Denotes constant repetition or continuation, corresponding to ”ongoing, over and over, repeatedly, to keep doing”. Thus it occasionally translates to the -ing form in English. However make sure to remember the real meaning:
- demando, a question, demand’ado, an interrogation, a barrage of questions|
- amori, to be amorous, to have sex, endi, to be required, ulo, a being, amor'ad'end'ulo, a nymphomaniac, a sex slave
- nei to deny, to say no, ne'ado a denial, negation
- manĝi, to eat, inti, to have been doing (something), manĝ'ad'inti, to have been eating
- pafi, to shoot, fire (a gun), paf'ado, a fusilade (series of shots)
- danci, to dance, dan'adi, to dance repeatedly, dance on, keep on dancing
- paroli, to speak, parol'adi, to drone, ramble, lecture, give a speech
- prokrasti, to delay doing something (once), to put something off, prokrast'adi, to procrastinate, to continually put something off
Nuanced or difficult meanings:
- spiri, to take a breath, spir'adi, to keep breathing, to breathe. Because the meaning is usually clear via context, many people use "spiri" for both senses.
- vivi, to live, vivo, a (single) life, viv'ado, a living, life (ex. daily life)
Denotes ”something which contains in itself the idea of the word”, ex.
having a certain quality, or made from a certain substance or matter. It
doesn't have to be a physical object. Usually we translate it as
"thing" or "stuff":|
- mola, soft, mol'aĵo, soft stuff, a soft substance
- ovo, egg, ov'aĵo, an omelet, or anything else made of eggs.
- bovo, ox, bov'aĵo, beef, or anything else made of bovine.
- nova, new, nov'aĵo, news, a new thing, new stuff
- sukera, sugary (taste), suker'aĵo, sweets, candy, sugary stuff
Denotes an inhabitant, partisan, or member of a town, idea, religion, activity, etc.
Unfortunately most Esperanto speakers, when describing countries and citizens,
fairly randomly skip using this word. Thus one might see "svedo" to
mean "a Swede, a Swedish citizen", but the same person uses "usono" to
mean "the USA". In order to be completely clear it’s best to simply
clarify using the proper suffixes whenever there is a possibility of
- krimo, a crime, ulo, a being, aro, a collection, group, krim'ul'ar'ano, a gang member, a racketeer
- Londono, London, london'ano, a Londoner.
- hundo, a hound, hund'aro, a pack of dogs, ido, an offspring, hund'id'aro, a litter or group of puppies
- sam, same, ideo, idea, sam’ide’ano, ”same idea member”, someone who agrees with an idea. Also slang for ”a fellow Esperanto speaker”.
- Kristo, Christ, ism, a doctrine, faith, way of thinking, krist'ism'ano,
a Christian (a person who follows the doctrines of Christ).
religion names that don't stem from the names of beings, it is always
completely unnecessary to use the word "ism". In a combination like krist'ano,
in the wrong context it could easily be read as "a member (part) of
Christ's body" or "a member of Christ's multiple personalities" for
example. This is especially true in fiction when such things may very
well be commonly talked about! The Old Norse or viking religion, whose
name in the original language is the god Æsir (pronounced similarly to
"eye-sear" in modern
Icelandic) compounded with the word "belief", has the same situation as
Christianity. Thus the clearest esperanto term would be "ais'ism'ano" as well.
However "Wicca" stems from no god's name, and so vik'ano "a Wiccan", is without the use of the "ism".
Denotes a collection, set or fixed group of things, meaning that it
forms some sort of one-ness, bigger whole or completed object when
together. It can correspond to ”-kind” as in ”mankind”. To refer to a
group of random things or one that doesn't necessarily form a whole, use
”aro da (item)”, meaning ”a group of (item)”. Whenever the meaning is clear by context, this last point is unnecessary.|
- homo, a human, person, hom’aro, humanity, humankind, aro da homoj, a crowd, a group of people. "Hom'aro" could mean "a crowd" as well if it is clear by context.
- arbo, a tree, arb'aro, a forest, aro da arboj, a group of trees
- ŝtupo, a step, ŝtup'aro, a staircase, ladder, aro da ŝtupoj, a bunch of steps
- ilo, a tool, il'aro, a toolset, aro da iloj, a bunch of tools
- esperant’isto, an Esperantist, esperant’ist’aro, esperantist-kind (a word used by Zamenhof)
- hundo, a hound, hund'aro, a pack of dogs, ido, an offspring, hund'id'aro, a litter or group of puppies
- lerni, to learn, anto, a being who is currently learning, lern'ant'aro, a class or group of students
- vorto, a word, vort'aro,
a dictionary. Our English word for it itself is made up of parts like
"dict (something said)", and "-ary (a collection, ex. a library is a
collection of books)", and in the Nordic languages they say simply
"word-book", so the Esperanto term isn't all that strange, even if we
think "but every book, text and sentence is a 'collection of words!". If
you are annoyed by the unclear meaning of this compound word, simply
think of a synonym and use it!
Ĉj, and nj for explicitly describing females, denotes a term of
endearment or a nickname. It normally cuts off the last part of the
word, just as how we change "Frederik" to "Freddy, Fred". When
translating from other languages where the nickname is actually added to
the end of the entire word, we can do the same in Esperanto. For
example, if the Japanese name Shinji becomes Ŝinĝo in Esperanto, then
the Japanese term of endearment "Shinji-kun" would become "Ŝinĝoĉjo,
Ŝinĝo-ĉjo", but "Shin-chan" would become "Ŝinĉjo".|
nicknaming neuter, mixed gender (intersex, hermaphroditic), or
unknown-gender beings, use ĉjo as well. When is this used? First and
foremost, a person's handle is indeed a nickname! When you look at my
username "marbuljon", you have no way of knowing if it belongs to a man,
woman, or something in-between. I would certainly NEVER tell you my
real name online, and we could clearly become friends despite this, but
it's just friendlier and easier to type "maĉjo" than "marbuljon", isn't
Neuter, etc. nicknames are also necessary when talking about
someone else's pets, for example the neighbour's cat who visits every
day but doesn't wear a nametag. There are also many words that we
wouldn't be able to translate without using it, for example "kiddo"
being a cutesified version of "kid". Ĉjo should also be used for
intersex people (hermaphrodites), monsters, angels (which are
traditionally sexless or intersex), androgynous-looking people,
videogame characters with pixel graphics where it's impossible to
distinguish gender, for situations like if you happen to want to
nickname your long-time stalker who you've only glimpsed the silhouette
of, and so on and so forth.
Some people use eta (small,
tiny, slightly) instead of ĉjo or njo when nicknaming and cutesifing
words. However this usage is completely confusing to anyone other than
the writer, and so I strongly advise you to avoid it. You can imagine
how, when trying to translate baby-talk like "taiggy-waiggy", it would
be read as nothing other than "my (literally) small tiger"! Likewise,
some people use kara (dear), except this word also means
"expensive" and in general just because you're nicknaming someone
doesn't mean you actually like them all that much. In Zamenhof's time, perhaps we didn't nickname people as much as we do now.
particular topic of mixed-gender nicknames has seemingly not been
touched upon anywhere that I have heard of in the Esperanto world, apart
from my own questions online about it. This section here is the result
of my conclusions. If you are writing fiction and using ĉjo for any
non-male gender, remember to write a note about it before the story
begins. Not many people are thoroughly-versed in even the basic grammar
of Esperanto, and fewer still have actually gone to read all the
writings they could on the subject, so even while it may seem obvious
from context there can be times where people are simply too stupid to
- avo, a grandparent, anjo, grandma, nana, gran, etc., aĉjo, grandpa, gramps, etc. Could potentially also be "old fart, fuddy-duddy" etc. and be non-gender-specific.
- Johano, John, Jo'ĉjo, Jack, Johnnie, Jo'njo, Joan
- Ernesto, Ernest, Erne'ĉjo, Ernie, E'njo, Enny
Denotes "possibility, something likely or able to happen" and
corresponds to English "-ible, -able" and the words "maybe, possibly,
eble: might, maybe, possibly, perhaps
- legi, to read, leg'ebl'a, legible, readable, eble legos, might read in the future, leg'eblas, is literate, is able to read
- kredi, to believe, kred'ebla, credible, believable, kred'eble, probably, believably
- vidi, to see, vid'ebla, visible, iĝi, to become, vid'ebl'iĝas, becomes able to be seen (ex. comes out of hiding, or moves into a bad position where the enemy can spot them)
morti, to die, igi, to cause, mort'ig'ebla, killable, mortal
Denotes an abstract (intangible, non-touchable) idea or quality,
corresponding to "-ness, -ship, -hood, -dom, -acy, -ity, -tude” in
Note that a few words we would think of as related in this way due to
English, such as "emotional depression (sadness)" versus "physical
depression" (indent), are actually completely different words in
Esperanto, to ease confusion.
The rate of this suffix's use can depend on the writer, as depending on
one's native language words are inferred to be this by context more or
Changing the noun form "eco" to its adjective form "eca", connotes "-like, -ish":|
Back-formation: "eco" by itself as a noun means "a quality, attribute, distinctive feature”.
- (vir)patro, a father, patr'ec'o, fatherhood, patr'ec'a, father-like, father-ish
- amiko, a friend, amik'ec'o, friendship, friendliness, amik'ec'a, friendly-like
- infano, a child (of any age), infan'ec'o, infancy, childhood, infan'ec'a, infantile, childish
- tempo, a time period, a while, temp'ec'o, time (the idea of it)
- arto, an art, an artwork, art'ec'o, art (the idea of it), art'ec'a, artiness
- pura, clean, pure, pur'ec'o, cleanliness, pureness, pur'ec'a, clean-ish, cleanly-like, pure-ish
- alta, high, tall, alt'ec'o, height, alt'ec'a, tallish
Denotes augmentation, meaning it increases the intensity of degree, size or amount:|
back-formation: ega - intense, ege - intensely
- granda, large, grand'eg'a, immense, enormous.
- pafo, a shot, ilo, a tool, paf'il'eg'o, "large shoot-tool", a large gun, a cannon.
- varma, warm, varm'eg'a, very warm, hot.
- necesa, necessary, neces'ega, indispensable, extremely necessary
- hundo, a hound, dog, hund'ego, a large dog
Denotes a place intended for doing the action, or specially reserved for the idea in the word:|
- dormi, to sleep, dorm'ejo, a place for sleeping, a dormitory.
- lerni, to learn, lern'ejo, a place for learning, a school.
- preĝi, to pray, preĝ’ejo, an altar-place, church, etc.
- tombo, a tomb, grave, tomb’ejo, a graveyard
- necesa, necessary, neces'ejo, "necessary-place", euphemism for toilet
Denotes dispositions and inclinations:|
back-formation: emi - to have a tendency to, emo - a tendency, inclination
- timi, to fear, tim'em'a, timorous, tending to fear
- labori, to work, labor, labor'em'a, diligent, inclined to work
- paroli, to talk, parol'em'a, talkative
- drinki, to drink alcohol, drink'em'a, inclined to drink alcohol, drink-happy (can also mean alcoholic)
- sam'seks'em'ulo, "same-sex-inclined-person", a homosexual (modernly there is also a shorter way to say this)
Denotes "one of many objects of the same kind; the smallest fragment of something":
back-formation: ero - a fragment or component of a large mass or collection|
- sablo, sand, sabl'ero, a grain of sand.
- mono, money, mon'ero, a coin.
- pluvo, rain, pluv'ero, a raindrop
- herbo, grass, herb'ero, a blade of grass
Denotes a leader, ruler, manager, director, or otherwise the head or boss of something:
back-formation: estro (a leader, ruler, manager, etc.):
- imperio, an empire, imperi'estro, an emperor.
- ŝipo, a ship, ŝip'estro, a ship-captain.
- hotelo, a hotel, hotel'estro, a hotel manager.
- domo, house, domicile, dom'estro, a head of the household
15. 'et'—denotes diminution (lessening) of degree, amount,
intensity or size. It corresponds to -ette and -let in some English
words (laundrette, kitchenette, cutlet, starlet):
back-formation: eta (tiny, slight), ete (slightly)
- monto, a mountain, mont'et'o, a hill.
-arbo, a tree, arb'ar'o, a forest, arb’ar’et’o, a grove.
- varma, warm, varm'et'a, lukewarm, slightly warm
- domo, house, domicile, dom'et'o, small house, cottage
- urbo, a city, urb'et'o, a town
- dormi, to sleep, dorm'et'i, to nap
- romano, a novel, a long story, roman'et'o, a novella, novelette
- rondo, a circle, rondeto, a circlet
Exception: kutleto, a cutlet. As this
word has at least three different meanings in English depending on the
origins of the speaker, and the word in Esperanto has the misleading
-et, it is advised to always avoid the word ”kutleto” and use something
16. 'id'—denotes "the young of, an offspring, descendant". It
can be used for anything, and is a also a way of saying "a person from a
back-formation: ido (means the same)
- kato, a cat, kat'ido, a kitten.
- Izraelo, Israel, Izrael'ido, a person or thing that comes from or is made by Israel
- arbo, a tree, arb'ido, a seedling
- verko, a work (of art or literature), verk'ido, a fanfiction or other type of derivative work
17. 'ig'—denotes "to cause or render to be in a state or
condition", meaning to make or force something else to become, change
into or do something. We had this in Old English and it still have it in
some odd vocabulary today (insert examples):
- sidi, to sit, sid'igi, to cause or force to sit
- morti, to die, mort'igi, to kill
- freŝa, fresh, new, freŝ’igo, ”a fresh-cause”, an
update (some people say ”ĝis’dat’igo”, ”until-date-cause” but that
sounds more like stamping on an expiration date than updating)
- veni, to arrive, come, ven’igi, to bring, fetch
- universo, a universe, univers'al'igi "universe-towards-cause", to universalize
- pura, clean, pure, pur'igi, to clean, to purify
- blanka, white, blank'igi, to bleach, whitewash, etc.
- vidi, to see, vid'ebl'a, visible, vid'ebl'igi, to render visible
- apud, besides/next to (locations), apud'igi, to "cause to be next to", to place or move next to
- timi, to fear, tim'igi, to frighten, intimidate
18. 'iĝ'—denotes "to become" and thus occasionally "to do to oneself":
- sidi, to sit, sid'iĝi, to become seated, to sit oneself
- ruĝa, red, ruĝ'iĝi, to become red, to redden, to blush
- riĉa, rich, riĉ'iĝi, to become rich.
- amiko, friend, amik'iĝi, to become friends
- rompi, to break, romp'iĝi, to become broken
19. 'il'—denotes an instrument or tool.
back-formation: ilo (a tool)
- razi, to shave, raz'ilo, a razor.
- foto, a photo, fot'ilo, a camera
- pafi, to shoot or fire a shot, paf'ilo, a gun
- kombi, to comb, komb'ilo, a comb.
- komputi, to compute, komput'il'o, a computer
- klavi, to key, type, mal, opposite, mal’klav’ilo, the delete key (on the keyboard).
- presi, to print (ex. books), pres’ilo, a printing press
20. 'in'— explicitly marks words as feminine. Just as in English’s ”actor, fox, waiter, blond, pig; actress, vixen, waitress, blonde,
sow", it's not usually necessary to point out the gender of the thing,
and so different people do it to different degrees. However, most people
assume that with the words relating to family members, the basic form
means male and not neuter (they always assume ”patro" means "father",
back-formation: ino (a female), ina (feminine, female)
- frato, (assumed to mean) brother, frat'in'o, sister.
- leono, lion, leon'in'o, lioness.
- fraŭlo, (assumed to mean) a bachelor or unmarried man, fraŭl'in'o, a miss or unmarried woman
- vulpo, fox, vulp'in'o, vixen
2'ind'—denotes "to be worthy of", "deserving of":
back-formation: inda (worthy)
- laŭdi, to praise, laŭd'inda, praiseworthy
- estimi, to esteem, estim'inda, estimable, worthy of esteem.
- memori, to remember, memor'inda, memorable, worthy of remembering.
- moki, to mock, mok'inda, mock-worthy, preposterous
'ing'—denotes a socket, holder, sheath or producer for only part of an object, or only one single object. The meaning is not always apparent to English-speakers, but it can usually be obtained through context:
back-formation: ingo (a holder, socket, sheath)
- flamo, a flame, flam'ingo, a burner (it holds or produces part of a flame)
- kandelo, a candle, kandel'ingo, a candlestick (it holds only the very base of the candle)
- ovo, an egg, ov'ingo, an egg-cup
- fingro, a finger, fingr'ingo, a thimble (it does not encase the entire finger)
- peniso, a penis, penis'ingo, a condom
23. 'ist'—denotes profession. It is often misused to
mean a person's way of life or a person who is a very strong supporter
of something, since ex. "a feminist" ends in "-ist" in English, so on
accident we might add "-isto" to the Esperanto word too. In such cases,
"ano" and/or ”ism” should be added instead, which are the suffixes for
members of groups and ideas:
back-formation: isto (a professional):
- drogo, a drug, drog'isto, druggist, pharmacist
- maro, the sea, mar'isto, a sailor.
- hejti, to heat, to stoke a fire, hejt'isto, a stoker
- kaperi, to capture at sea, kaper’isto, a pirate
- ŝteli, to steal, ŝtel’isto, a thief
23. 'uj'—denotes that which contains, produces, encloses or bears an entire thing (or almost the entire thing, as in the case of plants and vases) or a quantity of things. For example, it would be a chest, suitcase or vase. |
Originally uj was used to create tree and country names, however modernly "tree" is usually expressed by suffixing arbo (a tree), and country names are often made by suffixing lando (a country, a land) or more rarely, nacio (a nation):
Back-formation: ujo (a container, receptacle)
- plumo, a pen, plum’ujo, a pen-box, a pen-case, plum’ingo, a pen-holder (that only holds one pen)
- mono, money, mon'ujo, "money-container", a purse, wallet, etc.
- cigaro, a cigar, cigar'ujo, a cigar-case.
- hundo, a dog, hund'ujo, a dog-house.
- frida, cold, frid'ujo, "cold container", a fridge (mirroring the construction in many foreign languages)
- pomo, apple, pom'ujo (archaic), pom'arbo (modern), apple-tree
- miri, to marvel, mir'ujo (archiac), mir'lando (modern), wonderland
24. 'ul'—denotes a being or object characterised by the idea. Usually this means a human:
back-formation: ulo - a casual term for a person (ex. "guy, fellow, chap")
- timo, fear, tim'ul’o, a coward, a poltroon.
- avara, miserly, avar'ul’o, a miser, a tightwad
- drinki, to drink alcohol, drink'ul’o, a drunkard, an alcoholic
- mamo, a breast, mam'ul’o, a mammal
25. um—has no definite meaning, and simply imparts some sort of
unspecified relation to the root. Sometimes this means ”a common act
surrounding the object”, as in ”kafo, coffee, kaf’um’i, to sit around
cozily having coffee”. The true meaning is inferred via context, or has
to be specifically looked up. This is the suffix to add when wishing to
create vagueness, and it exists in the roots of some Esperanto words:
back-formation: umo ("thingie, whatchamacallit, doohickey", something one doesn't know the name for).
- ami, to love,
- brako, arm, brak'um'o, hug. (there are clearer ways to say "hug" than this)
- malvarm, cold, malvarm'um'o, a cold (the illness)
- proksima, near, proksim'um'e, approximately
- dekstra, right (directional), dekstr'um'a, clockwise
- kolo, a neck, kol'um'o, a collar
- komuna, communal, komun'um'o, a community
- pleni, to fill, plen’um’i, to fulfill
26. aĉ—denotes a lack of quality, inferiority.
back-formations: aĉ! (yuck! oh no! ugh!), aĉa (awful, horrible, terrible), aĉe (poorly, terribly)
- domo, a house, domicile, dom'aĉ'o, a hovel, shack
- hundo, a hound, hund'aĉ'o, a cur.
- skribi, to write, skrib'aĉ'i, to scrawl or chicken-scratch
- knabo, a boy, knab'aĉ'o, a brat
- aĉ'ulo, a wretch, a person characterized by awfulness
- vir'patro, a father, vir'patr'aĉ'o, a lousy father
27. end’—denotes that which is required or must be done:
Back-formation: endi - to require, to be required
- lavi, to wash, lav'enda, must-be-washed
- pagi, to pay, pag'enda, must-be-paid
- solvi problemo, to solve a problem, solv'enda problemo, a problem that must be solved
28. ism—denotes a doctrine, theory, system, or school of thought; it corresponds to English "-ism"|
(note here about "feminism = female-way-of-thinking")
(note about religion)
back-formation: ismo (an ism, doctrine, etc.)
- alkoholo, alcohol, alkohol'ism'o, alcoholism
- Budho, Buddha, budh'ism'a, Buddhist, budh'ism'o, Buddhism
- Kristo, Christ, krist’ism’o or krist’an’ism’o, Christianity
- sekso, biological sex, gender, seks'ismo, sexism
- reala, real, real’ism, realism
29. obl—denotes a multiple (as in multiplication), and corresponds to English "-fold”:
back-formation: oblo (a multiple)
- du, two, du'obl'a, double,
- multa, many, mult'obl'a, multifold
30. on—denotes a fraction; it corresponds to English "-th”:
- duo, a two, du'on'o, a half
- kvaro, a four, kvar'on'o, a quarter, a fourth
- trio, a three, du tri'on'oj, two-thirds
31. op’—denotes numbers when they are in a group, aka. "collective numerals”. These are words like ”both, all three, a pair, a trio”:
back-formations: opa (collective)
- duo, a two, du'op'o, an ordered pair, a duo, a couple, du'op'e, by twos, two-by-two or in pairs
- trio, a three, tri'op'e, by threes or three-by-three
- unuo, a one, unu'op'ulo, an individual
plen'—denotes "full, -ful" as in "stressful, plentiful". This is simply the root of the adjective "plena - full, complete" added as a suffix to a word.|
- sukceso, a success, sukces'plena, successful
- fumo, smoke, fumo'plena, smokeful, full of smoke, completely smokey
- mal, prefix meaning ”opposite”, plen'e, ”full-wise; in a full or complete way", mal'plen'e, emptily
In addition to these actual endings, there are a few present in the
vocabulary of Esperanto which are completely unnecessary, technically
meaning nothing official by themselves, and which people may or may not
simply cut out. Zamenhof himself has stated that it is perfectly
acceptable to remove these endings in order to shorten the root word, as
long as there is no other word that has the same root. |
”anthropo’logy” were to be shortened and the -logy removed, but
”anthropo” was already its own word with another meaning, then
shortening wouldn’t be allowed.
logio’— denotes -logy in English, meaning either ”the study of” or ”a
characteristic of language”. This suffix is sometimes used to create new
-logy words, such as esperanto’logio (Esperantology). The more
Esperanto word to suffix would be something like ”studado” (studying,
- antropo’logio, anthropology (would be better to say ”homaro’studado”, humankind-studies)
- apo’logio, apology
- astro’logio, astrology (astro’studado, ŝtelo'studado)
- arĥeo’logio, archæology
- ana’logio, analogy
- mito’logio, mythology (”fabelo’studado”, fable studies)
cio’— corresponds to ”-tion” and sometimes ”-tia, -tio, -acy”, which in
English form nouns relating to ”states, qualities, actions or
conditions”. This -cio suffix however, means absolutely nothing in
Esperanto and simply exists at the end of other words due to the
spelling or pronunciation of their origins:
- polu’cio, pollution (a better way is to say polu’o).
Note that modernly, the -cio way can mean ”nocturnal emission, wet
dream” while the simple -o way means ”pollution” in general.
- civiliza’cio, civilization
- kompozi’cio, composition
- konfedera’cio, confederation
- halucina’cio, hallucination
- na’cio, nation
- iner’cio, inertia
- gla’cio, ice (from glaciēs in Latin, glace in French)
- konfiden’cio, confedence
- farma’cio, pharmacy (the science, not the shop)
3.tor’— Corresponds to ”-tor” and sometimes ”-thor, -ter” in English,
meaning ”person or thing who does something (usually for work)”. However
in Esperanto this suffix means nothing. When in the sense of a person,
instead ”-isto” should normally be used:
- kredi’toro, creditor (better to say ”pag’end’ulo”, pay-required-person)
- kas’toro, bearer (pren’isto - hold-professional)
- aŭ’toro, author (skrib’isto - write-professional)
- kura’toro, curator
- dikta’toro, dictator
- direk’toro, director (direkt’isto)
- dok’toro, Doctor (regarding the level of education in general, not medicinal only)
4.ik’— Corresponds to ”-ic” in English. Despite that this is simply an
adjective ending (angelic, gothic), for some reason it has sometimes
been retained in the Esperanto words:
- elektron’ik’a, electronical (elektrono means ”electron”,
which is also what ”elecronical” stems from in English, so the real
Esperanto form should be ”elektrona”…)
- refer’enc’i, to refer (referi)
- enc’— Corresponds to ”ence” in English:
- difer’enc’i, to differ (diferi)