Lately I’ve been using the suffix “-ish” to modify an adjective quite often. It’s one of those things that quietly took over my vocabulary; I’m pretty certain that a few years back, I may have used it a couple of times a year, if at all, while these days I drop it several times a day. When I said the word “earlyish” today, it started me thinking: Why am I so obsessed with this suffix?
At first, I was certain that it wasn’t a proper suffix like “-ing,” but rather a slang term that just appeared among modern use and took off like the appearance of “friend” as a verb after the arrival of Facebook. However, a quick search at Dictionary.com proved me wrong:
-ish( ); ( ); ( ); ( ).
2. a suffix used to form adjectives from other adjectives, with the sense of “somewhat,” “rather” ( oldish; reddish; sweetish).
Apparently, it’s derived from the Old and Middle English (originally spelled “-isc”), and has similar synonyms in German and Greek. So it’s not only a proper suffix, it’s ancient! (Also, I forgot that “-ish” is used to denote where someone is from, for example, Scottish. Embarrassing.)
So there was my mini-vocab lesson of the day! I’m sure that “-ish” will continue to be my favorite suffix for a longish time to come. 😉
What’s your favorite suffix?