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-er 1

a. One that performs a specified action: swimmer.
b. One that undergoes or is capable of undergoing a specified action: broiler.
c. One that has: ten-pounder.
d. One that is associated or involved with: banker.
a. Native or resident of: New Yorker.
b. One that is: foreigner.

[Middle English, partly from Old English -ere (from Germanic *-ārjaz, from Latin -ārius, -ary), partly from Anglo-French -er (from Old French -ier, from Latin -ārius) and partly from Old French -ere, -eor; see -or1.]

-er 2

Used to form the comparative degree of adjectives and adverbs: darker; faster.

[Middle English, from Old English -re, -ra.]
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. a person or thing that performs a specified action: reader; decanter; lighter.
2. a person engaged in a profession, occupation, etc: writer; baker; bootlegger.
3. a native or inhabitant of: islander; Londoner; villager.
4. a person or thing having a certain characteristic: newcomer; double-decker; fiver.
[Old English -ere; related to German -er, Latin -ārius]


forming the comparative degree of adjectives (deeper, freer, sunnier, etc) and adverbs (faster, slower, etc)
[Old English -rd, -re (adj), -or (adv)]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014


(ə, ər)

(used to express or represent a pause, hesitation, uncertainty, etc.)


1. efficiency report.
2. emergency room.


Chem. Symbol.


a noun-forming suffix, added to nouns to form words designating persons from the object of their occupation or labor (hatter; moonshiner; roofer), or from their place of origin or abode (Icelander; southerner), or designating persons or things from some special characteristic or circumstance (double-decker; fourth-grader; tanker; teenager). When added to verbs, -er1 forms nouns denoting a person, animal or thing that performs or is used in performing the action of the verb ( baker; eye-opener; fertilizer; pointer; teacher).
Compare -ier 1, -yer.
[Middle English -er(e), representing Old English -ere agentive suffix (c. Old High German -āri, Gothic -areis < Germanic *-arjaz < Latin -ārius -ary) and Old English -ware, forming ethnonyms (as Rōmware Romans), c. Old High German -āri < Germanic *-warioz people]


a noun suffix occurring in loanwords from French in the Middle English period, most often names of occupations (butcher; carpenter; grocer; mariner; officer), but also other nouns (corner; danger; primer).
[Middle English < Anglo-French -er, Old French -ier < Latin -ārius, -ārium. compare -ary, -eer, -ier2]


a termination of nouns denoting action or process, occurring orig. and predominantly in loanwords from French or Anglo-French: dinner; rejoinder; remainder.
[< Anglo-French or Old French, orig. infinitive suffix -er, -re]


a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adjectives: harder; smaller.
[Middle English -er(e), -re, Old English -ra, -re; c. German -er]


a suffix regularly used in forming the comparative degree of adverbs: faster.
[Middle English -er(e), -re, Old English -or; c. Old High German -or]


a formative appearing in verbs having frequentative meaning: flicker; flutter; shiver; shudder.
[Middle English; Old English -r-; c. German -(e)r-]


Chiefly Brit. a suffix that creates informal or jocular mutations of more neutral words, which are typically clipped to a single syllable before application of the suffix, and sometimes subjected to other phonetic alterations: bed-sitter; fresher; rugger; soccer. Compare -ers.
[probably modeled on nonagentive uses of -er1; said to have first become current in University College, Oxford, 1875–80]


emergency room.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.