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Spanish suffixes

As mentioned in the last lesson, learning Spanish prefixed and suffixes is a very practical way to accelerate the Spanish learning process. In the last lesson, we covered the essential frequency prefixes. This lesson is about the suffixes.

A suffix is a word ending. When it is attached to a word, it has certain meaning so that adds that meaning to the word which it is attached. That’s why, just like in the case of prefixes, when you learn how a suffix functions, you can guess the meaning of the words containing the same suffix and also make up new words for more creative conversations.

There are so many Spanish suffixes which are very commonly in use.  One such suffix is


The diminutive suffixes are frequently used in Spanish. A diminutive suffix makes the meaning of the word smaller either physically or figuratively, or both at the same time.

One such suffix is –ito/-a. Ito-/-a has a variety of applications.

To make words refer to something smaller

The primary meaning of this suffix is to make some nouns refer to smaller thing.

  • (la) mesa is table and (la) mesita is little table
  • (el) gato is cat and (el) gatito is kitten

Note that if noun, which has this suffix attached, is feminine, -ita is used.

In this way, the resulting new noun becomes also feminine.  In the above example, mesa is feminine, so is mesita. The noun has to agree with the noun too, as every noun. Hence, if you need to refer to more than one mesita, you have to say mesitas.

To express affection

While addressing people, it is common to use the suffix “–ito/-a” in order to add affection.

  • papá is dad and papito is something like dear dad. So, in a way, you address in a more affectionate way.

Another example is

  • abuela which means grandmother and abulelita is dear grandmother.

You can add this ending to many other words to refer to people.

To lead friendly talks

In this use, -ito/-a does not change the meaning of the word but it adds a friendly tone.

For example, by saying “un momentito” you behave more friendly than using “moment”.

Emphasize the meaning

By adding –ito/-a to the end of an adverb, you can make its meaning stronger.

  • Ahora is now, ahorita is this very minute


It is used to intensify the meaning. It is attached to adjectives.

For instance, “rico/-a “means rich. “Riquísimo/-a” is very rich.

Because it is used with adjectives, when you use this suffix, you need to apply the rules for adjectives. That means, the adjective suffixed with –ísimo has to be in agreement with the gender and the number. Hence, it is

  • Un hombre riquísimo ( a very rich man)


  • Una mujer riquísima (a very rich woman)


Another frequency suffix is –ote.

It means very or big. Typical examples are animal – animalote (animal, big animal); libro-librote (book, big book), árbol – arbolote (tree, big tree)


The suffix “miento/-a” is attached to a verb to form a noun out of it. For example

  • sentir is  to feel and (el) sentimiento is feeling

Another suffix, which looks like very similar to miento can be used for the same purpose. It is –mento:

  • salvar is to rescur, to save, (el) salvamento is rescue

Take into account that these two suffixes cannot replace each other. It’s required to know which word is used with which one. For instcane, the verb “apartar” means separation. A typical mistake can be to mix up the words apartamiento and apartamento, which mean separation and apartment separately.

Note that the words which are suffixed with mento/-a and miento/-a are masculine.



This suffix has various applications. Two of the most common uses are

  • to produce words which indicate occupations
  • to produce words which refer to a kind of container


  • (el) pescado is fish and (el) pescadero is fishmonger
  • (el) zapato is shape and (el) zapatero is shoemaker
  • (la) moneda is coin and (el) monedero is coin purse
  • (la) sal is salt and (el) salero is salt shaker


There are so many words which have the suffix “-ería/-o” attached. These words indicate a sort of shop.


  • pescar is “to fish”, pescadería is “fish shop”
  • café is coffee and cafeteria is “coffee shop”


It has three main uses. It is added to a verb to form a noun.

The nouns suffixed with –dor can be used to express the following

 performer/ a profession

When it is attached to a verb, it can indicate a profession or a performer which is related to the meaning of that verb. To do this, the last letter of the verb is dropped and-dor is added. It is always the case.

  • Vender is to sell and (el/la) vendedor/-a is a seller
  • repartir is to distribute, repartidor is distributor


-dor is used to make nouns which refer to places. For instance

  • comer is to eat and comedor is dining room


to give you an example, lavar is to wash and lavadora is a washing machine



List of words suffixed with the word endings we introduced in this lesson

Words ending in –ito/-a

perro: dog – perrito: puppy

casa: house – casita: little house

despacio: slowly – despacito: really slowly

papá: daddy – papito: dear daddy

ahora: now – ahorita: this very minute

mesa: table - mesita little table

abuela: grandmother -  abuelita: dear grandmother

rapido: rapidly – rapidito: really rapidly

gato: cat - gatito kitten

hermano: brother – hermanito: little brother, dear brother

centavo: cent – centavito: very little money

caro: expensive – carísimo: very expensive

alto: tall – altísimo: very tall

rico: rich – riquísimo: very rich

largo: long - larguísimo very long

feo: ugly – feísimo: very ugly


Words ending in –mento/miento

casar: to marry - casamiento: wedding

entender: to understand - entendimiento: understanding

apartar: to separate - apartamiento: separation

fingir: to feign - fingimiento: feigning

sentir: to feel - sentimiento: feeling     

acercar: to approach - acercamiento: approach         

encarceler: to imprison -  encarcelamiento: imprisonment     

aprovechar: to use -  aprovechamiento: use    

alumbrar: to light up - alumbramiento: lighting          

estacionar: to park - estacionamiento: parking          

recibir: to welcome - recibimiento: reception 

cargar: to load - cargamento: shipment          

temperar: to temper - temperamento: temperament   

reglar: to rule - reglamento: rules       

salvar: to rescue - (el) salvamento: rescue      


Words ending in –ero

carne: meat - carnicero: butcher

basura: rubbish, garbage - basurero: dustman

pelo: hair - peluquero: hairdresser

faro: lighthouse - farero: lighthouse keeper

pescado: fish - pescadero: fishmonger

cocina: kitchen - cocinero: cook

carta: letter - cartero: postman

parto: birth - partero: midwife

jardín: garden -  jardinero: gardener

joya: jewel - joyero: jeweller

fruta: fruit - frutero: greengardener

leche: milk - lechero: milkwoman

ceniza: ash - cenicero: ashtray

reloj: clock - relojero: clockmaker

libro: book - librero: bookseller

pastel: cake - pastelero: baker

tienda: shop - tendero: shopkeeper

moneda: coin - monedero: coin purse

zapato: shoe -  zapatero: shoemaker

trampa: trap - trapper: trappe

café: coffee - cafetero: coffee merchant

pimienta: pepper - minetero: pepper shaker

azúcar: sugar - azucarero: sugar bowl

sal: salt - salero: salt shaker

sombrero: hat  - sombrerera: hatbox

tinta: ink - tintero: inkpot

leche: milk - lechera: milk can

té: tea - tetera: teapot


Words ending in –dor

bailar: dance – bailador: dancer

hablar: to speak – habladorr: talkative

matar: to kill – matador: killer

diseñar: to design - diseñador: designer

recibidir: to welcome - recibidor: hall

dictar: to dictate - dictador: dictator

cantar: to sing  - cantador: singer of popular songs

comprar: to buy - comprador: buyer

educar: to educate - educador: educator

jugar: to play - jugador: player

patina: to skate - patinador: skater

operar: to operate - operador: surgeon

ganar: to win - ganador: winner

pescar: to fish - pescador: fisherman

planchar: to iron - planchador: person who does the ironing

predicar: to preach - predicador: preacher

trabajar: to work - trabajador: worker

vender: to sell - vendedor: seller

comer: to eat - comedor: dining room

contar: to count - contador: accountant

repartir: to distribute- repartidor: distributor

lavar: to wash - lavadora: washing maschine


Words ending in –ería

carne: meat - carnicería: butcher’s

cerveza: beer - cervecería: bar

pan: bread - panadería: bakery

pelo: hair - peluquería: hairdresser's

flor: flower - floristería: florist’s

frura: fruit - frutería: fruiter’s

sombrero: hat, sombrerería: hat shop

helado: icecream - heladería: ice-cream parlor

jayas: jewellry – joyería: jewelry shop

zapato: shoe - zapatería: shoe shop

muebles: furniture - mueblería: furniture store

libro: book - librería: bookstore

pescado: fish - pescadería: fish shop

perfume: perfume - perfumería: perfumery

verdure: vegetable - verdulería: greengrocer's

Let's Practice

Match suffixes to their meaning.

All Exercises