Nominal suffixes

In this lesson, we will learn about some common nominal suffixes. For ease of reference, we will discuss these suffixes in alphabetical order:

Unless we mention otherwise, none of these suffixes cause any sound changes.

  • अ इन् क तम तर तस् ता त्व मत् मय य वत्
    a in ka tama tara tas tā tva mat maya ya vat

-a

Also known as: aṇ

-a often creates adjectives that mean “descending from X” or “of X.” Usually, we strengthen the stem's first vowel to the strongest level. And if the stem ends in -a, we remove the last -a:

  • कुरु + अ → कौरव
    kuru + a → kaurava
    descending from Kuru; a Kaurava

  • इन्द्र + अ → ऐन्द्र
    indra + a → aindra
    of Indra

-in

-in (feminine: -inī) creates adjectives that mean “characterized by X.” If the stem ends in -a, we remove the last -a.

  • योग + इन् → योगिन्
    yoga + in → yogin
    yoga → characterized by yoga; a yogi

  • योग + इनी → योगिनी
    yoga + inī → yoginī
    yoga → a female yogi; a yogini

-ka

-ka often creates stems that mean “a little X” or “a dear X”:

  • पुत्र + क → पुत्रक
    putra + ka → putraka
    son → little son, dear son

-tama

Also known as: tamap, gha

-tama (feminine: -tamā) creates adjectives that mean “most X”:

  • बलवत् + तम → बलवत्तम
    balavat + tama → balavattama
    strong → strongest

-tara

Also known as: tarap, gha

-tara (feminine: -tarā) creates adjectives that mean “more X”:

  • सुन्दर + तर → सुन्दरतर
    sundara + tara → sundaratara
    beautiful → more beautiful

-tas

Also known as: tasi̐

-tas creates an uninflected word that means “from X.” Due to sandhi, it becomes -taḥ:

  • अग्नि → अग्नितः
    agni → agnitaḥ
    fire → from the fire

-tā

Also known as: tal

-tā creates feminine nouns that maen “X-ness” or “the state of being X”:

  • योग्य + ता → योग्यता
    yogya + tā → yogyatā
    useful, appropriate → utility, propriety

-tva

-tva has the same meaning as , but it creates neuter stems:

  • अमर + त्व → अमरत्व
    amara + tva → amaratva
    immortal → immortality

  • सम + त्व → समत्व
    sama + tva → samatva
    same, even → sameness, evenness, equanimity

-mat

Also known as: matu̐p

-mat (feminine: -matī) creates adjectives that mean “possessing X” or “characterized by X.” Certain stems use -vat instead. See our notes on -vat for details.

  • हनु + मत् → हनुमत्
    hanu + mat → hanumat
    jaw → characterized by (prominent) jaws; Hanuman

-maya

-maya (feminine: -mayī) creates adjectives that mean “made of X”:

  • हिरण्य + मय → हिरण्यमय
    hiraṇya + maya → hiraṇyamaya
    gold → made of gold, golden

-ya

-ya creates neuter nouns with an abstract sense. Usually, we strengthen the stem's first vowel to the strongest level:

  • सदृश → सादृश्य
    sadṛśa → sādṛśya
    similar (to) → similarity

-vat

Also known as: vatu̐p

-vat (feminine: -vatī) has the same meaning as -mat. We use -vat if the stem ends in m or a, or if it has m or a as its next-to-last letter:

  • भग + वत् → भगवत्
    bhaga + vat → bhagavat
    (a is the last letter)

  • लक्ष्मी + वत् → लक्ष्मीवत्
    lakṣmī + vat → lakṣmīvat
    (m is the next-to-last letter)

Review

Sanskrit has many more nominal suffixes. But these are the most common.