28 Spanish Suffixes To Boost Your Fluency to Super-Human Status (2022)

28 Spanish Suffixes To Boost Your Fluency to Super-Human Status (1)

October 19, 2022 by Olga Put Spanish Grammar 0 comments

Spanish suffixes are a great way of increasing your vocabulary without learning new words. If you learn these little Spanish word endings, called suffixes, you’ll be able to create hundreds of new words. (Exciting, right?)

And with this giant list and lesson by your side, you’ll be ready to start expressing yourself in Spanish better than you ever have.

In this guide, you’ll find (click to jump to!):

  • Definition of suffixes
  • List of 28 most important Spanish suffixes
  • Examples of 3 main types or categories of Spanish suffixes

Let’s jump in and boost your Spanish fluency to super-human status!

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What Are Suffixes And Why Are They Important?

Suffixes are not words because they can’t exist on their own. However, when you add them at the end of an existing word, you create a new one.

This new word can have a completely new function in a sentence. For example, it can change the gender, number, part of speech, alternate, or even change the meaning.

28 Spanish Suffixes To Boost Your Fluency to Super-Human Status (2)
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28 Most Super-Fluency-Producing Spanish Suffixes

If you learn the following Spanish suffixes, you’ll get Spanish superpowers! Learn more about the TYPES OF SPANISH SUFFIXES below. ⬇️

1. -ote, -ota

Type: Appreciative, augmentative.

Examples:

perro (dog) – perrote (big dog)

lengua (tongue) – lenguota (big tongue)

Example sentence:

¡Vaya perrote! Parece una vaca.
What a dog! It looks like a cow.

2. -azo, -aza

Type: Appreciative, augmentative.

Examples:

coche (car) – cochazo (great car)

mujer (woman) – mujeraza (great woman)

Example sentence:

Este Tesla es un cochazo.
This Tesla is a great car.

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3. -ón, -ona

Type: Appreciative, augmentative.

Examples:

panza (belly) – panzón (a man with a big belly)

soltera (single) – solterona (spinster)

Example sentence:

Mira este panzón, no puede ni caminar.
Look at this man with a huge belly; he can’t even walk.

4. -ito, -ita (includes -cito, -cita)

Type: Appreciative, diminutive.

Examples:

niña (girl) – niñita (little girl)

chico (small) – chiquito (very small)

Example sentence:

Pásame un pedazo chiquito.
Hand me a small piece.

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5. -illo, -illa

Type: Appreciative, diminutive.

Examples:

guapo (handsome) – guapillo (handsome, said with affection)

mentirosa (a girl that lies, a liar) – mentirosilla (a girl that lies a little, or a little liar)

Example sentence:

Es guapillo el niño.
He is a cute little boy.

6. -acho, -acha

Type: Appreciative, augmentative, and derogatory.

Examples:

amigo (friend) – amigacho (buddy, slightly disrespectful)

boca (mouth) – bocacha (a person with few teeth)

Example sentence:

Amigacho, no me hables así.
Buddy, don’t talk to me like this.

7. -ajo, -aja

Type: Appreciative, augmentative, and derogatory.

Examples:

miga (crumb) – migaja (little crumb)

pequeño (small) – pequeñajo (very small, disrespectful)

Example sentence:

Lo que me das son migajas.
What you give me are crumbs.

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8. -ucho, ucha

Type: Appreciative, derogatory.

Examples:

flaco (skinny) – flacucho (a skinny person)

débil (weak) – debilucho (a weak woman)

Example sentence:

Un debilucho como tú no va a poder conmigo.
A weakling like you won’t be able to take me.

9. -udo, -uda

Type: Appreciative, augmentative, and derogatory.

Examples:

pelo (hair) – peludo (a hairy person)

barba (beard) – barbudo (a man with a big beard)

Example sentence:

Cuando creció, se volvió fuerte y barbudo.
When he grew up, he became strong and bearded.

10. -ada

Type: derivative, noun forming.

Examples:

cuchara (spoon) – cucharada (spoonful)

llamar (to call) – llamada (a call)

Example sentence:

Toma dos cucharadas antes de comer.
Take two spoonfuls before eating.

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11. -dor, -dora

Type: derivative, noun, or adjective forming.

Examples:

lavar (to wash) – lavadora (a washing machine)

hablar (to talk) – hablador, habladora (talkative)

Example sentence:

Mi lavadora dejó de funcionar.
My washing machine stopped working.

12. -al

Type: derivative, noun, or adjective forming.

Examples:

constitución (constitution) – constitucional (constitutional)

dinero (money) – dineral (lots of money)

Example sentence:

Esta casa debe costar un dineral.
This house must cost a fortune.

13. -ante

Type: derivative, noun, or adjective forming.

Examples:

estudiar (to study) – estudiante (a student)

amar (to love) – amante (a lover, loving)

Example sentence:

Soy amante de la buena cocina.
I am a lover of good cuisine.

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14. -ario, -aria

Type: derivative, noun, or adjective forming

Examples:

campana (a bell) – campanario (a bell tower)

receta (recipe) – recetario (a book with recipes)

Example sentence:

El campanario del pueblo tiene más de doscientos años.
The village bell tower is over two hundred years old.

15. -ero. -era

Type: derivative, noun, or adjective forming

Examples:

camión (a truck) – camionero (a truck driver)

limón (a lime) – limonero (a lime tree)

Example sentence:

Mi papá trabaja de camionero.
My dad works as a truck driver.

16. -ía

Type: derivative, noun forming

Examples:

tonto (silly) – tontería (nonsense)

zapatero (a shoemaker) – zapatería (a shoe store)

Example sentence:

Es una tontería buscar pan en la zapatería.
It’s silly to look for bread in the shoe shop.

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17. -mente

Type: derivative, adverb forming.

Examples:

ironía (irony) – ironicamente (ironically)

seguro (safe) – seguramente (safely, surely)

Example sentence:

Seguramente vendrán mañana.
They’ll surely come tomorrow.

18. -ista

Type: derivative, noun forming.

Example:

taxi (a taxi) – taxista (a taxi driver)

comuna (a community) – comunista (comunist)

Example sentence:

De grande quiero ser taxista.
When I grow up, I want to be a taxi driver.

19. -anza

Type: derivative, noun forming.

Examples:

criar (to bring up) – crianza (upbringing)

matar (to kill) – matanza (killing)

Example sentence:

El último examen de español fue una verdadera matanza, nadie aprobaba.
The last Spanish exam was a real slaughter, nobody passed.

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20. -izar

Type: derivative, noun forming

Examples:

bautizo (a christening) – bautizar (to christen)

esclavo (a slave) – esclavizar (to enslave)

Example sentence:

No me dejaré esclavizar por unas reglas estúpidas.
I will not be enslaved by stupid rules.

21. -ble

Type: derivative, adjective forming.

Examples:

adorar (to adore) – adorable (adorable)

admirar (to admire) – admirable (admirable)

Example sentence:

¡Qué acción tan admirable!
What an admirable action!

22. -ísimo, ísima

Type: derivative, adjective, and adverb forming (superlatives).

Example:

malo (bad) – malísimo (the worst)

lejos (far) – lejísimo (the furthest)

Example sentence:

Esta tienda está lejísima. Tienes que tomar dos camiones.
This shop is very far away. You have to take two buses.

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Learn more: Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish Grammar

23. -oso

Type: derivative, adjective forming.

Examples:

pereza (laziness) – perezoso (lazy)

polvora (powder) – polvoroso (dusty)

Example sentence:

No seas perezoso, saca la basura.
Don’t be lazy, take out the trash.

24. -ezno, -ezna

Type: Appreciative, diminutive.

Examples:

oso (bear) – osezno (bear cub)

lobo (small) – lobezno (wolf cub)

Example sentence:

Hay un nuevo osezno en el zoológico.
There is a new bear cub at the zoo.

25. -aco, -aca

Type: derivative, adjective, and noun forming

Examples:

manía (mania) – maníaco (maniac)

Austria (Austria) – Austríaco (Austrian)

Example sentence:

Su mamá es austríaca pero nació aquí.
His mother is Austrian but was born here.

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26. -ano, -ana

Type: derivative, adjective forming

Examples:

México (Mexico) – mexicano (Mexican)

aldea (village) – aldeano (villagers)

Example sentence:

Los reyes no sabían mucho de la vida cotidiana de los aldeanos.
The kings did not know much about the daily life of the villagers.

27. -eco, eca / -teco, -teca

Type: derivative, adjective forming.

Example:

Yucatán (Yucatan) – yucateco (Yucatecan)

Guatemala (Guatemala) – guatemalteco (Guatemalan)

Example sentence:

Soy orgullosamente guatemalteco.
I am proudly Guatemalan.

28. -ense

Type: derivative, adjective forming.

Example:

Estados Unidos (United States) – estadounidense (American)

Canadá (Canada) – canadiense (Canadian)

Example sentence:

Es un dulce canadiense, hecho de miel de maple.
It’s a Canadian candy made from maple syrup.

Explore More About Spanish Suffixes: 3 Main Types

There are over 200 suffixes in Spanish, and it can take a while to learn how to use them properly.

However, what’s important at the beginning is understanding which categories we can divide them into. In addition, knowing the types and functions of Spanish suffixes will speed up your proficiency.

There are three main categories of suffixes that can be split into smaller sub-categories.

  1. Derivative Suffixes
  2. Inflectional/Flexive Suffixes
  3. Appreciative Suffixes

Let’s have a closer look at them.

Derivative Suffixes

Derivative suffixes create a new word if added to existing terms. Therefore, you can alter the grammatical category with them and make new nouns, adjectives, adverbs, and verbs.

1. Noun Forming Suffixes: -orio, -ado

When you add these suffixes to a base verb, noun, or adjective, you’ll make a new noun.

For example:

If you add a suffix -orio to the verb dormir (to sleep), you’ll get a new noun—el dormitorio (bedroom).

Or if you add a suffix -ado to a verb, you’ll get a new noun that indicates an action and effect, such as afeitar (to shave) and el afeitado (“shaving” as a noun).

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2. Adjective Forming Suffixes: -ísimo

These suffixes create new adjectives when added to a base verb, noun, or another adjective.

For example:

If you add a suffix -ísimo to the adjective rápido (fast), you’ll get a new adjective—rapidísimo (super fast).

3. Adverb Forming Suffixes: -mente

To create new adverbs, add adverb-forming suffixes to adjectives or adverbs.

For example:

If you add a suffix -mente to the adjective tranquilo (calm), you’ll get an adverb tranquilamente (calmly).

4. Verb Forming Suffixes: -ar, -ir, -er

Verb-forming suffixes are added to adjectives, nouns, adverbs, and other verbs to form new ones with slightly different meanings.

For example:

If you add a suffix –ar to the noun el centro (center), you’ll get a verb centrar (to center).

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Inflectional / Flexive Suffixes

These suffixes are the most common, and you have probably started learning them before you know they were called suffixes. These suffixes help you to express the correct gender, number, and time.

1. Gender defining suffixes: -o, -a

How do you know that gato (cat) is masculine and gata is feminine? The suffixes -o and -a can help you to differentiate.

2. Number Defining Suffixes: -s

These suffixes tell you if a noun comes in a singular or plural form. For example, the suffix -o not only tells us that the noun is masculine but also singular.

However, -os changes the singularity into the plural form—gatos (cats).

3. Conjugation Defining Suffixes

These suffixes modify a verb by altering tense, mood, and grammatical person.

For example, let’s take the verb pintar (to paint). If I say pintas (you paint), the suffix tells us the verb is in the present tense’s second person singular and indicative mood.

But if I say pintaríamos, it changes into the first-person plural of the conditional tense.

Learn more: Master the 18 Tenses in Spanish (Plus Free Cheat Sheet)

Appreciative Suffixes

You’ll love this group! Knowing these suffixes proves your proficiency in Spanish by adding them to the words, you can play with different shades of meaning.

1. Diminutives: -ito, -ita

These suffixes reduce the size or importance of the original word.

For example:

By adding -ito to the adjective pequeño (small), you’ll get a new adjective pequeñito meaning “very small.”

Learn more: 20 Examples of Diminutives in Spanish

2. Augmentative: -ote, -ota

On the other hand, augmentative suffixes increase the original word’s size, intensity, or importance.

For example:

The suffix -ote added to the noun el bebé creates el bebote (the big baby).

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3. Derogatory (Pejorative): -ucho

These suffixes indicate negative connotations.

For example:

The suffix -ucho added to el pueblo (town) will create el pueblucho, meaning “unimportant town” that you mention with disdain.

If you want to read more about appreciative adjectives, look at this pdf in Spanish.

Keep Practicing Spanish Suffixes!

Now that you know the theory, it’s time to practice. If you need more knowledge, check out this extensive list of Spanish suffixes and prefixes.

Try to play with Spanish suffixes, create new words and use them in sentences. If you need support, sign up for a free trial class at Homeschool Spanish Academy with a native Spanish speaker and take your suffixes to the next level.

Want to learn more Spanish grammar? Check out these helpful posts!

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  • A Massive List of Spanish Adjectives and How To Use Them
  • What are Spanish ‘Go Verbs’?
  • 28 Spanish Suffixes To Boost Your Fluency to Super-Human Status
  • Comparatives and Superlatives in Spanish
  • How to Use Vosotros When You Talk to Spanish Speakers in Spain
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Olga Put

Freelance Writer at Homeschool Spanish Academy

I'm a Spanish philologist, teacher, and freelance writer with a Master's degree in Humanities from Madrid. I speak Polish, Spanish, and English fluently, and want to get better in Portuguese and German. A lover of literature, and Mexican spicy cuisine, I've lived in Poland, Spain, and Mexico and I'm currently living and teaching in Madeira, Portugal.

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