Over the last few weeks, we’ve looked at different prefixes to help us improve our vocabularies. Now, we move to the other end of words: suffixes. This week’s suffix, -ate, comes from the Old French -at (we added the e later) or -é(e), or comes directly from the Latin -atus, creating nouns or adjectives. In addition, -ate also comes from the French -er or directly from the Latin -are, creating verbs.
- aerate, verb: to supply with air or to expose to oxygen.
I’m fortunate that I can get aged wood shavings that provide soil drainage and help aerate the soil, making it much fluffier. —Mother Earth News
- collegiate, adjective: of or related to college.
The first known cheer came from some Princeton spectators during a Princeton-Rutgers football game—the first collegiate football game ever—in 1869. —The Washington Post
- desolate, adjective: deserted or empty; sad, joyless.
With profits from oil and natural gas, the young emir transformed this desolate spit of Persian Gulf real estate into one of the richest countries on Earth. —The Atlantic Monthly
- maturate, verb: to mature.
As students adjust to the college or university environment and maturate beyond the learning style restrictions of their first year, the development of a repertoire of learning styles becomes important to the student expecting to obtain a degree. —Journal of Instructional Psychology
- prelate, noun: a high-ranking official, such as a bishop, in the Christian Church.
The bishop has compared himself to another prelate, Cardinal Joseph Bernardin of Chicago, who in 1993 was accused of sexual abuse by a man who later recanted. —The New York Times
A version of this article originally published on August 24, 2011, on The Writing Resource.