Meaning of -ER in English


-er 1

1. a suffix used in forming nouns designating persons from the object of their occupation or labor ( hatter; tiler; tinner; moonshiner ), or from their place of origin or abode ( Icelander; southerner; villager ), or designating either persons or things from some special characteristic or circumstance ( six-footer; three-master; teetotaler; fiver; tenner ).

2. a suffix serving as the regular English formative of agent nouns, being attached to verbs of any origin ( bearer; creeper; employer; harvester; teacher; theorizer ). Cf. -ier 1 , -yer .

[ ME -er ( e ), a coalescence of OE -ere agentive suffix (c. OHG -ari, Goth -areis -arjaz ( > Slav * -ari ) -arius -ARY) and OE -ware forming nouns of ethnic or residential orig. (as Romware Romans), c. OHG -ari -warioz people ]

-er 2

a noun suffix occurring in loanwords from French in the Middle English period, most often names of occupations ( archer; butcher; butler; carpenter; grocer; mariner; officer ), but also other nouns ( corner; danger; primer ). Some historical instances of this suffix, as in banker or gardener, where the base is a recognizable modern English word, are now indistinguishable from denominal formations with -er 1 , as miller or potter.

[ ME -er, equiv. to OF -er, -ier -arius, -arium. Compare -ARY, -EER, -IER 2 ]

-er 3

a termination of nouns denoting action or process: dinner; rejoinder; remainder; trover.

[ -er, -re ]

-er 4

a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adjectives: harder; smaller.

[ ME -er ( e ), -re, OE -ra, -re; c. G -er ]

-er 5

a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adverbs: faster.

[ ME -er ( e ), -re, OE -or; c. OHG -or, G -er ]

-er 6

a formal element appearing in verbs having frequentative meaning: flicker; flutter; shiver; shudder.

[ ME; OE -r-; c. G - ( e ) r- ]

-er 7

a suffix that creates informal or jocular mutations of more neutral words, which are typically clipped to a single syllable if polysyllabic, before application of the suffix, and which sometimes undergo other phonetic alterations: bed-sitter; footer; fresher; rugger. Most words formed thus have been limited to English public-school and university slang; few, if any, have become current in North America, with the exception of soccer, which has also lost its earlier informal character. Cf. -ers .

[ prob. modeled on nonagentive uses of -ER 1 ; said to have first become current in University College, Oxford, 1875-80 ]

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .