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
  • סוּסָהsusa (mare)
  • סוּסָה טוֹבָהsusa tova (good mare)
ִ ים  (Chirik, Yud and Final Mem) masculine plural
  • סוּסִיםsusim (horses)
  • סוּסִים טוֹבִיםsusim tovim (good horses)
וֹת‬ (Cholam and Tav) feminine plural
  • סוּסוֹתsusot (mares)
  • סוּסוֹת טוֹבוֹתsusot tovot (good mares)
ַ יִם  (Patach, Yud with Chirik and Final Mem) masculine and feminine noun dual form
  • יָדַיִםyadayim (two hands)

Construct state[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ַ ת  (Patach and Tav) Changes a singular feminine noun to the construct form. of תּוֹרַת מֹשֶׁהTorat Moshe (Torah of Moses)
ֵ י  (Tzere and Yud) Changes a plural masculine noun to the construct form. of סִפְרֵי קְדֻשָּׁהSifre q'dusha (Books of holiness)

Pronominal suffixes[edit]

Singular nouns[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִ י  (Chirik and Yud) First person, singular possessive. My
  • סוּסִיsusi (my horse)
  • תּוֹרָתִיtorati (my law)
ְ ךָ  (Shva and Final Khaf with Kamatz) Second person, singular, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְךָsuskha (your horse)
  • תּוֹרָתְךָtoratkha (your law)
ֵ ךְ  (Tzere and Final Khaf with Shva) Second person, singular, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵךְsusekh (your horse)
  • תּוֹרָתֵךְtoratekh (your law)
וֹ‬ ( Cholam male) Third person, singular, masculine possessive. His
  • סוּסוֹsuso (his horse)
  • תּוֹרָתוֹtorato (his law)
ָ הּ  (Kamatz and He with Mappiq) Third person, singular, feminine possessive. Her
  • סוּסָהּsusah (her horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָהּtoratah (her law)
ֵ נוּ  (Tzere and Nun with Shuruk) First person, plural possessive. Our
  • סוּסֵנוּsusenu (our horse)
  • תּוֹרָתֵנוּtoratenu (our law)
ְ כֶם  (Shva, Khaf with Segol and Final Mem) Second person, plural, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְכֶםsuskhem (your horse)
  • תּוֹרַתְכֶםtoratkhem (your law)
ְ כֶן  (Shva, Khaf with Segol and Final Nun) Second person, plural, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסְכֶןsuskhen (your horse)
  • תּוֹרַתְכֶןtoratkhen (your law)
ָ ם  (Kamatz and Final Mem) Third person, plural, masculine possessive. Their
  • סוּסָםsusam (their horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָםtoratam (their law)
ָ ן  (Kamatz and Final Nun) Third person, plural, feminine possessive. Their
  • סוּסָןsusan (their horse)
  • תּוֹרָתָןtoratan (their law)

Plural nouns[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ַ י  (Patach and Yud) First person, singular possessive. My
  • סוּסַיsusai (my horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתַיtorotai (my laws)
ֶ יךָ  (Segol, Yud and Final Khaf with Kamatz) Second person, singular, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֶיךָsusekha (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֶיךָtorotekha (your laws)
ַ יִךְ  (Patach, Yud with Chirik and Final Khaf with Shva) Second person, singular, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסַיִךְsusayikh (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתַיִךְtorotayikh (your laws)
ָ יו  (Kamatz, Yud and Vav) Third person, singular, masculine possessive. His
  • סוּסָיוsusav (his horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתָיוtorotav (his laws)
ֶ יהָ  (Segol, Yud and He with Kamatz) Third person, singular, feminine possessive. Her
  • סוּסֶיהָsuseha (her horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֶיהָtoroteha (her laws)
ֵ ינוּ  (Tzere, Yud and Nun with Shuruk) First person, plural possessive. Our
  • סוּסֵינוּsuseinu (our horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵינוּtoroteinu (our laws)
ֵ יכֶם  (Tzere, Yud, Khaf with Segol and Final Mem) Second person, plural, masculine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵיכֶםsuseikhem (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיכֶםtoroteikhem (your laws)
ֵ יכֶן  (Tzere, Yud, Khaf with Segol and Final Nun) Second person, plural, feminine possessive. Your
  • סוּסֵיכֶןsuseikhen (your horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיכֶןtorateikhen (your laws)
ֵ יהֶם  (Tzere, Yud, He with Segol) and Final Mem) Third person, plural, masculine possessive. Their
  • סוּסֵיהֶםsuseihem (their horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיהֶםtorateihem (their laws)
ֵ יהֶן  (Tzere, Yud, He with Segol) and Final Nun) Third person, plural, feminine possessive. Their
  • סוּסֵיהֶןsuseihen (their horses)
  • תּוֹרוֹתֵיהֶןtorateihen (their laws)

Conjugation of verbs[edit]

Qal Perfect[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
תִּי‬ (Tav with Hiriq male) 1st person sg. I did שָׁמַרְתִּיshamarti (I kept)
תָּ‬ (Tav with Kamatz) 2nd person, masc. sg. You did שָׁמַרְתָּshamarta (you kept)
תְּ‬ (Tav with Sh'va) 2nd person, fem. sg. You did שָׁמַרְתְּshamart (you kept)
-‬ (None, Base form) Qal perfect Did
3rd person, masc. sg. He did
שָׁמַרshamar (kept/he kept)
ָ ה  (Kamatz and He) 3rd person, fem. sg. She did שָׁמְרָהshamra (she kept)
נוּ‬ (Nun with Shuruk) 1st person pl. We did שָׁמַרְנוּshamarnu (we kept)
תֶּם‬ (Tav with Segol and Final Mem) 2nd person, masc. pl. You did שְׁמַרְתֶּםshmartem (you kept)
תֶּן‬ (Tav with Segol and Final Nun) 2nd person, fem. pl. You did שְׁמַרְתֶּןshmarten (you kept)
וּ‬ (Shuruk) 3rd person pl. They did שָׁמְרוּshamru (they kept)

Imperfect[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִי  (Chirik male) Second person, feminine singular. You will do
  • תִּשְׁמְרִיtishm'ri (you will keep)
וּ‬ (Shuruk) Third and Second person, masculine plural. They will do, You will do
  • יִשְׁמְרוּyishm'ru (they will keep)
  • תִּשְׁמְרוּtishm'ru (you will keep)
נָה‬ (Nun with Kamatz and He) Third and Second person, feminine plural. They will do, You will do
  • תִּשְׁמֹרְנָהtishmorna (they will keep)
  • תִּשְׁמֹרְנָהtishmorna (you will keep)

Imperative[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
ִ י  (Chirik male) Feminine singular. do! שִׁמְרִיshimri (keep!)
וּ‬ (Cholam male) Masculine plural. do! שִׁמְרוּshimru (keep!)
נָה‬ (Nun with Kamatz and He) Feminine plural. do! שְׁמֹרְנָהshmorna (keep!)

Diminutive[edit]

Suffix Meaning Examples
וֹן‬ (Cholam male and Final Nun) Diminutive, sometimes masculine
  • סֵפֶרsefer (book) → סִפְרוֹןsifron (booklet)
  • מַחְשֵׁבmachshev (computer) → מַחְשְׁבוֹןmachshevon (calculator)
  • מִטְבָּחmitbach (kitchen) → מִטְבָּחוֹןmitbachon (kitchenette)
ִ ית  (Chirik male and Tav) Diminutive, sometimes feminine
  • שַׂקsaq (sack) → שַׂקִּיתsaqqit (bag)
  • כַּףkaf (spoon) → כַּפִּיתkappit (teaspoon)

Loanwords[edit]

These sufixes (Hebrew: סוֹפִיתsofit) 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
  • גֵּאוֹגְרַפְיָהgeografya (hard g) geography
  • קָלִיגְרַפְיָהqaligrafya calligraphy
-ic/-ical Biblical Hebrew/ English ִי‬- i of or pertaining to
  • נוֹסְטַלְגִּיnostalgi nostalgic
  • פּוֹלִיטִיpoliti political
  • מִיתִיmiti mythic(al)
-ian/-an/-ish Biblical Hebrew/ English ִי‬- i belonging to
  • רוּסִיrusi Russian
  • אוּטוֹפִּיutopi utopian
  • גֶּרְמָנִיgermani (hard g) German
  • בְּרִיטִיbriti British
  • פּוֹלִיטִיקַאיpolitiqai politician
  • קוֹמִיקַאיqomiqai comedian
-ar English ָרִי‬- ari pertaining to
  • מוֹלֶקוּלָרִיmolequlari molecular
  • לִינֵאָרִיlineari linear
  • קַוִּיqavi (means: line-pertaining to) linear
-ism English יזְם‬- -izm movement; discriminatory belief
  • לִיבֶּרָלִיזְםliberalizm liberalism
  • סֶקְסִיזְםseqsizm sexism
-kinesis Greek קִינֶזִיס‬- -qinezis movement, motion
  • טֶלֶקִינֶזִיסteleqinezis telekinesis
  • פְּסִיכוֹקִינֶזִיסpsikhoqinezis psychokinesis
-logy (and -ology) Ladino לוֹגְיָה‬- -logya branch of learning
  • בִּיוֹלוֹגְיָהbiyologya (hard g) biology
  • טְרִילוֹגְיָהtrilogya trilogy
-mania Greek מַנְיָה‬- -manya obsession
  • פִּירוֹמַנְיָהpiromanya (means: pyro-mania) pyromania
  • קְלֶפְּטוֹמַנְיָהqleptomanya (means: klepto-mania) kleptomania
-maniac English מָן‬- -man person with obsession
  • פִּירוֹמָןpiroman (means: pyro-maniac) pyromaniac
  • קְלֶפְּטוֹמָןqleptoman (means: klepto-maniac) kleptomaniac
-oid English וֹאִיד‬- -oid similar, but not the same
  • אַנְדְּרוֹאִידandroid android
  • הוּמָנוֹאִידhumanoid humanoid
-onym English וֹנִים‬- -onim name
  • אֶפּוֹנִיםeponim eponym
  • הֶטְרוֹנִיםhetronim heteronym
-scope English סְקוֹפּ‬- -sqop instrument for viewing
  • טֶלֶסְקוֹפּtelesqop telescope
  • מיקרוסקופmiqrosqop microscope
-esque French ֶסְקָה‬- -esqa resembling
  • בּוּרְלֶסְקָהburlesqa burlesque
  • הוּמוֹרֶסְקָהhumoresqa humoresque
  • גְּרוֹטֶסְקִיgrotesqi grotesque
-y Ladino יָה‬- -ya having the quality of
  • קוֹמֶדְיָהqomedya comedy
  • הִיסְטוֹרְיָהhistorya history
  • פִילוֹסוֹפְיָהfilosofya philosophy
-meter English מֶטֶר‬- -meter measuring device;
units of measure
  • בָּרוֹמֶטֶרbarometer barometer
  • קִילוֹמֶטֶרqilometer kilometer
-nik Yiddish/Russian נִיק‬- nik one connected with
  • מוֹשַׁבְנִיקmoshavniq moshav member/resident
  • נוּדְנִיקnudniq bothersome person

See also[edit]

References[edit]

External links[edit]