Glossary of Linguistic Terms

Derivational Affix


A derivational affix is an affix by means of which one word is formed (derived) from another. The derived word is often of a different word class from the original.


In contrast to an inflectional affix, a derivational affix:

  • is not part of an obligatory set of affixes
  • generally occurs closer to the root
  • generally is more meaningful, and
  • is more likely to result in a form that has a somewhat idiosyncratic meaning.


  • Joyful
  • Joyfulness
  • Stapler