Spanish Augmentatives, Suffixes and Prefixes

Unlike English, where words can't be augmented, augmentatives are common place in Spanish. Augmented words in Spanish indicate that something is either large or undesirable. Augmentatives must match the adjective or noun they modify in gender and number.

Augmentatives

For words ending in a consonant simply add the suffix. For words ending in a vowel, drop the vowel before adding the appropriate augmentative suffix. Consider the following examples.

-azo/-aza

éxito
success
exitazo
great success
perro
dog
perrazo
big, mean dog


-ón/-ona

silla
chair
sillón
big chair
mujer
women
mujerona
large woman


-ote/-ota

grande
big
grandote
enormous
papel
paper
papelote
worthless bit of paper


-ucho/-ucha, -acho/-acha

abogado
lawyer
abogaducho
awful lawyer
pueblo
town
poblacho
delapidated town


-udo/-uda

cabeza
head
cabezudo
big head
pelo
hair
peludo
hairy

Other Spanish Suffixes and Endings

The suffixes listed below are neither diminutive nor augmentative. They do however change the meaning of the words they're attached to and are important to know in order to improve your Spanish fluency. Consider the following examples.


-ada
-ada adds "-ful" or "load" to a word:

boca
mouth
bocada
mouthful


-ado, -ido
-ado, -ido turns a verbs into an adjective:

divertirse
to have fun
divertido
fun


-azo
-azo indicates a blow or strike:

cabeza
head
cabezazo
head butt


-dura
-dura turns a verb into its result:

quemar
to burn
quemadura
burn


-ería
-ería turns a noun into a store:

carne
meat
carnicería
butcher shop


-eza
-eza turns an adjective into a noun:

bella
beautiful
belleza
beautfy


-ísimo, -ísima
-ísimo, -ísima intensifies an adjective:

rico
rich
riquísimo
filthy rich


-mente
-mente converts an adjective into an adverb:

frecuente
frequent
frecuentemente
frequently


-al, -tal
-al, -tal turns a food into its tree or grove:

pera
pear
peral
pear tree


-ante
-ante converts a noun into an occupation:

cantar
to sing
cantante
singer


-anza
-anza turns a verb into a noun:

enseñar
to teach
enseñanza
(a) teaching


-ano, -ense
-ano, -ense turns a place into a resident of that place:

Venezuela
Venezolano
Venezuelan


-ario
-ario turns a location into an occupation:

biblioteca
library
bibliotecario
librarian


-dero, -dera
-dero, -dera converts a verb into a place where that action took place:

fregar
to wash
fregadero
sink


-dor, -dora
-dor, -dora converts a verb into an occupation:

contar
to count
contador
accountant


-eo
-eo converts a specific noun into a more general noun:

papel
paper
papeleo
paperwork


-ero, -era
-ero, -era converts a noun into job or function:

sombra
shade
sombrero
hat


-ear
-ear turns a "borrowed" verb in English into a Spanish verb:

esurfear
to surf
textear
to text someone


-ista
-ista converts a noun into an occupation:

violín
violin
violinista
violinist

Prefixes

In some Spanish speaking countries adding prefixes to words is common. Three of the most common prefixes used include "re-", "requete-" (very) and "super-" (super). Consider the following examples.

The tacos here are very good.
Los tacos aquí son rebuenos.
My sister is very crazy.
Mi hermana es requeteloca.
The challenge was very easy!
¡El desafío fue superfácil!