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-iet /i:t/ is a non-native unproductive stress-bearing cohering suffix found in various classes of nouns (e.g. Israëliet Israelite, Jemeniet Yemenite, meteoriet meteorite, grafiet graphite, chloriet chlorite) and a few adjectives (e.g. expliciet explicit). Nouns in -iet are usually of common gender, except those from chemical terminology, which are usually neuter.


The suffix -iet /i:t/ is found in a number of nouns and a few adjectives based on bases from French or Latin, or they are loans from these languages. Various subcategories can be distinguished (cf. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 200-1), Philippa (2003-2009), cf. also and ):

  • Proper nouns of common gender based on proper names, denoting follower, offspring of, e.g. islamiet muslim, Kanaäniet Canaanite. In cases such as Jezuïet jesuit (< Jezus Jesus) and Jacobiet Jacobite (< Jacobus James) the base is truncated; Mennoniet Mennonite (< Menno) has a variant -niet. The plural is in -en (e.g. Mennonieten Mennonites, Jezuïeten jesuits).
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    In metropoliet archbishop, the base is possibly not a proper name (metropool metropolis or Metropolius?) and the semantics is different. De Haas and Trommelen (1993: 200) suggest that words like bandiet bandit, travestiet transvestite and heremiet hermit might also contain this suffix, although they admit that these words have a different type of semantics.

  • Inhabitant names of common gender based on geographical names such as Adeniet someone from Aden and Jemeniet someone from Yemen. In Addis-Abebiet someone from Addis-Abeba and Samniet someone from Samnium we see truncation of the stem, in Moskoviet someone from Moscow (< Moskou) we see stem allomorphy. The plural form is in -en (e.g. Jemenieten Yemenites). These nouns can be input to adjective formation by means of the suffix -isch, e.g. Moskovitisch from or related to Moscow (next to Moskous from or related to Moscow and Moskovisch Muscovite as in Moskovisch gebak sponge cake). Feminine forms are usually not based on the iet derivation but on the adjective instead, e.g. Moskovitische woman from Moscow (next to Moskouse woman from Moscow).
  • Proper nouns of common gender denoting minerals, fossils, etc., such as meteoriet meteorite, stalactiet stalactite, trilobiet trilobite. The plural is in -en (e.g. meteorieten meteorites).
  • Proper nouns of neuter gender, usually mass nouns, that function as names of chemical substances. Subgroups: salts of acids whith English names ending in -ous like kaliumchloriet KClO2, potassium chlorite, minerals and ores like wolframiet wolframite, and chemical products like bakeliet bakelite and dynamiet dynamite. As mass nouns, there is hardly any use for the plural form of these formations (which would be in -en).
  • A few (international) adjectives such as expliciet explicit an impliciet implicit.

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Nominal -iet ultimately derives from Greek -itès via Latin -ita, ites and French -ite. Adjectival -iet derives from Latin -itus, the past participial suffix for verbs in -ire or -ere.

  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Philippa, Marlies, Debrabandere, Frans, Quak, Arend, Schoonheim, Tanneke & Sijs, Nicoline van der2003-2009Etymologisch Woordenboek van het NederlandsAmsterdam University Press