See also: LIC, Lic, lic, líc, lić, lîç, Lic., and lic.

Lower SorbianEdit


  • IPA(key): /lit͡s/, [lʲit͡s]



  1. Alternative form of -li



  1. Alternative form of -li

Further readingEdit

  • Starosta, Manfred (1999), “-lic”, in Dolnoserbsko-nimski słownik / Niedersorbisch-deutsches Wörterbuch (in German), Bautzen: Domowina-Verlag

Middle EnglishEdit



  1. (Early Middle English) Alternative form of -ly (adjectival suffix)

Old EnglishEdit

Alternative formsEdit


From Proto-Germanic *-līkaz (adectival suffix, originally meaning “having form of”), derived from *līką (“body,” earlier “form”), whence Old English līċ. Cognate with Old Frisian -lik, Old Saxon -līk, Old High German -līh, Old Norse -ligr, and Gothic -𐌻𐌴𐌹𐌺𐍃 (-leiks).




  1. adjective-forming suffix meaning 'like' or 'relating to'
    ċild (child) + ‎-lic → ‎ċildlīċ (childlike)
    dēad (dead) + ‎-lic → ‎dēadlīċ (mortal)
    fēond (enemy) + ‎-lic → ‎fēondlīċ (hostile)
    frēond (friend) + ‎-lic → ‎frēondlīċ (friendly)
    lēof (beloved) + ‎-lic → ‎lēoflīċ (lovely)
    lēoþ (poem) + ‎-lic → ‎lēoþlīċ (poetic)
    līchama (body) + ‎-lic → ‎līchamlīċ (physical)
    mennisċ (human) + ‎-lic → ‎mennisċlīċ (humane)
    niht (night) + ‎-lic → ‎nihtlīċ (nocturnal)
    niþer (down) + ‎-lic → ‎niþerlīċ (low)
    open (open) + ‎-lic → ‎openlīċ (public)
    stæf (letter) + ‎-lic → ‎stæflīċ (literal)
    stōw (place) + ‎-lic → ‎stōwlīċ (local)
    ūþwita (philosopher) + ‎-lic → ‎ūþwitlīċ (philosophical)
    wer (man) + ‎-lic → ‎werlīċ (manly or masculine)
    wīf (woman) + ‎-lic → ‎wīflīċ (feminine)
    wundor (miracle or wonder) + ‎-lic → ‎wundorlīċ (miraculous or wonderful)
  2. denoting multiplicity: -fold
    þrilīċtriple, three-fold

Usage notesEdit

  • -Līċ is the most common adjectival suffix in Old English. It can be added to almost any word, often corresponding to Modern English -y.
  • It has no very definite difference in meaning from -isċ and -iġ, except that it's more common and different words happen to end in it.
  • -Līċ belongs to a class of suffixes which were derived from independent words, but which by the written period were no longer strongly identified with the words they were derived from (in this case, līċ “dead body,” which once meant “body” ← “form”). According to Hogg[1], the primary examples are -bǣre, -bora, -cund, -dōm, -fæst, -feald, -ful, -hād, -lāc, -lēas, -līċ, -rǣden, -sċipe, -sum, and -weard.
  • The words created with these suffixes are called "quasi-compounds," which are stressed differently from true compounds. True compound nouns and adjectives always carry secondary stress on their final element: foxhol, [ˈfoksˌhol]. But quasi-compounds are stressed variably: after a stressed syllable, i.e. a monosyllabic first element, the suffix undergoes reduced stress, unless the suffix is multisyllabic either originally or from an inflectional ending. Under this reduced stress, if the suffix has a long vowel or a diphthong, the long vowel is shortened and the diphthong becomes a monophthong (ea becomes a, eo becomes e, ie becomes i). This produces alterations such as cnihtliċ (boyish), with a short i, and cnihtlīċe (nom. masc. pl.), with a long i.
  • However, even when the vowel in these suffixes is short, it is traditionally written with a macron for consistency, because it is still long in the inflected forms. Likewise, the quasi-compounding suffixes -feald and -weard are often written with a diphthong even when they would have been pronounced -fald, -ward. Note that after an unstressed syllable, i.e. when the word it suffixes is multisyllabic, the long vowel/diphthong is retained even absent inflectional endings: brōþorlīċ (brotherly), mæġdenlīċ (girlish).
  • Note that personal names are stressed exactly the same way, with alterations such as Ælfred ("Alfred"), Ælfrēdes ("Alfred's") and Ēadward, Ēadweardes.
  • Throughout Old English, the palatal stops [t͡ʃ] and [d͡ʒ] were depalatalized directly before a consonant: -līcne (acc. sg. masc.), līcra (gen. pl.). This rule can also be seen in many other words, such as þenċan, 2,3sg. pr. ind. þencst, þencþ, whence Modern English think. Note that the palatal fricatives [ʃ] and [j] remained palatal in this condition.[2]
  • Palatalization never occurred directly before a back vowel (a, o, u) except to initial /sk/, so the c is pronounced like a hard k in the inflections -līcum, -līca, and -līcan; also nom. sg. fem./nom-acc. pl. neut. -līc(u), which always ended in *-u at the time of palatalization. This same rule also produced many other alterations such as fisċ (fish), pl. fiscas (later also fixas by metathesis); wīċ (village), pl. wīc (whence Modern English -wich and -wick by leveling); and ġelīċ (like), dat. pl. ġelīcum, nom. sg. fem./nom-acc. pl. neut. ġelīc, nom. pl. fem. ġelīca, etc., whence Modern English like. So for most words ending in ġ, ċ, or sċ; note however that a few words once featured a following *(i)j which blocked a back vowel from preventing palatalization and later vanished, as in rīċe (kingdom), pl. rīċu*rīkju.[3] Also, historical i-stems began to take non-i-stem endings only after palatalization had run its course: swēġ (sound), pl. swēġas*swōġī. Finally, [j] from original /j/ (as opposed to /ɣ/) was never depalatalized: twēoġan (to doubt)*twihōjan.


Derived termsEdit


  • Middle English: -ly, -li, -lych, -lich


  1. ^ Hogg, Richard (1992). A Grammar of Old English, Volume 1: Phonology. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 49
  2. ^ Ringe, Donald; Taylor, Ann (2014) The Development of Old English (A Linguistic History of English; 2), Oxford: Oxford University Press, →ISBN, page 279
  3. ^ Hogg, Richard (1992). A Grammar of Old English, Volume 1: Phonology. Oxford: Blackwell. p. 253