• -ness


    Alternative forms


    Middle English, from Old English -nis, -nes, from Proto-Germanic *-nassuz. This suffix was formed already in Proto-Germanic by false division of the final consonant *-n- of the preceding stem + the actual suffix *-assuz. The latter was in turn derived from an earlier *-at(s)-tuz, from the verbal suffix *-at-janą + the noun suffix *-þuz.

    Cognates are Old Saxon -nissi, -nussi, Dutch -nis, German -nis and Gothic -𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃, -𐌹𐌽𐌰𐍃𐍃𐌿𐍃.

    Full definition of -ness


    1. Appended to adjectives to form nouns meaning "the state of (the adjective)", "the quality of (the adjective)", or "the measure of (the adjective)".calmnesscalmdarknessdarkkindnesskindonenessone
    2. Appended to words of other parts of speech to form nouns (often nonce words or terms in philosophy) meaning the state/quality/measure of the idea represented by these words.thatnessthattreenesstree

    Usage notes

    If adjective ends in -y, then this changes to -i- when -ness is suffixed. This occurs both when the -y is the suffix -y ("having the quality of"), as in messmessymessiness (hence -y-i-), but also in other cases, as in comelycomeliness.

    Derived terms

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