forming abstract nouns denoting quality and state (and often, by extension, something exemplifying a quality or state): darkness; goodness; kindness; obligingness; preparedness.

Origin of -ness

Middle English, Old English -nes, -nis, cognate with German -nis, Gothic -(n)assus; suffix originally (unattested) -assus; -n- by false division of words with adjective and past participle stems ending in -n-; compare Old English efnes (later efen-nys ) evenness
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

British Dictionary definitions for ness (1 of 3)

/ (nɛs) /


  1. archaic a promontory or headland
  2. (capital as part of a name)Orford Ness
Old English næs headland; related to Old Norse nes, Old English nasu nose

British Dictionary definitions for ness (2 of 3)

/ (nɛs) /


Loch Ness a lake in NW Scotland, in the Great Glen: said to be inhabited by an aquatic monster. Length: 36 km (22.5 miles). Depth: 229 m (754 ft)

British Dictionary definitions for ness (3 of 3)


suffix forming nouns

indicating state, condition, or quality, or an instance of one of thesegreatness; selfishness; meaninglessness; a kindness
Old English -nes, of Germanic origin; related to Gothic -nassus
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
What's This Word?