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-ee 1

a. One that receives or benefits from a specified action: addressee.
b. One that possesses a specified thing: mortgagee.
2. One that performs a specified action: absentee.

[Middle English, from Old French -e, -ee, past participle suff., from Latin -ātus; see -ate1.]
Usage Note: The suffix -ee has its origins in the French passive participle ending (feminine -ée). It was first used in English to refer to indirect objects and then to direct objects of transitive verbs, particularly in legal contexts (as in donee, lessee, or trustee) and in military and political jargon (draftee, trainee, or nominee). Typically the action of the verb happens to the person being described by the noun—a draftee is a person who is drafted, not a person who drafts other people. Beginning around the mid-19th century, primarily in American English, the -ee suffix was extended to denote the subject of an intransitive verb, as in standee ("a person who stands") and returnee ("a person who returns"). The coining of new words ending in -ee continues to be common. A number of these coinages, such as honoree, deportee, and escapee, have become widely accepted. But many others are created on an ad-hoc basis and tend to have a comic effect. Thus, a firee is one who is fired from a job, a jokee is one who is the subject of a joke, and a roastee is one who is ridiculed at a roast. On rare occasions the suffix -ee has been applied to noun forms, giving us words like benefactee (from benefactor) and to transitive verbs where the subject refers to the agent of the action, such as attendee (one who attends a conference).

-ee 2

a. One resembling: goatee.
b. A particular, especially a diminutive kind of: bootee.
2. One connected with: bargee.

[Variant of -y.]
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.


suffix forming nouns
1. indicating a person who is the recipient of an action (as opposed, esp in legal terminology, to the agent, indicated by -or or -er): assignee; grantee; lessee.
2. indicating a person in a specified state or condition: absentee; employee.
3. indicating a diminutive form of something: bootee.
[via Old French -e, -ee, past participial endings, from Latin -ātus, -āta -ate1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


a suffix orig. forming from transitive verbs nouns that denote a person who is the object or beneficiary of the act specified by the verb (addressee; employee; grantee); now also marking the performer of an act, with the base being an intransitive verb (escapee; returnee; standee) or, less frequently, a transitive verb (attendee) or another part of speech (absentee; refugee).
[< French -é, (masculine), -ée (feminine), past participle endings < Latin -ātus, -āta -ate1]


1. electrical engineer.
2. electrical engineering.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.