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Writing with Suffixes: Er Words

Next in our series of words that share suffixes is -er words. The -er suffix changes a verb, such as run, into a noun that denotes a person doing the action, like runner. It also changes nouns, such as ranch, into nouns that are somehow involved with the root noun, like rancher. The ending is native to English, coming to us from Middle English’s -ere and Old English’s -ere, according to Chambers Dictionary of Etymology

  • abjurer, noun: one who solemnly rejects or abstains from something.

Should the abjurer desire to go to Scotland, rather than across seas, a border town or village took the place of the port of embarkation, and he was directed by the coroner to pass through the place assigned. — Norman Maclaren Trenholme, The Right of Sanctuary in England: A Study in Institutional History (1903)

  • busker, noun: one who plays music in a public place for donations.

Castle Street is a wide park-like thoroughfare given over to foot traffic, mercilessly hard stainless steel benches from another age, the occasional tree, and the obligatory busker or three. – Barry B. Longyear, “Murder in Parliament Street”

  • warrantor, noun: someone who gives a warranty.

The army is the warrantor of the modern foundations of Turkey. — Focus News

  • bursar, noun: treasurer.

The college Bursar, with an eye to maintenance costs, requested a durable cladding material, which would not only look good, but would require minimal aftercare. —

  • mollycoddler, noun: a person who excessively indulges or coddles someone.

The politician is more or less of a mollycoddler, but the high school debater having no ax to grind speaks out boldly and brings out many points which the public desires to know about a question. — The Quarterly Journal of Speech, Volume 2 (1916)

A version of this article originally published on August 31, 2011, on The Writing Resource.


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