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New Dutch adjectives can be formed by a number of processes, including prefixation and suffixation, and also by conversion and compounding. Borrowing and univerbation are also sources of new adjectives.


New Dutch adjectives can be formed by a number of derivational processes:

  • Adjectival prefixation: e.g. the adjective ondiep shallow is derived from the adjective diep deep by means of the negative prefix on-.
  • Adjectival suffixation: e.g. the adjective zijdeachtig silky is derived from the noun zijde silk by means of the suffix -achtig
  • conversion: e.g. the noun wolfram tungsten can also be used as an adjective (albeit uninflected): een wolfram gloeidraad a tungsten filament.
  • circumfixation: e.g. gebrild wearing glasses is derived from the noun bril glasses by means of the simultaneous addition of a prefix and a suffix.
Other sources of new adjectives include
  • borrowing: e.g. the adjective modern modern is a loan from French (Etymologiebank).
  • compounding: e.g. the adjective grasgroen green as grass is a combination of the noun gras grass and the adjectve groen green. A subcase is formed by the elative compounds, forms like poedelnaakt puddle-naked stark naked in which the left-hand element has lost its original semantics and functions as an amplifying element only.
  • univerbation: the adjective achterbaks underhand, secret(ly) derives from a prepositional phrase behind back (see Etymologiebank).
  • Many adjectives, especially from the learned parts of the vocabulary, are the product of neoclassical wordformation: democratisch democratic, for instance, contains the elements demo- (< Greek demospeople) and -crat- (< Greek krateinto govern), which do not occur as independent Dutch words.