See also: illa and Illa




Originally a variant of -ella used on verbs ending in -ata, -ota, -ätä, having developed by vowel contraction: -Aðele- (-oðele-) > -A.ele- (-o.ele-) > -Aile- (-oile-). Denominal use has been innovated in literary Finnish in the 20th century.


-illa (front vowel harmony variant -illä)

  1. Forms frequentative verbs. The resulting verb often describes a more or less leisurely or long-lasting activity, or an activity that is not overly goal-oriented.
    salata(to keep secret) -> salailla(to be secretive)
  2. Forms action verbs which denote an activity closely related with a noun.
    auto(car) -> autoilla(to drive a car) (but not ˣautota)
    maja(hut) -> majailla(to stay temporarily) (but not ˣmajata)
    pallo(ball) -> palloilla(to play a ballgame) (but not ˣpallota)

Derived termsEdit

See alsoEdit


  • Hakulinen, Lauri. 1941–2000. Suomen kielen rakenne ja kehitys ('The Structure and Development of the Finnish Language'). Helsinki: Otava/Helsingin yliopisto.




From Old Spanish -iella, from Latin -ella(m).


-illa (masculine counterpart -illo)

  1. Added to feminine nouns to denote a diminutive form.

Usage notesEdit

  • If the noun has a final vowel (usually -a), it is dropped before adding -illa.
  • In most cases, -illa is used simply to indicate a small or endeared thing, without changing the basic meaning of the noun; however, in some cases, it is used to effect a greater change in meaning, such as bombilla(light-bulb), from bomba(bomb).
  • Different nouns tend to prefer different diminutive suffixes (see synonyms below), though some nouns accept multiple diminutives and there is often regional or personal variation.
  • For masculine nouns ending in “-a”, there is some alternation between the gender-reflecting diminutive -illo and the ending-reflecting diminutive -illa. When the latter is used, -ill- may be considered an infix.


Derived termsEdit