Lexicology and phraseology: suffixes and prefixes



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-ist

suffix


(in nouns and some related adjectives)

1 a person who believes or practises something



atheist

2 a member of a profession or business activity



dentist

3 a person who uses a thing



violinist

4 a person who does something



plagiarist
-ist suffix

1 [in nouns] someone who believes in a particular religion or set of principles or ideas



a Buddhist

an atheist

a Scottish Nationalist

2 [in adjectives] relating to or showing a particular political or religious belief



her socialist views

rightist parties (=political parties with right-wing opinions)

3 [in nouns] someone who studies a particular subject, plays a particular instrument, or does a particular type of work



a linguist (=someone who studies or learns languages)

a novelist (=someone who writes novels)

a guitarist (=someone who plays the guitar)

a machinist (=someone who operates a machine)

ᅳsee also -ologist

4 [in adjectives] treating people unfairly because of something

a very sexist remark (=making unfair differences between men and women)

5 [in nouns] someone who treats people unfairly because of something



They're a bunch of racists.
-ist suffix
used to form adjectives and nouns which describe (a person with) a particular set of beliefs or way of behaving:
Marxist philosophy
a feminist
a sexist

--- [not in Macmillan]


1 -ist

Pronounced:

/ɪst/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

1 a : a person who does a specified action or activity ▪ typist b : a person who makes or produces something specified ▪ novelist c : a person who plays a specified musical instrument ▪ pianist ▪ violinist d : a person who operates a specified machine or vehicle ▪ machinist ▪ bicyclist

2 : a person who has a specified job or skill ▪ geologist ▪ hairstylist ▪ dental hygienist ▪ artist

3 : a person who has particular beliefs —used to form nouns from related nouns that end in -ism ▪ socialist ▪ purist ▪ populist ▪ Methodist ▪ Buddhist ▪ Darwinist

4 : a person who has a particular quality —used to form nouns from related nouns that end in -ism ▪ pessimist ▪ optimist ▪ idealist

2 -ist

Function:

adjective suffix



Meaning:

: of, relating to, or characterized by a specified quality —used to form adjectives from related nouns that end in -ism ▪ an elitist attitude
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-ite

suffix


(in nouns) (often disapproving)

a person who follows or supports somebody/something



Blairite

Trotskyite
-ite suffix

1 [in nouns] a follower or supporter of a particular idea or person - often used in order to show disapproval



a group of Trotskyites (=followers of Trotsky's political ideas)

the Pre-Raphaelites

2 [in adjectives] relating to a particular set of religious or political ideas, or with the ideas of a particular person



his Reaganite opinions

3 someone who lives in a particular place or belongs to a particular group



a Brooklynite (=someone from Brooklyn)

the Israelites (=in the Bible)
-ite suffix
used for a person who supports particular beliefs, actions or ideas, especially when added to the name of the person who is the origin of the ideas:
a Thatcherite
a Reaganite
--- [not in Macmillan]
-ite

Pronounced:

/aɪt/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

1 : a person born, raised, or living in a specified area ▪ suburbanite ▪ New Jerseyite


2 : a follower or supporter of a specified person or group ▪ Reaganite
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-itis suffix
(in nouns)

1 (medical)

a disease of

tonsillitis

2 (informal, especially humorous)

too much of; too much interest in

World Cup-itis
-itis suffix [in nouns]

1 an illness or infection that effects a particular part of your body



tonsillitis (=infection of the tonsils)

2 humorous the condition of having too much of something or liking something too much



televisionitis (=watching too much television)
--- [not in Cambridge]
--- [not in Macmillan]
-i·tis

Pronounced:

/aɪtəs/



Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

medical : inflammation of something specified ▪ tonsillitis ▪ bronchitis ▪ laryngitis —sometimes used humorously to describe having too much of something ▪ Hollywood has a bad case of sequelitis this summer. [=too many movies being shown this summer are sequels]


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-ity suffix

(in nouns)

the quality or state of

purity

oddity
-ity suffix also -ty [in nouns]

the state of having a particular quality, or something that has that quality



with great regularity (=regularly)

such stupidities (=stupid actions or remarks)
-ity suffix
added to adjectives to form nouns referring to a state or quality:
brutality
legality
--- [not in Macmillan]
-ity

Pronounced:

/əti/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

: quality, state, or degree ▪ availability ▪ stability ▪ absurdity ▪ complexity ▪ salinity
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-ive suffix

(in nouns and adjectives) tending to; having the nature of



explosive

descriptive

-ative suffix

(in adjectives) doing or tending to do something

illustrative

talkative
-ive suffix [in nouns and adjectives]

someone or something that does something or can do something



an explosive (=substance that can explode)

a detective (=someone who tries to discover facts about crimes)

the adoptive parents (=who adopt a child)

-ative suffix [in adjectives]

liking something or tending to do something or show a particular quality

talkative (=liking to talk a lot)

argumentative (=enjoying arguments)

imaginative (=showing imagination)
-ive suffix (ALSO -ative, ALSO -itive, ALSO -tive)
added to verbs to form adjectives meaning showing the ability to perform the activity represented by the verb:
imaginative
descriptive
--- [not in Macmillan]
-ive

Pronounced:

/ɪv/


Function:

adjective suffix



Meaning:

: doing or tending to do something specified ▪ exhaustive ▪ explosive
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-ize, -ise suffix

(in verbs)

1 to become, make or make like

privatize

fossilize

Americanize

2 to speak, think, act, treat, etc. in the way mentioned



criticize

theorize

deputize

pasteurize

3 to place in



hospitalize
-ize suffix also -ise British English [in verbs]

1 to make something have more of a particular quality



We need to modernize our procedures. (=make them more modern)

Americanized spelling (=spelling made more American)

privatized transport (=bus or train services that are owned and operated by private companies)

2 to change something to something else, or be changed to something else



The liquid crystallized. (=turned into crystals)

3 to speak or think in the way mentioned



to soliloquize (=speak a soliloquy, to yourself)

I sat and listened to him sermonizing. (=speaking solemnly, as if in a sermon)

4 to put into a particular place



She was hospitalized after the accident.
-ize, suffix UK USUALLY -ise
added to adjectives to form verbs meaning to cause to become:
to modernize (= to make modern)
to centralize
-ize suffix

1 used with some nouns and adjectives to make verbs meaning to become or make something become something:
legalize
industrialize
liquidize

2 used with some nouns to make verbs meaning to put someone in a particular place:
institutionalize
hospitalize
-ize also Brit -ise

Pronounced:

/aɪz/


Function:

verb suffix



Meaning:

1 a : to cause to become or become like something specified ▪ Americanize : to become or become like (something specified) ▪ crystallize ▪ unionize b : to treat like something specified ▪ idolize ▪ lionize ▪ commercialize

2 : to talk or write about someone or something in a specified way ▪ satirize ▪ romanticize

3 : to make or suggest something specified ▪ hypothesize ▪ theorize ▪ philosophize

4 : to place someone in something specified ▪ hospitalize ▪ institutionalize
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-less

suffix


(in adjectives)

1 without



treeless

meaningless

2 not doing; not affected by



tireless

selfless

-lessly

(in adverbs)

hopelessly

-lessness

(in nouns)

helplessness
-less suffix [in adjectives]

1 without something



I felt powerless.

a childless couple

tasteless food

2 not doing or using something



You're too careless.

It's perfectly harmless.

3 not possible to treat or affect in a particular way



on countless occasions

She's tireless.
-less suffix

used to form adjectives meaning 'without (the thing mentioned)'



meaningless

friendless
-less suffix

without: used with many nouns:


the homeless (=people who do not have a home)
a hopeless situation
a cold heartless woman (=without sympathy for other people)
-less

Pronounced:

/ləs/


Function:

adjective suffix



Meaning:

1 : not having something specified : without something ▪ childless ▪ friendless ▪ a cloudless sky ▪ my first painless day since leaving the hospital

2 a : never doing or becoming something specified ▪ tireless workers [=workers who never become tired] ▪ ceaseless noise [=noise that never ceases] b : not able to be acted on in a specified way ▪ a dauntless hero [=a hero who cannot be daunted] ▪ countless years [=too many years to be counted]
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-ly suffix

1 (in adverbs)

in the way mentioned

happily

stupidly

2 (in adjectives)

having the qualities of

cowardly

scholarly

3 (in adjectives and adverbs)

at intervals of

hourly

daily
-ly suffix

1 [in adverbs] in a particular way



She smiled happily.

He was walking slowly.

2 [in adverbs] considered in a particular way



Politically speaking it was a rather unwise remark.

a financially sound proposal

3 [in adjectives and adverbs] happening at regular periods of time



an hourly check (=done every hour)

They visit monthly (=once every month).

4 [in adjectives] like a particular thing in manner, nature, or appearance



with queenly grace

a motherly woman (=showing the love, kindness etc of a mother)
-ly suffix (ADVERB)

1 in the stated way:
quickly
carefully
angrily
loudly

2 when considered in the stated way:
Personally (= in my opinion), I don't think animals should be killed for their fur.
This is an environmentally (= in relation to the environment) disastrous proposal.

3 regularly after the stated period of time:
a weekly/monthly meeting

-ly suffix (ADJECTIVE)

1 like the stated person or thing
fatherly advice
priestly duties
cowardly behaviour

2 describes one of a series of events which happen with the stated regular period of time between each
a daily shower
a weekly meeting
a yearly check-up
-ly suffix

used with many adjectives to make adverbs meaning in a particular way:


quietly (=in a quiet way)
angrily (=in an angry way)
1 -ly

Pronounced:

/li/


Function:

adverb suffix



Meaning:

1 : in a (specified) manner ▪ sadly ▪ jokingly ▪ slowly

2 a : in a (specified) period of time ▪ The paper is published weekly. b : to a (specified) degree or extent ▪ extremely good ▪ relatively cheap ▪ partially true c : in a (specified) place in a series ▪ secondly ▪ lastly

2 -ly

Function:

adjective suffix



Meaning:

1 : similar in appearance, manner, or nature to a (specified) person ▪ queenly ▪ fatherly

2 : characterized by regular occurrence in (specified) periods of time ▪ a weekly paper
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manu(script)
--- [not found in any of the dictionaries]

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-ment

suffix


(in nouns) the action or result of

bombardment

development
-ment suffix [in nouns]

used to form a noun from a verb to show actions, the people who do them, or their results



the government (=the people who govern a country)

the replacement of something (=the action of replacing something)

some interesting new developments
-ment suffix
used to form nouns which refer to an action or process or its result:
a great achievement
successful management
a disappointment
--- [not in Macmillan]
-ment

Pronounced:

/mənt/


Function:

noun suffix



Meaning:

1 : the action or process of doing something ▪ improvement ▪ development


2 : the product or result of an action ▪ entertainment
3 : the state or condition caused by an action ▪ amazement ▪ fulfillment
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(hydro)metry
--- [not found in any of the dictionaries]

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milli-

combining form

(in nouns; used in units of measurement)

one thousandth



milligram
milli- prefix [in nouns]

a 1000th part of a unit



a millilitre (=0.001 litres)
milli- prefix
0.001 of the stated unit:
milliamp
millijoule
milli- prefix

one of a thousand equal parts of something: used with many nouns:


a millisecond
a millilitre
milli-

Function:

combining form



Meaning:

: one thousandth part of something ▪ millimeter
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mini-

combining form

(in nouns)

small


mini-break (= a short holiday/vacation)

minigolf
mini- prefix

very small or short, compared with others of the same kind



All the hotel's bedrooms have a mini-bar, telephone and radio.

a mini-screen TV
mini- prefix

smaller or less important than a normal example of the same thing



There's a mini-library in each classroom, as well as the central library.

We took the kids to play mini-golf.
--- [not in Macmillan]
mini-

Function:

combining form



Meaning:

: smaller or shorter than usual or normal : miniatureminibike ▪ miniskirt
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mis-

prefix


(in verbs and nouns)

bad or wrong; badly or wrongly



misbehaviour

misinterpret
mis- prefix

1 bad or badly



misfortune (=bad luck)

He's been misbehaving.

2 wrong or wrongly



a miscalculation

I misunderstood you.

3 used to refer to an opposite or the lack of something



What caused this anger and mistrust (=lack of trust) ?
mis- prefix
added to the beginning of a verb or word formed from a verb, to show that the action referred to by the verb has been done wrongly or badly:
I never said that! You must have misheard me.
His misbehaviour eventually led to him being expelled from school.
mis- prefix

1 bad or badly: used with some nouns and verbs:
misbehaviour (=bad behaviour)

2 wrong or wrongly: used with some nouns and verbs:
misunderstand (=understand wrongly)
mis-

Pronounced:

/mɪs/


Function:

prefix


Meaning:

1 : badly : wrongly ▪ misjudge ▪ misfile ▪ misbehave


2 : bad : wrong ▪ misunderstanding ▪ misdeed ▪ misdiagnosis
3 : opposite or lack of ▪ mistrust
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--- [not in Oxford]


-monger suffix [in nouns]
1 someone who sells a particular thing

a fishmonger

2 rumour-monger/gloom-monger/doom-monger etc

someone who says unpleasant things

The rumour-mongers have been busy again.

the economic gloom-mongers
-monger suffix MAINLY DISAPPROVING
a person who encourages a particular activity, especially one which causes trouble:
They're nothing but a bunch of war-mongers.

--- [not in Macmillan]


--- [not in Merriam-Webster’s]
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mono-

combining form

(also mon-)

 (in nouns and adjectives) one; single



monorail

monogamy
mono- prefix

one


a monoplane (=a plane with only one wing on each side)

a monolingual dictionary (=dealing with only one language)
mono- prefix (SINGLE)
one; single:
monolingual
a monorail
mono- prefix

single or one: used to make adjectives and nouns:


monolingual (=speaking or written in only one language)
monologue (=long speech by one person)
mono-

Function:

combining form



Meaning:

: one : single ▪ monoplanemonolingual
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-most suffix (in adjectives) the furthest: inmost (= the furthest in) · southernmost · topmost (= the furthest up / nearest to the top)
-most suffix [in adjectives]

nearest to something



the northernmost town in Sweden (=the town that is furthest to the north)

the topmost branches of the tree
-most suffix
used to mean 'furthest':
John O'Groats is the northernmost part of the British mainland (= the part that is farther to the north than any other part).
-most suffix

1 nearest to: used with some nouns to make adjectives:
endmost

2 used with some adjectives to make adjectives meaning furthest in a particular direction:
the southernmost point on the island
-most
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