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Shouldn't this be "-ium"? -- Paul G 15:46, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)

Etymologically, probably no, but in English yes; plain -um words do exist, such as curriculum, but strictly this is a case ending which gets borrowed as part of the word (and triggers foreign pluralization), not a suffix. —Muke Tever 16:22, 22 Apr 2004 (UTC)

BTW, Is there really such a thing as a sanitorium, or was sanitarium meant?

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Is this really an English suffix? Seems to me that this is a Latin suffix, and we've inherited a lot of Latin words. This does not make it an English suffix. I rooted through the Derived terms, and removed all the words which I could determine to have definitely acquired the Latin suffix -um. The rest I could not find evidence on either way, and so they have been left. However, I feel fairly confident that they should go the way of their kin. Can anyone demonstrate this to be a productive English suffix? Atelaes 04:41, 26 January 2008 (UTC)

The only potential candidates I can think of are fictional elements ending in -ium that show up in science fiction works. However, I'd say that those are formed from -ium rather then -um. --EncycloPetey 05:55, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Yeah, I can't think of any examples of productivity in English. Dump it, I reckon. Widsith 09:33, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Keep. Even if it only survives in Latin borrowings (which strikes me as unlikely — surely there exist dog-Latinisms in -um, and Greek terms in -on that have been borrowed directly into English using Latin -um, and so on), it's worth having this entry for etymology, inflection information, and usage notes. —RuakhTALK 16:05, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Note that we are currently lacking the pseudo-aerican-Indian use of this suffix (talkum, makeum, thinkum), found in [1] and regrettably many other sources. -- Visviva 17:18, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Keep Many varieties of historical usage. My favorite bunkum. Or is there another ety? Also, I wouldn't have thought that it was important to us whether of not it was currently productive. If it has ever been productive in English, wouldn't it deserve an English language entry? If a 19th C. Englishman coined a Latinate term, used in an English sentence, with a non-Latin root and an -um ending, wouldn't we consider that to have been a productive use in English? DCDuring TALK 17:59, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
That etymology on bunkum was bunkum. It has been corrected. This is not RFD, it is RFV. So, if someone can find three cites, it passes. Find three instances where -um was appended in English. Mind you, there would be nothing wrong with having a Latin section at this entry, which would indeed be useful for etymologies and such. Atelaes 20:00, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
I've been to Buncombe County (Asheville, NC). I thought that that was folk etymology put out by the Chamber of Commerce, but I see that my MW3 bought off on it. Along the same lines how about noseeum or no-see-um? (It seems kind of dumb not to be able to search for a word ending. regular expressions, anyone?) I'll keep looking. DCDuring TALK 20:50, 26 January 2008 (UTC)
Obviously the Latin entry would be useful anyway and would capture the spirit of much of the kind of use we are discussing, except possibly for application of the suffix to non-Latin/non-Greek stems.
As examples of the kind of formations that might fit the bill for the English entry (if only I had some dates and languages for first use) are conundrum (probably a jesting formation by English students, 18th C.), abandum, abandonum, abatamentum (legal Latin). Perhaps there are similar formations in the medical field (or other professions or academic disciplines) that became English words, at least for a time. The formations I have in mind are very likely to appear on a list of words that classicists find outrageous, annoying, and/or bogus. They might be (erroneously?) classifed as Late Latin. DCDuring TALK 21:24, 26 January 2008 (UTC)


A small exception on the rule of -ums and -a being perfectly normal plurals in Dutch for -um: I suppose it is weird to say decenniums. That is something I have never heard. The same goes for millenium etc. (Now that I've looked up decennium here, it doesn't list "decenniums" so it's cool) User:Mallerd (Zeg et es meisje) 10:08, 23 October 2009 (UTC)

verb suffix[edit]

I presume the verb suffix is from a different etymology. - -sche (discuss) 15:38, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

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Yes, -um ends the name of many elements, but I don't see how that makes it a suffix.--Prosfilaes (talk) 10:28, 17 March 2012 (UTC)

Nor do I see how it "denotes singular grammatical number" in English (or for that matter, Dutch or Hungarian). Delete'em all. —Angr 11:05, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
I seem to think the suffix is -ium, for example einsteinium is from stem plus suffix, rather than from another language or a compound word. Mglovesfun (talk) 11:08, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
datum denotes singular. Ungoliant MMDCCLXIV 14:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
It's really just the Latin neuter second declension ending, which has been retained in both its nominative singular (-um) and nominative plural (-a) forms for some Latin borrowings. Words like bacterium, datum and addendum are supposed to use these endings, but they're rapidly being forgotten in actual use. It's the same situation as index/indices (non-computing senses), genus/genera, etc. It's not a productive English suffix, but a vestige of Latin that got borrowed with the words. Chuck Entz (talk) 16:53, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Aluminum is an English-made name based on alumina. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 13:42, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
It looks to me like element names are translinguals coined using Latin morphology, much like taxonomic names. Aluminum/aluminium is just a case of two competing coinages of the name that happen to coincide in usage patterns with regional speech varieties of English. Chuck Entz (talk) 17:06, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
No, element names actually differ in different languages. They are not translingual. --EncycloPetey (talk) 22:51, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Some aren't, but the more recent coinages, which include the majority of the forms ending in -ium or -um, are the same across many (not all) languages.Chuck Entz (talk) 23:20, 17 March 2012 (UTC)
Yes, in chemistry usually it is -ium, but I gave two examples where it is not (and those are not UK/US variations, either). If -um doesn't count, then I don't see how -ium would either. As for the first def, it is borrowed from Latin, but used beyond the borrowed corpus, which makes it an English suffix. Thus, I say keep all. --Μετάknowledgediscuss/deeds 05:21, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
I'm not getting how it's a suffix, though; one could equally fairly say "p-: Forms the starts of the names of certain elements (such as potassium and platinum)." -ium at least offers stuff like "Santa Clausium" and could offer "ununoctium" where the productivity of the suffix is obvious.--Prosfilaes (talk) 06:24, 23 March 2012 (UTC)
Keep per the element names cited above. Improve the definitions as necessary. - -sche (discuss) 05:26, 23 March 2012 (UTC)

Kept. — TAKASUGI Shinji (talk) 12:08, 21 June 2012 (UTC)