-ness

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See also: ness and Ness

English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

From Middle English -nes, -nesse, from Old English -nis, -nes, from Proto-Germanic *-nassuz. This suffix was formed already in Proto-Germanic by false division of the final consonant *-n- of the preceding stem + the actual suffix *-assuz. The latter was in turn derived from an earlier *-at(s)-tuz, from the verbal suffix *-at-janą + the noun suffix *-þuz.

Cognates are Old Saxon -nissi, -nussi, Dutch -nis, German -nis and Gothic -𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃 (-assus), -𐌹𐌽𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃 (-inassus).

Pronunciation[edit]

Suffix[edit]

-ness

  1. Appended to adjectives to form nouns meaning "the state of being(the adjective)", "the quality of being(the adjective)", or "the measure of being(the adjective)".
    calm + ‎-ness → ‎calmness
    dark + ‎-ness → ‎darkness
    kind + ‎-ness → ‎kindness
    one + ‎-ness → ‎oneness
  2. Appended to words of other parts of speech to form nouns (often nonce words or terms in philosophy) meaning the state/quality/measure of the idea represented by these words.
    that + ‎-ness → ‎thatness
    tree + ‎-ness → ‎treeness

Usage notes[edit]

If adjective ends in -y, then this changes to -i- when -ness is suffixed. This occurs both when the -y is the suffix -y (having the quality of), as in messmessymessiness (hence -y-i-), but also in other cases, as in comelycomeliness.

Synonyms[edit]

Derived terms[edit]


Translations[edit]