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Suffixes (Nachsilben; Suffixe)

Some Suffixes for

Like English, German often employs suffixes to add meaning or to produce other parts of speech. Here is a further discussion of this phenomenon, already introduced with
Forming Nouns:
examples derived from the verb "sprechen".
-ant -antin -är -ärin
-art -at -ator -chen
-e -ei -el -ent -entin
-er -erei -erin -eur
-eurin -euse -heit -i
-ie -ik -ismus -ist
-ität -istin -keit
-kunde -lein -ler
-ling -nis -ologie -or
-orin -öse -sal
-schaft -sel -sorte
-st -t -tät -tum -ung
-wesen -zeug

Some Suffixes for

Forming Adjectives
and Adverbs:

-arm -artig -bar -en

-er -erlei -erlich
-fach -fältig -frei Long-lasting hair removal at home - is that at all possible?
-gemäß -haft -haftig
-ig -iv -isch -leer
-lich -los -mal -malig
-mäßig -reich -voll Using the Suffix "-e" to Derive Feminine Nouns from Verbs:
-sam -wert -würdig
Certain verbs add "-e" to the present or past verb stem (with or without an umlaut) to create a feminine noun. The plural is "-n".
Verb Noun Plural Meaning
Grammar Review Home ehren die Ehre die Ehren honor
haben die Habe die Haben belongings; chattels
Dartmouth German
Studies Department lieben die Liebe [no plural] love
waschen die Wäsche [no plural] laundry; linens
lügen die Lüge die Lügen lie
nehmen die Einnahme die Einnahmen revenue
schrauben die Schraube die Schrauben screw
sprechen die Sprache die Sprachen language

Here are some others that are also (mostly) feminine after adding the suffix "-t" or "-st":

ankommen die Ankunft die Ankünfte arrival

dienen der [!] Dienst die Dienste service
fahren die Fahrt die Fahrten drive; trip
können die Kunst die Künste art; craft
laden die Last die Lasten burden
machen [!] die Macht die Mächte power; might
tun die Tat die Taten deed

Using "-e" to Derive Nouns from Adjectives (in addition to Adjectival Nouns )

Most adjectives that take an umlaut in the comparative also form feminine nouns that have umlauts and end in "-e":

Adjective Noun Meaning

flach die Fläche surface
glatt die Glätte smoothness; slickness
groß die Größe size; greatness
gut die Güte goodness; benevolence
hard die Härte hardness
heiß die Hitze heat
kalt die Kälte cold
kurz die Kürze brevity
lang die Länge length
nah die Nähe vicinity
nass die Nässe wetness
rot die Röte redness
scharf die Schärfe sharpness
stark die Stärke strength
warm die Wärme warmth

This list also contains some that are ineligible for umlauts:

breit die Breite breadth

tief die Tiefe depth

The Diminutives "-chen" and "-lein"

A diminutive form of most nouns can be created by adding the suffixes "-chen" and "-lein" and - almost always - umlauting the stem vowel when possible; if the noun ends
in "-e", that is dropped ("die Schraube" becomes "das Schräubchen" [small screw]). All such resulting nouns are neuter, with a plural form that is identical with the singular
(i.e.: "das Schräubchen, die Schräubchen"). They indicate a smaller (and often younger) version of the original (e.g. a "Hundchen" [no umlaut!] is a puppy - compare English
"-kin" [lambkin] or "-ie" [doggie]). In modern German, "-chen" is the more frequent form, while "-lein" is generally confined to diminutives that were established in earlier
times. "Sprüchlein" (a small saying) is one such example. It is the more conventional form, although "Sprüchchen" can also be encountered.

Dialects, particularly Southern ones, offer many further possible suffixes, including "-ke", "-le", "-li", "-l", and "-erl". Nicknames frequently receive an "-i" or "-ie" ("Hansi",
"Berti", "Angie").

Take a baggie for my poopie.

(Viennese dialect)

Beginning students of German may be tempted to employ the diminutive when unsure of a noun's gender or plural. When forgetting the gender or plural of "der Stuhl;
die Stühle," they find certitude in "das Stühlchen". But they need to be aware that diminutives are accompanied by a particular affect. They are often used in saccharine
fashion with small children or to convey belittlement:

Was für ein süßes Hütchen hat dein Püppchen!

What a sweet little hat your dolly has!
Der Fußballer hat es nur zu einem harmlosen Schüsschen gebracht.
The soccer-player only managed to come up with a harmless, dinky little shot.
"Früher oder später werden unnützliche Sprächlein und Kultürchen im Sumpf der Realität versinken, und das ist gut so."1
Sooner or later, useless little languages and cultures will sink into the swamp of reality, and that is all to the good.

At the same time, a number of diminutives have become established in their own right, e.g.:

"das Brötchen" (bread roll), "das Fräulein" (Miss; young unmarried woman); "das Frühchen" (premature baby); "das Grübchen" (dimple); "das Männchen und das
Weibchen" (male and female [of a species]); "das Märchen" (fairy tale); "das Schläfchen" (nap); "das Schnäppchen" (a bargain); "das Schnäpschen" (a quick drink);
"das Kaninchen" (rabbit [note the lack of umlaut]); and "das Mädchen" (girl).

The Suffixes "-heit" and "-keit":

"-heit" or "-keit" can be added to many adjectives to create nouns (that are always feminine). If the adjective has been derived from another word via a suffix like "-
lich", "-bar", or "-sam", the suffix of choice is generally "-keit":

"die Brüderlichkeit" (brotherliness); "die Ehrlichkeit" (honesty); "die Eitelkeit" (vanity); "die Freundlichkeit" (friendliness); "die Gläubigkeit" (devoutness); "die
Heiligkeit" (sacredness; saintliness); "die Heiterkeit" (cheerfulness); "die Langsamkeit" (slowness); "die Lesbarkeit" (legibility; readability); "die Lösbarkeit"
(solubility); "die Richtigkeit" (correctness).

"die Bescheidenheit" (humility; modesty); "die Eigenheit" (peculiarity; quirk); "die Feigheit" (cowardice); "die Freiheit" (freedom); "die Gleichheit" (equality); "die
Klarheit" (clarity); "die Schüchternheit" (bashfulness; timidity); "die Sicherheit" (certitude; safety)

"-heit" can also be added to certain nouns: "die Christenheit" (the Christian world)

The Suffix "-i":

"-i" is used to form terms of endearment, usually tacked onto a person's name (e.g. "Hansi"), a designated family relationship ("Mutti",
"Vati", "Omi", "Opi"), and the shortened names of cute animals ("Hasi" [bunny]) - or, in the case of the East-German Trabant, even a car
("der Trabi"). The gender normally remains the same as that of the unadorned noun: "Der Rudi kommt!" But some people, on the analogy of
"-chen" and "-lein", prefer the neuter: "Du bist mein kleines Mausi":

"Mausi" (little mouse); "Schatzi" (little treasure); "Spatzi" (little sparrow).

der Trabi

The Suffix "-ie":

"-ie", cognate with English "-y", tends to be attached to foreign words to form scientific terms or to designate groups or states of being:

"die Anarchie" (anarchy); "die Biologie" (biology"); "die Bourgeoisie" (bourgeoisie); "die Chemie (chemistry); "die Pedanterie" (pedantry); "die Philosophie"
(philosophy"); "die Psychologie" (psychology); "die Theorie" (theory).

The Suffix "-ik":

"-ik", cognate with English "ic" or "-ics", tends to be attached to foreign words to form scientific terms or words for methodologies:

"die Akrobatik" (acrobatics); "die Logik" (logic); "die Logistik" (logistics"; "die Mathematik" (mathematics); die Musik (music); "die Physik (physics); "die
Romantik" (romanticism").

The Suffix "-ismus":

"-ismus", like the English "-ism", denotes an action or its result; a system or ideological movement; a peculiarity in language; or a pathological condition. The resulting
noun is masculine, and its plural is "-ismen":

"der Alkoholismus" (alcoholism); "der Antisemitismus" (anti-Semitism); "der Kubismus" (cubism); "der Faschimus" (fascism); "der Kapitalismus" (capitalism); "der
Kommunismus" (communism); "der Naturalismus" (naturalism); "der Tourismus" (tourism).

The Suffix "-ist":

The suffix indicating the male practitioner of an "-ismus" is normally "-ist" (plural: "-isten"), the female form is "-istin" (plural: "-istinnen"):

"der/die Faschist/in" fascist; "der/die Kapitalist/in" (capitalist); "der/die Kommunist/in" (communist); "der/die Tourist/in" (tourist);
but: "der/die Alkoholiker/in" (alcoholic); "der/die Antisemit/in" (anti-Semite).
"-ist" also often denotes the doer of a verb that ends in "-ieren" or the member of a group whose designation is obviously a foreign word:

"der/die Avantgardist/in" (avant-gardist); "der/die Komponist/in" (composer); "der/die Prokurist/in" (authorized officer [of a company]); "der/die Polizist/in" (police

The Suffix "-nis":

"-nis", cognate with the English "-ness", can be affixed to most parts of speech, creating nouns that can denote an act, an activity, a condition, a function, an active
force, or something that results from these. It is almost always neuter and has the plural form "-nisse":

"das Ärgernis" (annoyance; offense); "das Bedürfnis" (need); "das Begräbnis" (burial); "die [!] Besorgnis" (anxiety; apprehension); "das Ereignis" (event;
occurrence); "das Erzeugnis" (product); "die [!] Finsternis" (darkness; gloom); "das Gedächtnis" (memory); "das Gefängnis" (prison); "das Geheimnis" (secret); "das
Geständnis" (confession); "das Hindernis" (barrier; hindrance); "das Verhängnis" (fate; doom); "das Verständnis" (understanding; comprehension); "das Verzeichnis"
(catalogue; list); "die [!] Wildnis" (wilderness).

The Suffixes "-ologie" and "kunde":

"-ologie" and "-kunde" denote the study of something:

"die Astrologie" (astrology); "die Biologie" (biology); "die Erdkunde" (geography); "die Heilkunde" (alternative medicine); "die Ökologie" (ecology); "die Theologie"

The Suffix "-tät" (or "-ität"):

"-tät" and "-ität" are cognate with the English "-ty" and "-ity". They are normally attached to adjectives with foreign origin to form feminine nouns (with an "-en"

"die Agressivität" (aggressiveness); "die Aktivität" (activity); "die Brutalitäat" (brutality); "die Nationalität" (nationality); "die Objektivität" (objectivity); "die
Qualität" (quality); "die Solidarität" (solidarity); "die Subjektivität" (subjectivity).

General Use of the Suffix "-ung":

The suffix "-ung" is frequently used to create a noun (always feminine) by attaching it to a verb stem. The effect is similar to the English gerund created with "-ing" or
the noun formed with the suffix "-tion".

Tailor Shop for Alterations

Alterations of Every Kind

The resulting noun can dennote an activity, an instance of that activity, a state of being or a thing that is brought about by that activity, or an entity within which that
activity takes place:

Verb Noun Meaning

aufregen die Aufregung excitement
befreien die Befreiung liberation
begegnen die Begegnung encounter
behandeln die Behandlung treatment
entdecken die Entdeckung discovery
erfahren die Erfahrung experience
erziehen die Erziehung education
kleiden die Kleidung clothing
öffnen die Öffnung opening

Winter Opening Hours

ordnen die Ordnung order

regieren die Regierung government
revidieren die Revidierung revision
straffen die Straffung tightening
verdauen die Verdauung digestion
verfälschen die Verfälschung counterfeiting/counterfeit
verfremden die Verfremdung alienation
verwerten die Verwertung reclamation; recycling
wohnen die Wohnung dwelling, apartment
bilden die Wortbildung word-formation

Recycling of raw materials

Note that the noun "der Sprung" (leap) is not created with the suffix "-ung". Rather it belongs to the category of nouns that have been formed from the preterite of
strong verbs, ("springen, sprang, gesprungen").

Other Nouns Created from Verbs with Suffixes:

The Suffixes "-er" and "-erin", "-ler" and "-erlin", "erei":

As noted in the example of "sprechen", adding an "-er" or an "-erin" to a verb's stem denotes a male or female who performs the action: "der Sprecher / die
Sprecherin" (speaker). The plural of these "-er" nouns is the same as the singular, e.g. "die Sprecher". The plural of the feminine form is of course "-erinnen": "die
Sprecherinnen." Some of the many examples:

"der/die Arbeiter/in" (worker); "der/die Besitzer/in" (owner); "der/die Fahrer/in" (driver); "der/die Heuchler/in" (hypocrite); "der/die Leser/in" (reader); "der/die
Maler/in" (painter); "der/die Richter/in" (judge); "der/die Schneider/in" (taylor); "der/die Sieger/in" (victor); "der/die Spieler" (player; gambler); "der/die Trainer/in"
(coach); "der/die Trinker/in (drinker).
While this category of "-er" (or "-erin") nouns ordinarily derives from a verb, there are exceptions, e.g.:

"der/die Botschafter/in" (ambassador); "der Eisenbahner" (railwayman), "der/die Schüler/in" (pupil; schoolboy/schoolgirl).
Of course, such designations can derive from compounded words:

"der/die Angeber/in" (blowhard; show-off); "der/die Arbeitgeber/in" (employer); "der/die Korinthenkacker/in" (nit-picker); "der/die Lastkraftwagenfahrer/in" (truckdriver);
"der/die Nichtstuer/in" (do-nothing); "der/die Tennisspieler/in" (tennis player); "der/die Weltverbesser/in" (do-gooder); "der/die Wichtigtuer/in" (pompous ass).
Certain "-er" (or "-erin") nouns that are derived from verbs take an umlaut:

"der/die Bäcker/in" (baker); "der/die Gärtner/in (gardener); "der/die Färber/in" (dyer); "der/die Läufer/in" (runner); "der/die Sänger/in" (singer); "der/die
Schriftsteller/in" (writer); "der/die Tänzer/in" (dancer); "der/die Überläufer/in" (defector); "der/die Verkäufer/in" (salesman/saleslady); "der/die Verräter/in" (traitor)
"-ei" is often added to an occupational designation that was formed by "-er" (or "-or"), indicating the location of the occupation: i.e, a "Bäcker"
works in a "Bäckerei" (bakery):

"die Brauerei" (brewery); "die Färberei" (dye works); "die Gärtnerei" (botanical nursery); "die Gerberei" (tannery); "die Konditorei" (confectionery; pastry shop); "die
Metzgerei" (butcher shop).
Sometimes the suffix "-er" denotes a noun that is the result of the action:

"der Abstecher" (side-trip); "der Fehler" (error); "der Seufzer" (sigh); "der Schnitzer" (blunder; howler); "der Treffer" (strike, hit, success [something that hits the
Nouns formed with "-er" or "-erin" can also indicate someone's city or, in many cases, country of origin:

"der/die Berliner/in"; "der/die Münchner/in"; "der/die New Yorker/in"; "der/die Kanadier/in"; "der/die Engländer/in"; "der/die Norweger/in"; "der/die Österreicher/in";
"der/die Schweizer/in".
A number of nationalities can also be created with "-e" or "-in". The masculine form of these nouns is "weak" (i.e. it takes a "-n" in all cases but the nominative)

"der Franzose/die Französin"; "der Schwede/die Schwedin"; "der Türke/die Türkin".

"-er" can also indicate an inanimate instrument:

"der Bagger" (power shovel); "der Fernseher" (television set); "der Fernsprecher" (telephone); "der Kopierer" (copier); "der Kugelschreiber" (ballpoint pen); "der
Lautsprecher" (loudspeaker); "der Lichtschalter" (light switch); "der Rasenmäher" (lawn-mower); "der Scheibenwischer" (windshield-wiper); "der Schläger" (racquet;
bat; club); "der Schraubenzieher" (screwdriver; "der Staubsauger" (vacuum-cleaner); "der Wecker" (alarm-clock); "der Zahnstocher" (toothpick).

An alternative suffix for denoting an instrument is "-el": "der Deckel" (lid); "der Gürtel" (belt); "der Hebel" (lever; crank).

"-er" can produce a shortened name of certain instruments:

"der Aschenbecher" becomes "der Ascher" (ashtray); "der Lastkraftwagen" = "der Laster" (truck, lorry); "das Frachtschiff" = "der Frachter" (freighter); "der
Fußballspieler" = "der Fußballer" (soccer player).

"-erei" can designate a negative situation or activity:

"die Barbarei" (barbarism); "die Heuchelei" (hypocrisy); "die Schlägerei" (brawl); "die Schweinerei" (mess; swinishness)

"-erei" can also be appended to most verbs to denote an activity taken to extremes, e.g. "die Fahrerei" (a tedious amount of driving).

Note also: "die Datei" (data file); "die Kartei" (card file).

"-ler" and "-lerin" also designate a person with a particular function, but here the suffix is attached to a noun, rather than a verb:

"der/die Muttersprachler/in" (native speaker); "der/die CDUler/in" (member of the CDU); "der/die Abstinenzler/in" (teetotaler); "der/die Sportler athlete/in" (native
speaker); "der/die Wissenschaftler/in" (scientist); "der/die Gewerkschaftler/in" (unionist); "der/die Frauenrechtler/in" (feminist); "der/die Schwergewichtler/in"
(heavyweight); "der/die Straftrechtler/in" (criminal lawyer).

Often the stem noun is umlauted:

"der/die Hauptfächler/in" (major [a student who majors in a subject]); "der/die Erstklässler/in" (first-grader); "der/die Künstler/in" (artist); "der/die Hinterbänkler/in"
(back-bencher); "der/die Hinterwäldler/in" (someone from the back woods; hick); "der/die Zuchthäusler/in" (convict); "der/die Freiberufler/in" (freelancer); "der/die
Ausflügler/in" (excursionist; someone on an outing); "der/die Nachzügler/in" (latecomer; straggler ).

If there is an "-e" at the end of the stem noun, it is deleted. Thus a specialist in local history ("Heimatkunde") becomes "der/die Heimatkundler/in".

The created noun is not necessarily a human: "der/die Tausendfüßler" (millipede; centipede).

Further examples of suffixes that create nouns denoting people ("-ant"; "-antin"; "-är"; "-ärin"; "-ent"; "-entin"; "-eur"; "-eurin"; "-
euse"; "-ling"; "-öse"; "-or"; "-orin"):

"-ant" and "-antin" or "-ent" and "-entin" tend to be attached to verbs that end in "-ieren":

absolvieren der/die Absolvent/in alumnus/alumna; graduate

assistieren der/die Assistent/in assistant
demonstrieren der/die Demonstrant/in demonstrator; protester
dozieren der/die Dozent/in university lecturer
konkurrieren der/die Konkurrent/in competitor; rival
liefern [!] der/die Lieferant/in delivery person
spekulieren der/die Spekulant/in speculator
studieren der/die Student/in student

Deliverymen, please turn off your engines!

Other such suffixes include "-ator" (-atorin); "-är" ("-ärin"), "-eur" ("-eurin" or "-euse" or "-öse"), "-or" ("-orin"):

"der/die Diktator/in" (dictator); "der/die Sekretär/in" (secretary); "der/die Volontär/in" (intern); "der Frisör / die Friseuse [or: Frisöse]" (barber; hairdresser);
"der/die Ingenieur/in" (engineer); "der/die Regisseur/in" ([film or theater] director); "der/die Direktor/in" (director [of a business or other organization]);
"der/die Lektor/in" (editor); "der Traktor" (tractor); "der Ventilator" (fan)

Berlin Memorial Plaque

Here lived from 1931 to 1933 and from 1945 to 1946
Ernst Busch
Actor and director, singer of political songs ("Barricades-Tauber"). Emigrated
1933. From 1943 to 1945 imprisoned by the Gestapo. Member of the Berliner
Ensemble from 1950. [In reference to Richard Tauber, a famous opera singer
in the 1920s, and to Busch's political engagement, he was called "the Tauber
of the barricades"]

Yet another suffix for persons: "-ling" (plus an umlaut). It always masculine, even when a female is meant. The plural is "-e". Often - but not always - the person
is in some way vulnerable; sometimes the term is meant disparagingly:

"der Ankömmling" (newcomer); der Emporkömmling (parvenue); "der Neuankömmling" (newcomer; johnny-come-lately); "der Flüchtling" (refugee; fugitive);
"der Fremdling" (stranger); "der Günstling" (minion); "der Häftling" (prisoner); "der Häuptling" (chieftain); "der Lehrling" (apprentice); "der Säugling"
(nursling; infant); "der Schwächling" (weakling).

The Suffix "-at":

The suffix "-at" can be added to foreign words to create (usually) neuter nouns with various meanings. The plural is "-e" (except for "die Akrobaten"):

"der [!] Akrobat" (acrobat); "das Antiquariat" (second-hand bookstore); "das Dikat" (dictation; diktat); "das Konsulat" (consulate); "das Proletariat" (proletariat);
"das Referat" (seminar paper); "das Telefonat" (telephone call); "das Traktat" (treatise).

The Suffix "-schaft":

The suffix "-schaft" (cognate with the English "-ship") can be added to nouns, adjectives, or verbs to create a feminine noun denoting certain categories of group,
state of being, or activity. The plural is always "-schaften."

Psychotherapeutic Group Practice

Individual and Couples Counseling

Category 1: A group, or things associated with such a group:

"die Beamtenschaft" (civil service); "die Botschaft" (embassy; message); "die Bruderschaft" (fraternity); "die Bürgerschaft" (citizenry; citizenship); "die
Gegnerschaft" (opponents; emnity); "die Gesandtschaft" (the duties and/or the residence and office of an ambassador); "die Hinterlassenschaft" (bequest;
legacy); "die Ortschaft" (locality; town); "die Studentenschaft" (student body).

Category 2: An organization:

"die Gemeinschaft" (community; association; collective); "die Gesellschaft" (society; [commercial] company); "die Gewerkschaft" (labor union); "die
Mannschaft" (team)

Category 3: An activity or something associated with it:

"die Errungenschaft" (acquisition; accomplishment); die Rechenschaft (account; accountability)

Category 4: A state of being or something associated with that state:

"die Bekanntschaft" (acquaintance; acquaintanceship); "die Bereitschaft" (readiness); "die Freundschaft" (friendship); "die Gefangenschaft" (captivity); "die
Meisterschaft" (mastery; championship); "die Mitwisserschaft" (cognizance); "die Mutterschaft" (maternity); "die Vaterschaft" (paternity); "die Wirtschaft"
(economy; economic system; inn); "die Wissenschaft" (science).

The Suffix "-tum":

The suffix "-tum" (cognate with the English "-dom") can be added to nouns, adjectives, and verbs to denote a condition (or result of that condition), an action, or a
collective idea (or result of that idea). With two exceptions, the resulting nouns are always neuter. The plural is "-tümer".

"das Christentum" (Christianity); "das Eigentum" (property; possession"; "das Heldentum" (heroism); "der [!] Irrtum" (state of error; error); "das Judentum"
(Jewry; Judaism); "das Königtum" (kingdom); "der [!] Reichtum" (riches); "das Volkstum" (folklore); "das Wachstum" (growth; increase).

The Suffixes "-art" and "-sorte":

Since "die Art" and "die Sorte" exist as nouns in their own right, they can be considered as part of compound nouns, as well as suffixes. "Die Art" (kind; species)
can appear in three structures: "diese Art von Vogel," "diese Art Vogel," and "diese Vogelart". Each means "this kind of bird," although "Vogelart" is, of the three,
most likely to be translated as "bird-species." Other examples of "-art":

"die Redensart" (saying; idiom; expression; colloquialism); "die Sportart" ([a particular] sport)

"-sorte" (kind; sort) is similar, but it "is limited to two uses: (a) it is applied to things, particularly food, in so far as they are bought and sold; (b) it is a term of
contempt applied particularly to persons."2
"die Menschensorte" (type of person); "die Obstsorte" (kind of fruit); "die Weinsorte" (kind of wine).

The Suffixes "-sal" and "-sel":

The suffix "-sal" normally denotes the subject, object, or result of an activity:

"das Labsal" (refreshment); "die Mühsal" (hardship; plight); "das Scheusal" (monster); "das Schicksal" ([imposed] fate); "die Trübsal" (affliction; tribulation)

"-sel" denotes a thing, sometimes with the connotation of insignificance:

"das Mitbringsel" (a small gift [e.g. a hostess gift]; "das Überbleibsel" (remnant; left-over object)
But also: "das Blutgerinnsel" (blood clot); "der Stöpsel" (stopper; cork; bung).

The Suffix "-wesen":

"-wesen" indicates a field of study, an area of intellectual activity, or a system:

"das Bildungswesen" (field of education; system of education); "das Gesundheitswesen" (health care); "das Ingenieurwesen" (engineering); "das
Rechnungswesen" (accounting).

The Suffix "-zeug":

Since "das Zeug" ("stuff") exists as a noun in its own right, albeit an informal one, it can be considered as part of compound noun, as well as a suffix. In the form of
"-zeug" appended to a verb, it indicates an instrument for carrying out that activity:

"das Fahrzeug" (vehicle); "das Flugzeug" (airplane); ; "das Schreibzeug" (writing utensils); "das Spielzeug" (toy); "das Werkzeug" (tool).

Suffixes for the Creation of Adjectives and Adverbs

The Suffix "-artig":

"-artig" can be added to a noun or adjective to indicate manner or resemblance:

"affenartig" (ape-like); "fremdartig" (strange); "großartig" (grand); "turmartig" (tower-like).

The Suffix "-bar":

"-bar" can be affixed to nouns or verbs to denote "-ability" or a possession of the implied quality:

"bespielbar" (playable); "dankbar" (grateful); "fruchtbar" (fruitful; fertile); "lesbar" (legible); "schiffbar" (navigable);
"unsichtbar" (invisible; "sonderbar" (peculiar); "strafbar" (punishable by law); "trinkbar" (potable); "unfehlbar" (infallible)

The Suffix "-en"

Attached to the word for a kind of material, "-en" (or, when the stem is plural and ends in "-r", "-n") can form an adjective
indicating that the modified noun is made of that material (or has one or more of its characteristics):

"gläsern" (of glass); "golden" (golden); "hölzern" (wooden); "silbern" (silver); "wächsern" (waxen); "wollen" (woolen).

The Adjectival Suffix "-er"

Fire-extinguisher box Attached to the name of a city (or of Switzerland), "-er" creates the adjectival
under camera surveillance. form, which remains capitalized and does not take any further endings:
Misuse punishable by law!
"die Berliner Opernhäuser" the Berlin opera houses
"der Mainzer Dom" the Mainz Catherdral
"das Münchner Bier" Munich beer
"ein Schweizer Dialekt" a Swiss dialect
"die Weimarer Republik" the Weimar Republic

The Suffix "-erlei":

"-erlei" has the meaning "kind(s) of". It is not inflected:

"allerlei" (all kinds of)

Es gibt allerlei Menschen in der Welt. Viennese Chic
There are all kinds of people in the world

"einerlei" (of one kind)

Es ist mir einerlei, ob du mitkommst oder nicht, .
It's all the same to me whether or not you come along .

"beiderlei" (of both)

Kinder beiderlei Geschlechts können mitspielen.
Children of both sexes can join in the game.

"zweierlei" (two kinds of)

Es gibt zweierlei Menschen in der Welt: die, die reich sind, und die, die wünschten, sie wären es.
There are two kinds of people in the world: those who are rich, and those who wish they were.

The Suffixes "-fach", "-fältig", "-mal", and "-malig":

"-fach"; "-fältig", "-mal" and "-malig" add the meanings of "-fold" or "times" to numbers. The adjectives "-fach", "-fältig", and "-malig" are inflected; "-mal"
is always an adverb:

"einmal" (once); "zweimal" (twice); "vielfältig" (manifold; multifaceted; varied); "zweifach" (two-fold).

Sometimes the word takes on a figurative meaning: "einfach" (single; simple); "einfältig" (simple-minded); "einmalig" (unique).

The Suffix "-haft":

"-haft" can be affixed to a great many adjectives and nouns to indicate having the qualities of the stem word.

"boshaft" (malicious); "dauerhaft" (long-lasting); "ehrenhaft" (honorable); "ekelhaft" (nauseating); "glaubhaft" (credible); "krankhaft" (morbid); "lebhaft"
(lively); "schmeichelhaft" (flattering); "schwatzhaft" (chatty; loquacious); "tugendhaft" (virtuous); "wohnhaft" (domiciled)

Note: an older form, "-haftig" (e.g. "leibhaftig" [incarnate]), is much less frequent, but it replaces "-haft" if the adjective is then to become an abstract noun
using "-keit": e.g. "die Tugendhaftigkeit" (virtuousness).

Independent of eyeglasses and contact lenses.

The Suffix "-ig":

"-ig" is somewhat similar in function to "-haft":

1) When affixed to a noun (sometimes adding an umlaut), it denotes the presence of that thing or quality:

Unauthorized parked vehicles will be towed with charges

"fleißig" (industrious); "fettig" (greasy); "freudig" (joyous; glad); "sandig (sandy); "sonnig" (sunny); "traurig" (sad); "unabhängig" (independent); "verdächtig"

2)"-ig" (and adding an umlaut where possible) can also turn a span or unit of time into an adjective:

"ein fünfjähriger Junge" (a five-year-old boy); "eine zweitägige Autofahrt" (a two-day drive); "eine mehrwöchige Reise" (a journey of several weeks); "die
heutige Jugend" (today's youth).

3) "-ig" also adds the sense of "inclined to":

Beware of the biting dog.
"bissig" (inclined to bite); "ergiebig" (productive"); "freigiebig" (generous, lavish); "feinfühlig" (sensitive; of delicate feeling); "gefällig" (agreeable; anxious to
please); "gläubig" (believing; religious); "hartherzig" (hard-hearted); "schwerhörig" (hard of hearing)

The Suffix "-isch":

"-isch", cognate with English "-ish", has a number of the same functions:

1) When affixed to a noun (often one that is derived from a verb using "-er"), "-isch" can denote its associated qualities:
"allergisch" (allergic); "demokratisch" (democratic); "dichterisch" (poetic); "erfindersich" (inventive); "fachmännisch" (expert; craftsmanlike); "höllisch"
(infernal); "irdisch" (earthly); "kriegerisch" (warlike); "malerisch" (picturesque); "phobisch" (phobic); "tierisch" (animalistic; bestial); "träumerisch" (dreamy);
"verschwenderisch" (extravagant; wasteful).

2) Other kinds of associations with "-isch":

"biologisch" (biological), "historisch" (historical); "hysterisch" (hysterical); "kindisch" (childish - compare "kindlich" [childlike]); "künstlerisch" (artistic)-
compare "künstlich" (artificial); "linkisch" (awkward; bumbling); "regnerisch" (rainy); "städtisch" (municipal); "mürrisch" (crabby); "zänkisch" (quarrelsome).

3) "-isch" can create the adjectival form of a city, region, country, or people:3
"amerikanisch" (American); "badisch" (from or of Baden); "berlinerisch" (of or from Berlin); "englisch" (English); "französisch" (French); "italienisch" (Italian);
"jüdisch" (Jewish); "niederländisch" (Dutch); "norwegisch" (Norwegian); "russisch" (Russian); "spanisch" (Spanish).

4) The same word can also usually, when appropriate, become a neuter noun that designates the language:
"(das) Englisch" (English; the English language); "(das) Französisch" (French; the French language); "(das) Schwedisch"
(Swedish; the Swedish language).

The Suffix "-iv":

"-iv" is cognate with English "-ive" and forms adjectives or adverbs that need no translation:

"aggressiv", "aktiv", "alternativ", "argumentativ", "attraktiv", "dekorativ", "effektiv", "fiktiv", "impulsiv", "instinctiv",
"intensiv", "primitiv", etc.

The Suffix "-lich":

"-lich" is cognate with English "-ly" (e.g. friendly), but it cannot be used to differentiate an adverb from an adjective the way
that "-ly" can (e.g. quick - quickly). "-lich" is affixed to nouns, verbs, or adjectives to create an adjective or an adverb
indicating qualities implied by the stem.

Often the stem vowel is umlauted:

"ängstlich" (timid; anxious; fearful); "ärmlich" (squalid; impoverished); "brüderlich" (brotherly); "gebräuchlich"
(common; customary); "jährlich" (annual); "jämmerlich" (wretched); "käuflich" (purchasable; corrupt);
"kränklich" (sickly); "kürzlich" (recently); "männlich" (masculine; manly); "mütterlich" (maternal; motherly);
"nebensächlich" (secondary; negligible); "täglich" (daily); "tödlich" (deadly; fatal); "unmissverständlich"
(unequivocal); "väterlich" (paternal; fatherly); "verlässlich" (reliable); "völlig" (completely); "zärtlich" (tender).

But often it is not:

"behaglich" (comfortable; cozy); "fraglich" (questionable); "sachlich" (objective; to the point); "sportlich"
(athletic; sporty); "sprachlich" (linguistic); "stattlich" (stately; grand); "tauglich" (capable; qualified);
"unerforschlich" (inscrutable); "unglaublich" (unbelievable); "verdaulich" (digestible).

Occasionally, "-lich" is extended to "-erlich":

"fürchterlich" (frightful; appalling); "lächerlich" (ridiculous); "leserlich" (readable).

When the stem ends in "-en", a so-called "excrescent -t-" is interjected before the suffix:
"hoffentlich" (hopefully; it is to be hoped); "gelegentlich" (occasional); "tunlich" (feasible); "wissentlich" (knowingly); "wöchentlich" (weekly).

Further examples of "-lich:

"bekanntlich" (as is well known); "bestechlich" (bribable; corruptible); "friedlich" (peaceful); "glücklich" (happy; fortunate); "kindlich" (childlike - compare
"kindisch" [childish]); "kleinlich" (petty); "künstlich" (artificial - compare "künstlerisch" [artistic]); "polizeilich" (of or by the police); "schriftlich" (written);
"sinnlich" (sensual); "unentbehrlich" (indispensable); "unerklärlich" (inexplicable); "unnachahmlich" (inimitable); "unzertrennlich" (inseparable); "weiblich"

Smoking can be deadly.

Nothing is impossible.

The Suffixes "-los", "-leer", "-arm", and "-frei" all indicate a lack or scarcity.

"-los" is cognate with the English "-less" and has the same function:

"arbeitslos" (unemployed); "ärmellos" (sleeveless); "bewegungslos" (motionless); "endlos" (never-ending); "gefühllos" (unfeeling);
"humorlos" (humorless); "mitleidslos" (unpitying); "regungslos" (motionless); "sprachlos" (speechless); "verantwortungslos"

"-leer" means empty of, indicating that something used to be there that is now gone:
"luftleer" (void of air); "menschenleer" (empty of people; deserted).

"-arm" means low in:

"fettarm" (low-fat); "kalorienarm" (low in calories).

"-frei" means free of and implies something positive:

"eisfrei" (clear of ice); "sorgenfrei" (carefree).

The Suffixes "-mäßig" and "-gemäß":

"-mäßig" and "-gemäß" establish an abstract connection to the stem word. Modern usage sometimes goes overboard in their

"berufsmäßig" (professional; related to the profession)

Diese Arbeit bringt mit sich wenig berufsmäßige Erfahrung.
This work provides little professional experience.

"gesetzmäßig" (lawful; legal)

Sein Prozess war gesetzmäßig verlaufen.
His trial had proceeded legally.

"zahlenmäßig" (in terms of numbers);

"leistungsmäßig" (in terms of accomplishment)
Nicht zahlenmäßig, aber leistungsmäßig war der Verein gut repräsentiert.
The club was well-represented in terms of accomplishment, if not in numbers.

"sprachmäßig" (in terms of language)

Die ausländische Studentin hat es sprachmäßig sehr weit gebracht.
The foreign student has achieved a lot in terms of language.

"verfassungssmäßig" (constitutional")
Das Gericht hat noch nicht entschieden, ob dieses Gesetz verfassungssmäßig ist.
The court hasn't yet decided if this law is constitutional.

"wettergemäß" (weatherwise)
Wettergemäß ist der Tag schön.
Weatherwise it's a beautiful day.

The Suffixes "-reich", and "-voll":

"-reich" and "-voll" indicate having a significant amount of something desirable:

"kalorienreich" (rich in calories); "segensreich" (beneficial); "traditionsreich" (full of tradition).

The Suffix "-sam":

"-sam", cognate with the English "-some" (e.g. "handsome") denotes an inclination toward the quality implied by the stem:

"biegsam" (flexible); "einsam" (lonely; solitary); "empfindsam" (sensitive; sentimental); "enthaltsam" (abstemious); "erholsam" (restorative); "folgsam" (obedient);
"furchtsam" (timid); "gewaltsam" (violent); "langsam" (slow); "mühsam" (laborius; tedious); "ratsam" (advisable); schweigsam (taciturn); "seltsam" (strange; peculiar);
"sparsam" (thrifty); "unaufhaltsam" (inexorable); "wirksam" (efficacious).

The Suffixes "-wert" and "-würdig":

"-wert" and "-würdig" denote that something is worth doing:

"fragwürdig" (questionable); "glaubwürdig" (believable); "hörenswert" (worth listen to"); "lesenswert" (worth reading); "liebenswert" (lovable; adorable); "liebenswürdig"
(lovable; kind; agreeable); "merkwürdig" (strange); "sehenswert" or "sehenswürdig" (worth seeing); "vertrauenswürdig" (trustworthy); "wissenswert" (worth knowing).

1 Quoted from a discussion about ethnic minorities at ( ).
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2R. B. Farrell, Dictionary of German Synonyms, 3rd edition (Cambridge UP,

1977), p. 177.
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3 Note that "-er" also creates the adjectival form of a city. The adjective is
capitalized and not inflected (see: "-er" as an adjectival suffix).
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