Nov 26, 2012 | Language

My husband has this silly but amusing (our children may disagree…) habit of adding random suffixes to the end of words. So we started with time for some foodage and, my favourite, there are no buses, we’ll have to get a cabbage.  He then moved through a series of inanities (sofaisation, bedology – you get the picture) and now seems to have taken it to the nth degree so that at the moment everything that can (ie it’s got one syllable) becomes –ington bear. I know, he needs to get out more.

But my husband, though clearly mad, is of course not alone in doing this. Adding a suffix to an existing word is a common way of bringing new words into the language, and can inspire a generation. These words sometimes just fade in and then out again, but sometimes stick around permanently.

Think about –athons – what started with marathon has evolved into telathon, bakeathon, – even complainathon! Entertainment gave birth to docutainment, edutainment and newstainment. The -itude in attitude also works well – morphing into geekitude,  duditude and drunkitude.  And what scandal hasn’t had a –gate added to it? In the UK alone we’ve had Sachsgate, Camillagate, even pastygate. Not forgetting, of course, Wallace and Gromit’s woollygate

It seems there is no end to the suffixes that can be, and will be, added. Some will stay, -gate is going nowhere, but I think my husband will need to work hard to find cashington bear becoming a household word…

Do you use any silly (or otherwise) suffixes?

Inspired by: and (and my husband)