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-igheid / ɪχhɛɪd, əχhɛɪd, ɪɣhɛɪd, əɣhɛɪd/ is a non-productive Germanic suffix found in nouns of common gender on the basis of native adjectives. Plural is in -igheden /əχhedə(n), əɣhedə(n)/. The meaning is 'substance or abstract entity with the property denoted by A'. Most properties of -igheid carry over from -ig and -heid.

Table 1
base -ig formation -igheid formation
gek foolish gekkig somewhat foolish gekkigheid foolishness
naar unpleasant narig somewhat unpleasant narigheid misery
vies dirty viezig dirtyish viezigheid dirt
The adjectives gekkig and narig are non-existent (but possible) adjectives. They should not be taken as intermediate steps in the derivation of the nouns in -igheid because the meaning of -ig ísh does not form part of the meaning of the resulting complex noun. In other words, the suffix sequence -igheid has become a suffix of its own, with a specific meaning that is not predictable on the basis of the meanings of -ig and -heid.


Most properties of -igheid carry over from -ig and -heid, many nouns in -igheid have a compositional semantics, i.e., their meaning is the result of applying the meaning of -heid to a derivation in -ig: e.g. bozigheid the property of being bozig. Literature: (Booij 2002: 129), (Pluymakers 2010).

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Several diminutive forms of -igheid formations have lexicalized with a non-transparant semantics, e.g. kleinigheidje small present (< klein small) and nieuwigheidje novelty, gadget (< nieuw new).

Some plural forms have developed an idiosyncratic meaning, e.g. gewelddadigheden acts of violence < gewelddadigheid thuggery < geweld violence, others have a plural form only, e.g. the compound leefomstandigheden living conditions.

  • Booij, Geert2002The morphology of DutchOxfordOxford University Press
  • Pluymakers, Mark, Ernestus, Mirjam, Baayen, R. Harald & Booij, Geert2010Morphological effects on fine phonetic detail: the case of Dutch -igheidLaboratory Phonology10BerlinDe Gruyter Mouton