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From Middle English -ster, -estere, from Old English -estre (-ster, feminine agent suffix), 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).


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