Softening suffixes in English


In Russian and we have a lot of different softening suffixes. Are there any in English? Like how would you rephrase as one word the following: a lovely chair, a most favorite small chair, a small lovely chair, a chair that is most comfortable.

I was thinking of using some suffixes like in the word "starlet" - one of the meanings of which is a small star but the words seem very odd and unnatural then.

  • a lovely chair - a chairly
  • a small lovely chair - a chairlette with -ette as a diminutive (makes something smaller)
  • a most favorite small chair - a chairestetteous
  • a chair that is most comfortable - a chairfyious

I think many English suffixes can't be used with nouns and change the words to an adjective, verb, adverb or e.t.c.

I looked here for the proper suffixes.


Posted 2016-11-28T11:46:23.530

Reputation: 23 612

Relevant: Diminutive forms in English, How are diminutives formed in recent English words?

– sumelic – 2016-11-28T12:02:06.347



This just doesn't work in English: the use of such suffixes is very restricted. For instance, your example starlet can't mean small star: it only means minor celebrity. I can't think of any such suffix that could be used after chair. Certainly no such word is in the official Scrabble dictionary.

But I am curious -- what are all these derivatives of стул in Russian?


Posted 2016-11-28T11:46:23.530

Reputation: 807

In Russian it is: стульчик, стульченька, стульчичек, стульчичёнок, стульчишка, стульчёночек, стульчичёночичек, стульчишечка, стулчичёноченька, стульчичёнушек, стульленёночичек, стульчишка and e.t.c They all have degree of emotional significance and size value. Some are more endearing while others are more diminutive. Some are more valuable while others are more beloved. – SovereignSun – 2016-11-28T12:35:33.357

@SovereignSun: Thank you! Are all these real? Google finds about half of them. Would anybody ever say стульчичёночичек in real life? – TonyK – 2016-11-28T12:51:29.200

Very very very rarely, I'd say 0.00001% possibility. But it is still possible. Anyway most of these words can be met in real life but not even a half of them are dictionary words. – SovereignSun – 2016-11-28T12:57:09.017

There's "drinky-poo". And you could say "chairy-wairy" but that's definitely baby talk. – John Feltz – 2016-11-29T05:24:41.197

@johnfeltz That is interesting. Do you have nore examples and info on where to search for such baby words. In Russia babies also say words that don't exust but sound very interesting and unordinary. Some people start using them afterwards. – SovereignSun – 2016-11-29T07:24:22.967

1 section 4.2 covers diminutives – John Feltz – 2016-11-29T13:07:48.233

1@JohnFeltz This link you gave is wonderful! I need a list of words that babies use and speak. – SovereignSun – 2016-12-01T12:57:39.800


The closest thing I can think of is the diminutive suffix -ie or -y. You may know from affectionate nicknames such as Billy, Mikey, Barbie, Paulie, etc., but it is sometimes used with common nouns as well: deafie, Aussie, boatie (remember Boaty McBoatface? Schoolie McSchoolface?). Note that this suffix isn't necessarily endearing, and is often used to belittle the suffixee: greenie, queenie, Rhodie, etc..

A more reliable option is using nice little __: A nice little chair.

J. Siebeneichler

Posted 2016-11-28T11:46:23.530

Reputation: 1 717

Yeh, I know perfectly well about using "a nice little", "a beautiful small", "a marvelous tiny" and e.t.c but is there some way we can one-word it? – SovereignSun – 2016-11-28T12:05:27.240

Look at the words "beddie", "kitty", "puppy" they are both diminutive and endearing I guess. But we can still say it's my lovely little beddie. – SovereignSun – 2016-11-28T12:11:32.867

@SovereignSun: beddie doesn't work for me, I'm afraid. There is the children's word beddie-byes, but no stand-alone word beddie. Can you post a link to an example of its use? – TonyK – 2016-11-28T12:26:31.090

1@SovereignSun: The first link is a letter by Lotte Lenya, an Austrian. The second is the plea of a drunkard ("Take me to my beddie"). So I would not count either of these as proper English. Interestingly, it seems that beddie does exist, but not as a diminutive of bed: it is (Australian?) slang for bedmate. – TonyK – 2016-11-28T12:41:41.643

I don't know if it's an Australian diminutive, but there's a Wikipedia article on Diminutives in Australian English, which may be germane to this discussion.

– None – 2016-11-28T12:56:51.730

TonyK slang for bedmate I heard that definition but it's slang and that's not exactly what interests me. – SovereignSun – 2016-11-28T12:58:28.670