11 Words Creative Suffixes That Inspire New Words

11 Creative Suffixes That Inspire New  Words

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People love coining new words. And they love making good use of them—for a  while anyway. Romnesia, bromance, adultescence, and Frankenstorm are just a few  of the creative blends that have recently made it big but probably won’t stick  around.

Sometimes, however, a coinage is so apt and useful that it does stick. When  that happens, we sometimes get more than just one new word; we get a new kind of  word ending, one that goes on to a long, productive career in word formation.  “Bookmobile” was born in the 1920s and went on to spawn the likes of  “bloodmobile,” “Wienermobile,” and “pimpmobile.” “Workaholic” is a creation of  the late 60s that led to everything from “chocoholic” to “sleepaholic” to  “Tweetaholic.” But not all of these creative endings have staying power. We  don’t hear much today from the “bootlegger”-inspired “-leggers” of the 1940s—the  foodleggers, gasleggers, tireleggers, and meatleggers who were circumventing the  law to deal in valuable rationed goods.

Here are 11 other word endings that have become productive to varying  degrees. You can probably think of a lot more to add to this list. Will they  stand the test of time?

1. -nomics

With its origins in the staid and straightforward Nixonomics and Reaganomics,  this one has rather promiscuously attached itself to almost everything:  burgernomics, beeronomics, sexonomics and so on. All the better for its  reproductive advantage—elementary survivalnomics!

2. -athon

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According to the Oxford English Dictionary, this one was “barbarously  extracted” from “marathon” back in the 1930s, and it’s proved its staying power  since. Whether for a good cause or for no cause at all, our telethons,  danceathons, bakeathons, drinkathons, complainathons and assorted other  verbathons, have made this past century something of an athonathon.

3. -gate

This mark of scandal became productive almost immediately after the break in  at the Watergate office complex was uncovered in the early 70s. Anywhere there’s  a lie, an impropriety, or a cover-up, -gate will find a foothold. It has even  spread to other languages: see “toallagate” (towelgate), a term coined after the  Mexican government was revealed to have purchased $400 towels for the  presidential residences. There’s a whole Wikipedia page devoted to –gate  scandals.

4. -splaining

Mansplaining, nerdsplaining, vegansplaining, catsplaining – seems like  everybody’s got  some ‘splaining to do these days.

5. -cation

It started with the staycation and the playcation. Soon –cation no longer  cared to preserve the rhyme with vacation, and it roamed free among our leisure  pursuits: foodcation, golfcation, shopcation, sleepcation. It can also refer to  a break from work. Did you enjoy a recent stormcation? Are you hoping for a few  days of snowcation this winter? Or will that make you long for a kidcation?

6. -tainment

Edutainment, watertainment, agritainment, newstainment—why be boring when you  can wordertain?

7. -itude

You better check your momitude, geekitude, dudeitude, snarkitude, drunkitude  or New Yorkitude. And if it works for you, wear it with prideitude!

8. -tastic

It’s cheesetastic! It’s craft-tastic! It’s awesometastic!  Almost anything  can be made fantastic with this ending. It can even bring out the unrecognized  positive qualities of that which is grosstastic, sadtastic, or craptastic.  Beware the –tastic meaning drift, however. Craptastic wavers between “so crappy  it’s great” and just “super crappy.”

9. -licious

Babelicious, bootylicious, funalicious, partylicious, biblicious,  yogalicious, mathalicious—if you like it, celebrate it with a –licious!

10. -pocalypse

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Snowpocalypse! Heatpocalypse! Will the world end in firepocalypse or  icepocalypse? This one seems to have begun in the domain of weather reports, but  hysterical exaggeration has proved useful elsewhere. Have you not heard Rush  Limbaugh’s warning of Barackalypse? The e-reader’s bringing of the  bookpocalypse? See also: wordmageddon.

11. -gasm

This new word ending offers the … um … ultimate in excitement. Eargasm,  joygasm, sportsgasm, teagasm, soupgasm, stylegasm, and yes, ectoplasmgasm.

November 13, 2012 – 5:11am

Read the full text here:  http://mentalfloss.com/article/13056/11-creative-suffixes-inspire-new-words#ixzz2alemvFgQ –brought to you by mental_floss!


2 thoughts on “11 Words Creative Suffixes That Inspire New Words

  1. Goes to show how many newly coined words we are not even aware if or notice have appeared in the English language. Great examples of compounding and affixiation with the formation of these new words.

  2. This article shows that in today’s society that we commonly use suffixes without realizing and we are constantly creating new words. The blending of two words to create a whole new one seems to give the user of the language a stronger meaning to the new lexeme.

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