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-s 1

or -es
Used to form plural nouns: letters; ashes.

[Middle English -es, -s, from Old English -es, -as, nominative and accusative pl. suff.]

-s 2

or -es
Used to form the third person singular present tense of all regular and most irregular verbs: looks; holds; goes.

[Middle English -es, -s, from Old English (Northumbrian) -es, -as, alteration (perhaps influenced by Old Norse) of -eth, -ath.]

-s 3

Used to form adverbs: They were caught unawares. He works nights.

[Middle English -es, -s, genitive sing. suff., from Old English -es.]
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.




forming the plural of most nouns: boys; boxes.
[from Old English -as, plural nominative and accusative ending of some masculine nouns]




forming the third person singular present indicative tense of verbs: he runs; she washes.
[from Old English (northern dialect) -es, -s, originally the ending of the second person singular]


forming nicknames and names expressing affection or familiarity: Fats; Fingers; ducks.
[special use of -s1]
Collins English Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged, 12th Edition 2014 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1994, 1998, 2000, 2003, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2014

S, s


n., pl. Ss S's, ss s's.
1. the 19th letter of the English alphabet, a consonant.
2. any spoken sound represented by this letter.
3. something shaped like an S.
4. a written or printed representation of the letter S or s.


1. satisfactory.
2. sentence.
3. siemens.
4. signature.
5. single.
6. small.
7. soft.
8. soprano.
9. Also, s south.
10. southern.
11. state (highway).
12. Gram. subject.


1. the 19th in order or in a series.
2. Biochem. serine.
3. entropy.
4. sulfur.


Symbol. second.


an ending used to form the possessive of most singular nouns, plural nouns not ending in s, noun phrases, and noun substitutes: man's; women's; James's; witness's (or witness'); king of England's; anyone's.
[Middle English -es, Old English]


1. contraction of is: She's here.
2. contraction of has: He's been there.
3. contraction of does: What's he do for a living?


Archaic. a contraction of God's: 'sdeath; 'sblood.


a contraction of us: Let's go.


a contraction of as: so's not to be late.


a suffix used in the formation of adverbs: always; betimes; unawares.
[Middle English -es, Old English; ultimately identical with ' s1]


or -es,
an ending marking the third person sing. present indicative of verbs: walks; runs; plays.
[Middle English (north) -(e)s, Old English (north); orig. ending of 2nd pers. singular; replacing Middle English, Old English -eth -eth1]


or -es,
an ending marking nouns as plural (weeks; days; minutes), occurring also on nouns that have no singular (dregs; pants; scissors), or on nouns that have a singular with a different meaning (glasses; manners; thanks); -s3 occurs with a number of nouns that now often take singular agreement, as the names of games (billiards; checkers), of diseases (measles; rickets), or of various involuntary physical or mental conditions (d.t.'s; giggles; hots; willies). A parallel set of formations, where -s3 has no plural value, are adjectives denoting mental states (bananas; crackers; nuts); compare -ers.
[Middle English -(e)s, Old English -as]


a suffix of hypocoristic nouns, generally proper names or forms used only in address: Babs; Fats; Suzykins; Toodles.
[probably from the metonymic use of nouns formed with -s3, as boots or Goldilocks]


1. Sabbath.
2. Saint.
3. Saturday.
4. schilling.
5. Sea.
6. Senate.
7. September.
8. (in prescriptions) mark; write; label.
[< Latin signā]
9. Signor.
10. Socialist.
11. Fellow.
[< Latin socius]
12. south.
13. southern.
14. Sunday.


1. school.
2. section.
3. see.
4. series.
5. shilling.
6. sign.
7. signed.
8. silver.
9. singular.
10. sire.
11. small.
12. society.
13. son.
14. south.
15. southern.
16. stem.
17. substantive.
Random House Kernerman Webster's College Dictionary, © 2010 K Dictionaries Ltd. Copyright 2005, 1997, 1991 by Random House, Inc. All rights reserved.