1. a suffix used in forming nouns, often derogatory, referring especially to occupation, habit, or association:

    gamester; songster; trickster.



abbreviation for

  1. sterling.


suffix forming nouns

  1. indicating a person who is engaged in a certain activity Compare -stress



  2. indicating a person associated with or being something specified



“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

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Word History and Origins

Origin of -ster1

Middle English; Old English -estre; cognate with Dutch -ster, Middle Low German -( e ) ster
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Word History and Origins

Origin of -ster1

Old English -estre
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Example Sentences

Stout Glo'ster stood aghast in speechless trance: "To arms!"

A short paddle across the lake, not more than three quarters of a mile, and we were at Besse Ster.

The real ster is a larger building about a quarter of a mile from this hut, and higher up the mountain.

The Ster is a hut, built as they all are, entirely of wood, and only inhabited during the summer months.

And further away still there is yet another building, or collection of buildings, also called Besse Ster.


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Words That Use -Ster

What does -ster mean?

The form -ster is a suffix that marks an agent noun. Agent nouns are nouns that indicate a person who does an action, and broadly speaking, -ster means “doer.” The suffix -ster is similar to -er, another agent noun, but -ster sometimes implies a more negative feeling about the doer. This suffix is used in a wide variety of informal terms.

The suffix -ster comes from the Old English -estre, where it denoted female agent nouns. The equivalent for male agent nouns was -er, as mentioned above, which has not developed the negative connotation that the traditionally feminine -ster has.

What are variants of -ster?

When agent nouns ending in -ster are used to refer to a feminine-gendered element, -ster becomes -stress, as in seamstress (a female seamster). Similar suffixes include -ess, as in stewardess (a female steward), and -euse, as in chanteuse (a female chanteur, or singer).

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use -euse and -stress articles.

Examples of -ster

One example of a term you are likely familiar with that features the suffix -ster is hipster, “a usually young person who is trendy, stylish, or progressive in an unconventional way; someone who is hip.”

Hip- here does not refer to the body part; instead, it means “familiar with or informed about the latest ideas or styles”—in other words, “cool.” The -ster suffix marks this word as an agent noun, and therefore, hipster means “someone who is cool” or “someone who does cool things.” However, it’s important to note that the -ster form carries a negative feeling with it, and even though hipster has a “cool” meaning, the use of -ster implies that the speaker is looking down on or even making fun of the hipster.

What are some words that use the suffix -ster?

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

Break it down!

Given what you know about the meaning of -ster, what is a pollster?