Suffixes in Hebrew

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There are several suffixes in Hebrew which are appended to regular words to introduce a new meaning. Suffixes are used in the Hebrew language to form plurals of nouns and adjectives, in verb conjugation of grammatical tense, and to indicate possession and direct objects. They are also used for the construct noun form. The letters which form these suffixes (excluding plurals) are called "formative letters" (Hebrew: אוֹתִיּוֹת הַשִּׁמּוּשׁ, Otiyot HaShimush).

Gender and Number[edit]

Due to noun-adjective agreement rules, these apply to nouns and to adjectival modifiers. In some cases, a masculine plural noun will have a feminine plural suffix and vice versa, but the adjectival modifiers are always the same.

Suffix Meaning Examples
ָה   (Kamatz and He) feminine singular
  • סוּסָה susa (mare)
  • סוּסָה טוֹבָה susa tova (good mare)
ִים   (Chirik male and Mem) masculine plural
  • סוּסִים susim (horses)
  • סוּסִים טוֹבִים susim tovim (good horses)
וֹת (Cholam and Tav) feminine plural
  • סוּסוֹת susot (mares)
  • סוּסוֹת טוֹבוֹת susot tovot (good mares)
ַיִם   (Patach, Yud with Hiriq and Mem) masculine and feminine noun dual form
  • יָדַיִם yadayim (two hands)

Construct State[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ַת   (Patach and Tav) Changes a singular feminine noun to the construct form. of תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁה Torat Moshe (Torah of Moses)
ֵי   (Tzere and Yud) Changes a plural masculine noun to the construct form. of סִפְרֵי קְדוּשָׁה Sifre k'dushah (Books of holiness)

Pronominal Suffixes[edit]

Singular nouns[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִי   (Chirik and Yud) First person, singular possessive. My
  • סוּסִי susi (my horse)
  • תּוֹרָתִי torati (my law)
ְךָ   (Shva and Final Chaf with Kamatz) Second person, singular, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְךָ suscha (your horse)
  • תּוֹרָתְךָ toratcha (your law)
ֵךְ   (Tzere and Final Chaf with Shva) Second person, singular, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵךְ susech (your horse)
  • תּוֹרָתֵךְ toratech (your law)
וֹ ( Cholam male) Third person, singular, masculine possessive. His
  • סוּסוֹ suso (his horse)
  • תּוֹרָתוֹ torato (his law)
ָהּ   (Kamatz and He with Mappiq) Third person, singular, feminine possessive. Her
  • סוּסָהּ susah (her horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָהּ toratah (her law)
ֵנוּ   (Tzere and Nun with Shuruk) First person, plural possessive. Our
  • סוּסֵנוּ susenu (our horse)
  • תּוֹרָתֵנוּ toratenu (our law)
ְכֶם   (Shva, Chaf with Segol and Final Mem) Second person, plural , masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְכֶם suschem (your horse)
  • תּוֹרַתְכֶם toratchem (your law)
ְכֶן   (Shva,Chaf with Segol and Final Nun) Second person, plural , feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְכֶן suschen (your horse)
  • תּוֹרַתְכֶן toratchen (your law)
ָם   (Kamatz and Final Mem) Third person, plural , masculine possessive. Their
  • סוּסָם susam (their horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָם toratam (their law)
ָן   (Kamatz and Final Nun) Third person, plural , feminine possessive. Their
  • סוּסָן susan (their horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָן toratan (their law)

Plural nouns[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ַי   (Patach and Yud) First person, singular possessive. My
  • סוּסַי susai (my horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתַי torotai (my laws)
ֶיךָ   (Segol, Yud and Final Chaf with Kamatz) Second person, singular, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֶיךָ susecha (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֶיךָ torotecha (your laws)
ַיִךְ   (Patach, Yud with Chirik and Final Chaf with Shva) Second person, singular, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסַיִךְ susayich (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתַיִךְ torotayich (your laws)
ָיו   (Kamatz, Yud and Vav) Third person, singular, masculine possessive. His
  • סוּסָיו susav (his horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתָיו torotav (his laws)
ֶיהָ   (Segol, Yud and He with Kamatz) Third person, singular, feminine possessive. Her
  • סוּסֶיהָ suseha (her horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֶיהָ toroteha (her laws)
ֵינוּ   (Tzere, Yud and Nun with Shuruk) First person, plural possessive. Our
  • סוּסֵינוּ suseinu (our horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵינוּ toroteinu (our laws)
ֵיכֶם   (Tzere, Yud, Chaf with Segol and Final Mem) Second person, plural , masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵיכֶם suseichem (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיכֶם toroteichem (your laws)
ֵיכֶן   (Tzere, Yud,Chaf with Segol and Final Nun) Second person, plural , feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵיכֶן suseichen (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתְכֶן torateichen (your laws)
ֵיהֶם   (Tzere, Yud, He with Segol) and Final Mem) Third person, plural , masculine possessive. Their
  • סוּסֵיהֶם suseihem (their horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיהֶם torateihem (their laws)
ֵיהֶן   (Kamatz and Final Nun) Third person, plural , feminine possessive. Their
  • סוּסֵיהֶן suseihen (their horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיהֶן torateihen (their laws)

Conjugation of verbs[edit]

Perfect[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ָה   (Kamatz and He) Third person, feminine singular. She did שָׁמְרָה shamra (she kept)
תָּ (Tav with Kamatz) Second person, masculine singular. You did שָׁמַרְתָּ shamarta (you kept)
תְּ (Tav with Sh'va) Second person, feminine singular. You did שָׁמַרְתְּ shamart (you kept)
תִּי (Tav with Hiriq male) First person singular. I did שָׁמַרְתִּי shamarti (I kept)
וּ (Shuruk) Third person plural. They did שָׁמְרוּ shamru (they kept)
תֶּם (Tav with Segol and Final Mem) Second person, masculine plural. You did שָׁמַרְתֶּם shamartem (you kept)
תֶּן (Tav with Segol and Final Nun) Second person, feminine plural. You did שָׁמַרְתֶּן shamarten (you kept)
נוּ (Nun with Shuruk) First person plural. We did שָׁמַרְנוּ shamarnu (we kept)

Imperfect[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִי   (Chirik male) Second person, feminine singular. You will do
  • תִּשְׁמְרִי tishm'ri (you will keep)
וּ (Cholam male) Third and Second person, masculine plural. They will do, You will do
  • יִשְׁמְרוּ yishm'ru (they will keep)
  • תִּשְׁמְרוּ tishm'ru (you will keep)
נָה (Nun with Kamatz and He) Third and Second person, feminine plural. They will do, You will do
  • תִּשְׁמֹרְנָה tishmorna (they will keep)
  • תִּשְׁמֹרְנָה tishmorna (you will keep)

Imperative[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִי   (Chirik male) Feminine singular. do! שִׁמְרִי shimri (keep!)
וּ (Cholam male) Masculine plural. do! שִׁמְרוּ shimru (keep!)
נָה (Nun with Kamatz and He) Feminine plural. do! שְׁמֹרְנָה shmorna (keep!)

Diminutive[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
וֹן (Cholam male and Nun) Diminutive, sometimes masculine
  • סֵפֶר sefer (book) → סִפְרוֹן sifron (booklet)
  • מַחְשֵׁב machshev (computer) → מַחְשֵׁבוֹן machshevon (calculator)
  • מִטְבָּח mitbach (kitchen) → מִטְבָּחוֹן mitbachon (kitchenette)
ִית   (Chirik male and Tav) Diminutive, sometimes feminine
  • שַׂק sak (sack) → שַׂקִית sakit (bag)
  • כַּף kaf (spoon) → כַּפִּית kapit (teaspoon)

Loanwords[edit]

These sufixes (Hebrew: סוֹפִית sofit) often come from loanwords from English (Latin, Greek, etc...) which are especially prevalent with technical and academic terms.

Suffix Origin Hebrew Meaning Examples
-graphy Ladino גְרַפְיָה- -grafya field of study; writing
  • גֵּאוֹגְרַפְיָה geografya (hard g) geography
  • קָלִיגְרַפְיָה caligrafya calligraphy
-ic/-ical Biblical Hebrew/ English ִי- i of or pertaining to
  • נוֹסְטַלְגִּי nostalgi nostalgic
  • פּוֹלִיטִי politi political
  • מִיתִי miti mythic(al)
-ian/-an/-ish Biblical Hebrew/ English ִי- i belonging to
  • רוּסִי rusi Russian
  • אוּטוֹפִּי utopi utopian
  • גֶּרְמָנִי germani (hard g) German
  • בְּרִיטִי briti British
  • פּוֹלִיטִיקַאי politikai politician
  • קוֹמִיקַאי komikai comedian
-ar English ָרִי- ari pertaining to
  • מוֹלֶקוּלָרִי molekulari molecular
  • לִינֵאָרִי lineari linear
  • קַוִּי kavi (means: line-pertaining to) linear
-ism English יזְם- -izm movement; discriminatory belief
  • לִיבֶּרָלִיזְם liberalizm liberalism
  • סֶקְסִיזְם seksizm sexism
-kinesis Greek קִינֶזִיס- -kinezis movement, motion
  • טֶלֶקִינֶזִיס telekinezis telekinesis
  • פְּסִיכוֹקִינֶזִיס psikhokinezis psychokinesis
-logy (and -ology) Ladino לוֹגְיָה- -logya branch of learning
  • בִּיוֹלוֹגְיָה biyologya (hard g) biology
  • טְרִילוֹגְיָה trilogya trilogy
-mania Greek מַנְיָה- -manya obsession
  • פִּירוֹמַנְיָה piromanya (means: pyro-mania) pyromania
  • קְלֶפְּטוֹמַנְיָה kleptomanya (means: klepto-mania) kleptomania
-maniac English מָן- -man person with obsession
  • פִּירוֹמָן piroman (means: pyro-maniac) pyromaniac
  • קְלֶפְּטוֹמָן kleptoman (means: klepto-maniac) kleptomaniac
-oid English וֹאִיד- -oid similar, but not the same
  • אַנְדְּרוֹאִיד android android
  • הוּמָנוֹאִיד humanoid humanoid
-onym English וֹנִים- -onim name
  • אֶפּוֹנִים eponim eponym
  • הֶטְרוֹנִים hetronim heteronym
-scope English סְקוֹפּ- -skop instrument for viewing
  • טֶלֶסְקוֹפּ teleskop telescope
  • טְרַנְסְאַטְלַנְטִי mikroskop microscope
-esque French ֶסְקָה- -eska resembling
  • בּוּרְלֶסְקָה burleska burlesque
  • הוּמוֹרֶסְקָה humoreska humoresque
  • גְּרוֹטֶסְקִי groteski grotesque
-y Ladino יָה- -ya having the quality of
  • קוֹמֶדְיָה komedya comedy
  • הִיסְטוֹרְיָה historya history
  • פִילוֹסוֹפְיָה filosofya philosophy
-meter English מֶטֶר- -meter measuring device;
units of measure
  • בָּרוֹמֶטֶר barometer barometer
  • קִילוֹמֶטֶר kilometer kilometer
-nik Yiddish נִיק- nik one connected with
  • מוֹשַׁבְנִיק moshavnik moshav member/resident
  • נוּדְנִיק nudnik bothersome person

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]