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What would be the appropriate suffix to add to a word to say that it resembles the noun? In English, we have the example of "Roguelike" (or Rogue-like), which is a style of video game. It's a substantive that tells you the game is like a particular style of gameplay.

For a Latin example, say there's a thing that resembles a rock and you want to say it's rock-like. Could you add -similis to saxum to have something like saxisimilis? Is there a better suffix or another way to express this?

2 Answers 2

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Despite verisimilis (which Lewis and Short note should be separated), I would instead recommend going the Greek route using -ειδής suffix. This means "in the shape or form of" and can be used for things that are similar to but distinct from the original object.

Two examples:

  • ἀνηθοειδής "like dill" (not dill, but similar to it)
  • ἑλικοειδής "in the shape of a spiral"

I don't believe it's a productive suffix in Latin, but theoretically you could generate a learned coinage like κλεπτοειδής (cleptoides, 'like a thief') with it. Beware, though, κακοειδής (cacoides, 'like a bad person/thing') is already a word, though since it's a hapax legomenon, it should be easy to borrow with a slightly different meaning.

You can translate Rogue-like, though, since Rogue is a proper noun (i.e. Rogue-likes are games in the gameplay style of Rogue).

Fortunately for your other example we do have a Greek word for "rock-like": λιθοειδής. It's also safely attested, found in Plato of all people (and a couple other places). It would be Latinized into lithoides (which doubles as a scientific Latin name given to a species of catfish, among other species).

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Appendicitis is an inflammation of the processus vermiformis, the appendix in the shape of a worm.

A search for words that end in -formis in L&S yields 20 results. Some of these have numbers: biformis, quadriformis, septiformis, multiformis.

There are two that actually translate to having the form of ...:

caniformis (having the form of a dog)

tauriformis (bullshaped).

Strangely, vermiformis is not among them.

By analogy, in the form of a rock might be saxiformis, but I have only found this on marinespecies.org.

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