- suffix denoting a person engaged in or associated with a particular activity or thing (brewster; gangster; youngster).
Etymology: OE -estre etc. f. Gmc
* * *\\stə(r), following a vȯiced consonant, as in “mobster”, -ztə- or -stə-\ noun suffix (-s)Etymology: Middle English -ster, -stere, -estere, from Old English -estre female agent; akin to Middle Dutch -ster1. : one that does or handles or operates
teamster2. : one that makes or uses
punster3. : one that is associated with or participates in
* * *a suffix used in forming nouns, often derogatory, referring especially to occupation, habit, or association: gamester; songster; trickster.
* * *-ster /-stər/suffixUsed to denote a person with a particular characteristic, as in youngster, or activity, as in mobster, prankster, etcORIGIN: OE sfx -estre
* * *-ster,suffix.1. a person who _____s: »
Trickster = a person who tricks.2. a person who makes or handles _____: »
Rhymester = a person who makes rhymes.3. a person who is _____: »
Youngster = a person who is young.4. special meanings, as in gangster, roadster, teamster.╂[Middle English -estre, a feminine agent suffix, Old English -istre, -estre a feminine suffix]ster.,sterling.
* * *suffix1) denoting a person engaged in or associated with a particular activity or thing
gangster | songster2) denoting a person having a particular quality
youngster•Origin:Old English -estre, -istre, etc., of Germanic origin
* * */stɚ/ noun combining form1 : someone who does or handles or operates something
teamster2 : someone who makes or uses something
prankster3 : someone who is associated with or participates in something
gangster4 : someone who has a specified quality
* * *(in nouns) a person who is connected with or has the quality of
* * *-ster, suffixForms: 1 -istræ, -estre, later -ystre, -istre, 2–4 -estre, 4–5 -estir, 5 -ister, 4–7 -star(e, 4–5 -estere, -stere, 4– -ster.[Corresponding to MLG. -(e)ster, (M)Du. and mod.Fris. -ster, it represents a WGer. type -strjōn-, forming feminine agent-nouns, prob. a derivative of the OTeut. -stro- forming nouns of action, as in ON. bakstr masc., act of baking, OHG. galstar neut., incantation.The existence of the suffix is not attested for High German, OS. or OFris.; the supposed examples sometimes cited, OHG. wagastria lance, agalastra (OS. agastria) magpie, OS. hamstra marmot, ramestra some plant, are very doubtful; even if the suffix be formally identical with the agential suffix, it has not the same function. In Du. -ster regularly forms feminine agent-nouns corresponding to masculines in -er, e.g. schrijfster fem. of schrijver a writer. In MLG., and in mod.Fris., although most of the nouns in -ster are fem., several occur as masc., e.g. MLG. bedriegster deceiver, NFris. grewster gravedigger, wäwster weaver.In the original types of the formation the suffix was prob. preceded by the thematic vowel of the word to which it was attached, thus becoming -astrjōn-, -istrjōn, ? -ustrjōn-. In the historical forms, however, there is no evidence of this (unless in the OE. byrdistræ: see below); in Du. and Fris. the suffix is -ster without prefixed vowel; in MLG. usually -ster, sometimes -ester, app. merely for euphony. In OE. it is -estre, which does not produce umlaut, though it is often added to a stem containing an umlaut-vowel.]In OE. -estre was freely used to form fem. agent-nouns, in exactly the same manner in which -ere (-er1) was used to form masc. agent-nouns. Thus it was appended to the pres.-stems of verbs, as in lǽrestre female teacher, hoppestre female dancer, and to certain monosyllabic nouns of action as in sangestre songstress, séamestre sempstress, lybbestre female poisoner or witch. In a few instances fem. agent-nouns were formed by the substitution of -estre for the masc. suffix -a (:—-jon-), as in bigengestre fem. of bigenga cultivator, worshipper, webestre (webster) beside webbe as fem. of webba weaver. Lattéow, leader, functionally an agent-n. though without agential suffix, gave rise to a fem. lættewestre. An anomalous formation is huntiᵹestre (instead of *huntestre) huntress which occurs once as a variant reading for hunticge.In OE. the suffix may be said to have retained its original function, for the few instances in which it is used as a masculine are renderings of Latin designations of men exercising functions which among the English were peculiar to women, as byrdistræ embroiderer (gl. blaciarius, primicularius), bæcestre baker (gl. pistor), séamestre tailor (gl. sartor), wæscestre washer (gl. fullo).In northern ME., however, perh. owing to the frequent adoption by men of trades like weaving, baking, tailoring, etc., the suffix came very early to be used, indiscriminately with -er1, as an agential ending irrespective of gender; thus in the Cursor Mundi (a 1300) demestre (see dempster) appears instead of demere (deemer), a judge, bemestre instead of bemer a trumpeter. It is probable that -ster was often preferred to -er as more unambiguously referring to the holder of a professional function, as distinguished from the doer of an occasional act. In Scotland, baxter and webster survived as masculines down to the 19th c. The only word of this formation that in Scotland has remained exclusively feminine is sewster.In the south the suffix continued to be predominantly feminine throughout the ME. period. The OE. formations, baxter, seamster, tapster, were in southern English usually feminine before 1500; many new designations of occupation, originally feminine, arose in ME. as bellringestre, hordestre treasurer (Winteney Rule St. Benet, 13th c.), hotestre fem. of hotere commander (Ayenbite), brewster, dyester, litster, throwster, huckster; also spinster, which alone of the group has survived (though with change of sense) solely as a feminine. A few feminines in -estere were formed to correspond to masculines in -er(e of French origin: fruitestere, tumbestere, tumblestere, wafrestere. As a feminine suffix of purely agential import, -ster was in the 14th c. still used for new formations by some writers, but was generally replaced by the French -eresse. Thus MS. Bodl. 277 of the Wyclif Bible has chesister, daunster, dwelster, weilster, where other copies have cheseresse, daunseresse (leperesse), dwelleresse, weileresse.From the 16th c. onwards the older words in -ster, so far as they survived, have been regarded as masculines, and several of them have given rise to feminines in -ess, as backstress, seamstress, songstress, huckstress. In the modern English period the suffix has been very productive, but it is doubtful whether any of the new formations are really derived from verbs; in every instance in which this would be formally possible there is a n. of the same form as the vb., and the derivative is (in present feeling at least) associated rather with the n. than the vb. so in gamester, rhymester (late 16th c.), drugster (1611; but cf. druggister), and the much later dabster, jokester, punster, trickster, tipster. The formation here imitates that of trade designations; hence the disparaging sense, e.g. in rhymester, jokester, as compared with rhymer, joker. An anomalous use is that in rubster (17th c.) something used to rub with.
Useful english dictionary. 2012.