My question is, supposing you know about that sort of freely productive suffix formation of adjectives we use in English, mostly '-y' or '-ish', 'how would you make new words like that in French?'. For example: “It has sort of a raspberry-y, coffee-y taste?”

The choice of appending one of those two suffixes is left to the speaker and he/she can do that with really any noun (such adjectives, then, are not found in the dictionaries). I was wondering if something like that is possible in French?


There are various suffixes; however, they are not appended freely, bar exceptions (-issime); for instance you can say "largeot" but not "fortot" or "fortet", whereas there is no problem with "fortissime". Here are some of the most important ones, with a few instances of words in which they occur ;

  • "-eux" is usually derogatory; it's used with nouns;
    farineux, pâteux, sirupeux, anguleux, véreux, …
  • "-ard" is also derogatory; it's used with nouns;
    revanchard, cabochard, paillard, pantouflard, pochard, poissard, roublard, débrouillard, …
  • "-et" connotes smallness, and what can deemed puny as well; ((TLFi) éventuellement avec une valeur péjorative, laudative ou hypocoristique (qui exprime une intention caressante, affectueuse, notamment dans le langage des enfants ou ses imitations)); it's used with adjectives and nouns;
    (adjectives) jaunet, tristouillet, finet, …

  • "-ot" (TLFi) Suff. formateur de subst. et d'adj. auxquels il donne le plus souvent une valeur diminutive.
    (adjectives) ballot, largeot, vieillot, …

  • ''-esque'' (TLFi) [Le mot de base est un adj. qualificatif exprimant souvent une qualité originale ou bizarre que le suff. vient accentuer sinon caricaturer] can be used rather freely
    (adjectives) dévorantesque, maboulesque, magiquesque, sauvagesque
    (ajouté par user Loïc Di Benedstto)

  • "-issime" (from the Italian suffix "-issimo") can be used rather freely;
    (adjectives) élégantissime, énormissime, faiblissime, longuissime, louchissime, pâlissime, radicalissime, grandissime, …
    (proper nouns) béjartissime, godardissime, josephissime, …

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