See also: ster, stêr, and Stèr



From Middle English -ster, -estere, from Old English -estre (-ster, feminine agent suffix), from Proto-West Germanic *-istrijā, *-astrijā, from Proto-Germanic *-istrijǭ, *-astrijǭ, from Proto-Indo-European *-is-ter- (suffix). Cognate with Old High German -astria, Middle Low German -ester, Dutch -ster.



  1. Someone who is, or who is associated with, or who does something specified.
  2. (humorous, sometimes offensive) A diminutive appended to a person's name.
    • 1992, Russell Baker, "Observer; Pretty Good Read" (review of What It Takes by Richard Ben Cramer), New York Times, 25 Jul.,
      Cramer's exploration of the hearts, minds and souls of America's ambition-crazed Presidential candidates moves ahead at a pace that feels childishly frantic . . . . This is not just because it keeps referring to Senator Robert Dole as "the Bobster."

Usage notesEdit

  • Relatively uncommon for agent nouns, compared to more usual -er and -or; primarily used for single-syllable words. Also informal, particularly in contemporary productive use – compare hipster, scenester, bankster; older terms such as barrister do not have this casual connotation, however.
  • Sometimes used in proper names, e.g. Napster (file-sharing software), Blockster (Brandon Block, disc jockey)
  • In older words, used as a suffix for jobs that were held by women, e.g., webster (a female webber, or weaver), baxter (a female baker), spinster (a female spinner), brewster (a female brewer).


Derived termsEdit




From Middle Dutch -ster, cognate with Middle Low German -ster, Old English -estre, Old High German -astria. Perhaps also merging with Vulgar Latin -istria, borrowed from Ancient Greek -ιστρια (-istria).[1]


-ster f

  1. female equivalent of -er

Derived termsEdit


  1. ^ A. van Loey, "Schönfeld's Historische Grammatica van het Nederlands", Zutphen, 8. druk, 1970, →ISBN; § 177