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Esperanto: Affixes

Greyed suffixes are unofficial


bo- related by marriage, in-law
bopatrino, mother-in-law
bofrato, brother-in-law
bon- good (not strictly a prefix, but very common)
bongusta, delicious;
bonveni, welcome.
dis- separated, scattered
disfali, fall to pieces;
dissendi, broadcast
ek- sudden or momentary action
ekvidi, catch sight of;
ekbrili, flash
eks- ex-, former
eksedzino, ex-wife
eksestro, ex-boss
fi- lacking morally, perverse
fihomo, scoundrel;
filibro, porno book
ge- male and female together
gepatroj, parents;
gesinjoroj, Mr. and Mrs.
mal- opposite
malbona, bad;
malpura, dirty;
malami, hate
mis- wrongly, in error
misuzi, abuse;
miskompreni, misunderstand
pra- ancient, German Ur-
pratempo, days of yore;
praarbaro, ancient forest
◊ also means great in relational names
praavo, great-grandfather
re- again, once more
reveni, come again, return;
redoni, give back
retro- backward
retroiri, go backward;
retrotreni, drag backward

ge- is defined with the plural. Occasionally, however, it is used in the singular for either one of a couple: gepatro, parent; geedzo, spouse; gefrato, sibling.

mal- is the most useful of Esperanto's affixes. However, mal- is not without its problems:

  1. it tends to make words too long;
  2. it makes sentences monotonous; and
  3. it tends to get hidden in speech, since it is never accented in a word.

These problems have been known even to Zamenhof himself. Thus you will often find substitute opposites, usually in poetry. lanta = malrapida. A few have even made it into the official vocabulary (fini = malkomenci, morto = malvivo, milda = malsovaĝa).

sti(f)-, a prefix for relation by marriage but not by blood, never caught on: stipatro, stepfather; stifilino, stepdaughter.


-aĉcontemptible, worthy of dislike
homaĉo, jerk;
domaĉo, shack
-adaction (for nouns)
movado, movement;
kurado, running;
-adcontinuous action (for verbs)
movadi, to keep on moving;
kuradi, keep running
novaĵo, novelty;
bonaĵo, a good, benefit;
mangaĵo, food;
acetaĵo, purchase;
◊ also used for meat from a food animal:
bovaĵo, beef;
porkaĵo, pork;
fisaĵo, fish.
urbano, citizen; vilaĝano, villager;
Usonano, American; Aziano, Asian;
kristano, Christian; islamano, Muslim
-arcollective, set
arbaro, forest;
libraro, set of books;
homaro, humanity
-atormachine (like -il but larger and more complex)
lavatoro, washing machine;
kalkulatoro, (tabletop) calculator
videbla, visible;
legebla, legible
amikeco, friendship;
boneco, goodness
bonega, excellent;
varmega, hot;
domego, mansion
lernejo, school;
poŝtejo, post office;
kafejo, café
parolema, talkative;
amena, affectionate
-endwhich must be
pagenda, payable, due;
farenda, which must be done
-eritem out of collective
pluvero, raindrop;
monero, coin;
ĉenero, link
urbestro, mayor;
lernejestro, principal
dometo, cottage;
varmeta, lukewarm;
ŝtoneto, pebble
homiĉo, man;
boviĉo, bull
katido, kitten;
bovido, calf
-igcausing to be
sciigi, make known;
bruligi, set on fire;
blankigi, bleach
sciiĝi, become known;
sidiĝi, sit down;
ruĝiĝi, become red, blush;
◊ also works as a conversational passive:
Tiu pagiĝis, that was paid for.
tranĉilo, knife;
ludilo, toy;
televidilo, television set
-indworthy of
aminda, loveable;
laŭdinda, praiseworthy
-ingholder at one end
kandelingo, candlestick;
konektingo, socket
homino, woman;
bovino, cow
-ismmovement or principle
e.g., komunismo, socialismo, kristanismo
kuracisto, physician;
instruisto, teacher
-ivable to (= -ipov)
legiva, literate;
bruliva, combustible
monujo, purse;
abelujo, beehive;
salujo, saltshaker;
lavujo, sink;
banujo, bathtub;
pistujo, mortar;
◊ Also used to indicate many Eurasian countries:
Francujo, France;
Arabujo, Arabia;
Japanujo, Japan
junulo, youth;
mamulo, mammal;
aliulo, someone else
-um'stop-gap' suffix
gustumi, taste (s-th);
komunumo, fellowship;
plenumi, fulfill
-ĉjmasculine nickname
Anĉjo, Andy;
Viĉjo, Bill;
Roĉjo, Bob
-njfeminine nickname
Elinjo, Liz;
Kanjo, Kate;
Tinjo, Tina

Written by Andy West on 26 July 2009.