[ noun suhf-iks; verb suhf-iks, suh-fiks ]
/ noun ˈsʌf ɪks; verb ˈsʌf ɪks, səˈfɪks /
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Grammar. an affix that follows the element to which it is added, as -ly in kindly.
something added to the end of something else.
verb (used with object)
verb (used without object) Grammar.
to admit a suffix.
to add a suffix.
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Origin of suffix

1595–1605; <New Latin suffixum, noun use of neuter of Latin suffixus (past participle of suffīgere to attach on top of), equivalent to suf-suf- + fixus (see fix)


suf·fix·al [suhf-ik-suhl, suh-fik-], /ˈsʌf ɪk səl, səˈfɪk-/, adjectivesuf·fix·a·tion [suhf-ik-sey-shuhn], /ˌsʌf ɪkˈseɪ ʃən/, suf·fix·ion [suh-fik-shuhn], /səˈfɪk ʃən/, nounun·suf·fixed, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does suffix mean?

A suffix is a letter or group of letters placed at the end of a word to create a new word. For example, you can add the suffix -y to sleep to make sleepy or the suffix -er to loud to make louder.

Suffixes are a handy tool of grammar that allows you to make a new word with a meaning that is closely related to the word the suffix is being attached to.

Suffixes sometimes change the part of speech of the words they are added to. The verb create, for example, becomes the noun creation when you add the suffix -tion to it. To make create an adjective, you’d add the suffix -ive to make creative.

Sometimes, a suffix changes the meaning of the word it is attached to. For example, the word defense means protection, but if you add the suffix -less, you end up with the adjective defenseless, which means unprotected.

Why is suffix important?

The first records of the word suffix come from around 1595. It ultimately comes from the Latin verb suffīgere, which means “to attach on top of.”

A suffix is attached to the end of a word. Another type of affix commonly used in English is the prefix, which is attached to the beginning of a word, as with re- in reinvent.

Some suffixes are so common that you can easily tell what part of speech the word with the suffix is, even if you don’t know the exact definition, just by looking at the suffix. The suffix -ness, for example, turns adjectives and participles into nouns that mark a state or quality. For example, the words selfish, handsome, and quick become selfishness, handsomeness, and quickness.

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Many languages use suffixes. For example, French uses -ette to denote smallness, Spanish uses -ista to denote a person who does something (like English’s -er), and the German -ismus to denote an action or idea (like English’s -ism).

What are real-life examples of suffix?

This chart gives examples of some commonly used suffixes:

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Tons of English words have suffixes.

What other words are related to suffix?

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A suffix is a letter or group of letters placed at the beginning of a word to create a new word.

How to use suffix in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for suffix


noun (ˈsʌfɪks)
grammar an affix that follows the stem to which it is attached, as for example -s and -ness in dogs and softnessCompare prefix (def. 1)
anything that is added at the end of something else
verb (ˈsʌfɪks, səˈfɪks)
(tr) grammar to add (a morpheme) as a suffix to the end of a word
(tr) to add (something) at the end of a sentence, comment, or piece of writing

Derived forms of suffix

suffixal (ˈsʌfɪksəl), adjectivesuffixion (sʌˈfɪkʃən), noun

Word Origin for suffix

C18: from New Latin suffixum, from Latin suffixus fastened below, from suffīgere, from sub- + fīgere to fasten
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

Cultural definitions for suffix


A letter or a group of letters added to the end of a word to change its meaning. For example, adding the suffix -ter to the adjective hot turns it into the comparative adjective hotter, and adding the suffix -ly to the adjective quick turns it into the adverb quickly. Other examples of words with suffixes are: “willing,” “management,” “serviceable,” “harmonize,” and “joyful.” (Compare prefix.)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.