The suffix -or is commonly used in English, it is added to the end of many words to change their meaning. It is a useful suffix that can indicate an agent or doer of an action, a person or thing that performs a certain function, or a tool or instrument used for a specific purpose. In this blog post, we will explore the different ways in which the -or suffix is used and provide real examples of words that use it.
The suffix -or can be added to a verb to form a noun indicating the doer of the action. For example, an “actor” is someone who acts. A “generator” is a machine that produces electricity, power, or energy.
Mastering prefixes and suffixes is a fast and simple way to improve your vocabulary. Keep reading to learn everything you need to know about this common suffix and how it can help you understand new words. PLUS! Download a free SUFFIX -OR Word List PDF that you can use to practice anytime. It’s a great way to reinforce what you’ve learned in the blog post and take your vocabulary skills to the next level.
Table of Contents
The Suffix -OR Meaning
The suffix -or can be added to many words to create new words that indicate a person, thing, or tool that performs a particular function. For instance, “invent” becomes “inventor,” “edit” becomes “editor,” and “conduct” becomes “conductor.”
This process is called nominalization, and it allows for the creation of new words that can be used to describe a specific role or function, as in
“The conductor led the orchestra with precision.”
Words with the SUFFIX -OR
Actor – a person who performs in plays, movies, or television shows.
・The talented actor brought the character to life on the stage.
Administrator – a person responsible for managing and organizing an organization or institution.
・The school administrator manages the day-to-day operations of the school.
Advisor – a person who provides advice or guidance to another person or organization.
・He sought the advice of a career advisor to explore different job opportunities.
Agitator – a person who encourages others to take political or social action by stirring up public opinion.
・The agitator tried to stir up trouble among the students by spreading rumors.
Auditor – a person who conducts an official financial or operational inspection of an organization or individual.
・The auditor reviewed the financial records of the company to ensure accuracy.
Aviator – a person who flies aircraft, such as airplanes or helicopters.
・The skilled aviator piloted the airplane with precision and skill.
Benefactor – a person who gives financial or other types of assistance to another person or organization.
・The kind benefactor donated money to support the local community center.
Calculator – a device or person that performs mathematical calculations.
・The students use a calculator to help with complex math homework.
Captor – a person or thing that captures another person or thing.
・The hostages were being fed and treated well by their captors.
Collector – a person who collects objects, such as stamps or coins, as a hobby or profession.
・The stamp collector had an impressive collection from around the world.
Collaborator – a person who works jointly with others to achieve a common goal or project.
・The artists worked together as collaborators to create a beautiful mural.
Competitor – a person or organization that competes with others in a particular field or industry.
・The store had a policy to match all of its competitor’s prices.
Contractor – a person or company that agrees to provide goods or services for a specific project or time period.
・The contractor was responsible for overseeing the construction of the new building.
Counselor: A person who provides guidance and support, typically in a therapeutic or educational setting
・He works as a school counselor, helping students with their academic and personal challenges.
Creator – a person who creates or brings something into existence.
・Today, many YouTube creators can earn a full-time living just from their channel.
Decorator – a person who designs and arranges the interior of buildings or rooms.
・The couple hired a decorator to help with the design of their new home.
Demonstrator – a person who takes part in a public display of opinion or action to protest or support a cause.
・Demonstrators marched around City Hall all morning.
Dictator – a ruler who has complete power and authority over a country or people.
・The dictator ruled the country with absolute power and authority.
Distributor – a person or company that distributes or delivers goods or products to customers.
・The company is one of the country’s largest software distributors.
Donor – a person who gives or donates something, such as money or blood, to a person or organization in need.
・The generous donor contributed money to support the local charity.
Editor – a person who edits or revises written material, such as books or articles.
・The editor provided valuable feedback on the manuscript.
Elevator – a device or person that moves people or goods vertically between floors or levels of a building.
・The elevator was stopped for repairs so I had to take the stairs to get to my apartment.
Emancipator – a person who frees or liberates others from a situation of bondage or oppression.
・Abraham Lincoln is known as the emancipator for his role in freeing the slaves.
Executor – a person appointed to carry out the instructions of a will or the wishes of a deceased person.
・The executor carried out the instructions outlined in the person’s will.
Generator – a machine that produces electricity, power, or energy.
・During the power outage, the backup generator kicked in and provided electricity to the entire house.
Governor – a person who is appointed or elected to govern a state, country, or organization.
・Polls show that most citizens are happy with the job that the governor is doing right now.
Incinerator – a device or person that burns waste material to ashes or gases for disposal.
・The incinerator burns waste materials and turns them into ash.
Inspector – a person who examines or investigates something to ensure that it is functioning properly or meets certain standards or regulations.
・The inspector checked the construction site for compliance with safety regulations.
Instructor – a person who teaches or provides instruction to others, typically in a classroom or educational setting.
・During University, Kevin made money as a part-time guitar instructor.
Investor – a person or organization that provides financial resources to a business or venture in exchange for a share of ownership or profit.
・The investor decided to invest in the tech startup, believing in its potential.
Juror – a member of a group of people who are selected to hear evidence and make a decision in a court of law.
・The juror listened to the evidence presented in the court case and helped reach a verdict.
Liberator – a person who sets someone free from captivity or oppression.
・In WWII, the Canadian forces were seen as liberators by the Netherlands.
Locator – a person or device that helps to find or locate something, such as a lost item or a specific location.
・Emergency services used a mobile phone locator to trace the call of the missing girl.
Mediator – a person who intervenes between two parties to help them reach an agreement or settle a dispute.
・The mediator helped resolve the conflict between the two arguing parties.
Moderator – a person who leads a discussion or debate, ensuring that all participants have a chance to speak and that the conversation remains respectful and on-topic.
・The moderator facilitated the discussion and ensured everyone had a chance to speak.
Narrator: A person who tells or narrates a story, often providing a voice-over or commentary.
・She worked as a narrator for audiobooks, lending her voice to various stories.
Navigator – a person who plots or directs the course of a ship, aircraft, or vehicle.
・The navigator used a map to guide the driver on the road trip.
Negotiator – a person who engages in negotiations, often in a business or diplomatic setting, to reach an agreement or settlement.
・The negotiator worked to find a compromise that satisfied both sides of the disagreement.
Operator – a person who operates or manages a machine, equipment, or system, often in a technical or industrial setting.
・He trained to become a certified forklift operator at the warehouse.
Perpetrator – a person who commits a crime or wrongdoing.
・The police arrested the perpetrator of the crime.
Professor – a person who teaches and conducts research at a college or university.
・The professor delivered a fascinating lecture on astrophysics.
Protector – a person or thing that provides protection or security for someone or something else.
・Batman acts as a protector, keeping Gotham City safe from villains.
Prosecutor – a person who brings criminal charges against someone in a court of law, often on behalf of the government or state.
・The prosecutor presented the evidence in court to prove the defendant’s guilt.
Reflector – a device or person that reflects light or sound, often used for safety or communication purposes.
・The reflector on the bicycle increased visibility at night to enhance safety.
Regulator – a person or device that controls or regulates the flow, speed, or level of something, such as water, electricity, or temperature.
・The government acts as a regulator to enforce rules and maintain order.
Senator – a member of a legislative body, such as the United States Senate, who is responsible for making laws and representing their constituents.
・The senator represents the people and makes decisions in the legislative body.
Separator – a device or person that separates one thing from another, such as a sieve or a filter.
・The separator divides different types of recyclable materials for proper disposal.
Simulator – a device or person that imitates or simulates a real-life situation, often used for training or research purposes.
・The flight simulator allows pilots to practice flying in a realistic virtual environment.
Spectator – a person who watches or observes an event, often a sports or entertainment event.
・ The excited spectators cheered loudly when their team scored a goal.
Supervisor – a person who oversees or manages the work of others, often in a professional or organizational setting.
・He was promoted to a supervisor role for his exceptional leadership skills.
Surveyor – a person who measures and maps the land, often for construction or planning purposes.
・The land surveyor measures and maps out the boundaries of properties.
Survivor – a person who remains alive or continues to exist after a dangerous or traumatic event, often used to describe someone who has overcome an illness or hardship
・The sole survivor of the shipwreck managed to stay alive until rescue arrived by drinking rainwater.
Translator – a person who translates or interprets language or text from one language to another.
・He worked as a freelance translator, translating documents for clients worldwide.
Visitor – a person who visits a place or person for a temporary period of time.
・The museum welcomed many enthusiastic visitors during the art exhibition.
Violator – a person who breaks or violates a rule or a law
・The law is strictly enforced and all violators will be prosecuted.
Warrior – a person who fights in combat or war
・The courageous warrior fought bravely on the battlefield to protect his people.
6 Words Ending In -OR That Are Not Made From Verbs
Here are six common English words that end with the suffix -OR and describe people but are NOT made from verbs.
Author – a person who writes books, articles, or other literary works.
・She aspired to become an author and started writing her first book.
Middle English (in the sense ‘a person who invents or causes something’): from Old French autor, from Latin auctor, from augere ‘increase, originate, promote’. The spelling with th arose in the 15th cent., and perhaps became established under the influence of authentic. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Doctor – a person who is qualified to practice medicine and treat illnesses or injuries.
・Becoming a doctor requires many years of rigorous study.
Middle English (in the senses ‘learned person’ and ‘Doctor of the Church’): via Old French from Latin doctor ‘teacher’ (from docere ‘teach’). Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Janitor – a person who cleans and maintains buildings, often in a public or commercial setting.
・The janitor swept the floors and emptied the trash bins in the school.
mid 16th cent.: from Latin, from janua ‘door’. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Mentor – a person who provides guidance and advice to a less experienced or younger person, typically in a professional setting.
・The experienced professional acted as a mentor and guided the new employee.
mid 18th cent.: via French and Latin from Greek Mentōr, the name of the adviser of the young Telemachus in the Greek epic poem the Odyssey by Homer. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Predator – an animal or person that preys upon others, often for food or as a means of exerting power or control.
・The cheetah is widely recognized as one of the fastest land predators. They can run over 100 km/h!
1920s: from Latin praedator ‘plunderer’, from praedat- ‘seized as plunder’, from the verb praedari ‘seize as plunder’, from praeda ‘booty’. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
Traitor – a person who betrays their country or organization by acting against its interests or secrets.
・The traitor betrayed their friends by revealing their secret plans.
Middle English: from Old French traitour, from Latin traditor, from tradere ‘hand over’. Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
The Suffix -OR Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between the suffixes -OR and -ER?
The -or and -er suffixes are both agentive suffixes. They are used to form nouns indicating a person or thing that performs an action or function.
If a verb ends in the letters -ate it will usually form a noun by adding the suffix -or.
- The verb generate becomes the noun generator.
- The verb operate becomes the noun operator.
- The verb translate becomes a noun translator.
There are a few cases when a word can be spelled either way, the spelling is either a personal preference or one spelling is preferred in a different country or area. A simple example of this is adviser and advisor.
Oxford Learner’s Dictionaries
adviser noun (also advisor)
– a person who gives advice, especially somebody who knows a lot about a particular subject
The suffix -ER has more applications and is used much more often in English than the suffix -OR.
The suffix -ER is not only used to demonstrate the person or thing that performs an action or function. Here are some other uses for the suffix -ER.
To show a person or thing that has the thing or quality mentioned
- Foreign – foreigner
- Strange – stranger
To show a person studying or expert in
- Astronomy – Astronomer
- Philosophy – Philosopher
To show a person belonging to
- A Londoner – A person from London
- A New Yorker – A person from New York
The suffix -ER is also used to make the comparative forms of adjectives and adverbs.
- Hot becomes hotter
- Soon becomes sooner
What is the origin of the suffix -or?
The suffix -OR comes to English from other languages and older versions of English. Here are the sources for the suffix that I found at Wiktionary.com.
From Middle English -our, from Old French -eor, from Latin -ātor; reinforced by Old French -or and its source, Latin -tor, -tōrem
Suffix -OR QUIZ
Fill in the blank with the correct word ending in -or.
- A person who acts in a play is called an ________.
- Someone who provides advice and guidance is known as an ________.
- A person who stirs up trouble or incites others is called an ________.
- A professional who examines and verifies financial records is an ________.
- The writer of a book or story is called an ________.
- A person who operates and flies an aircraft is known as an ________.
- Someone who provides financial support or assistance is a ________.
- A device used for mathematical calculations is called a ________.
- A person who captures or seizes someone or something is called a ________.
- Someone who collects items as a hobby or profession is known as a ________.
- A person who works together with others on a project is called a ________.
- Someone who competes in a contest or sports event is known as a ________.
- A professional or company hired to perform specific tasks is a ________.
- A person who brings something into existence is known as a ________.
- Someone who decorates or enhances the appearance of a space is called a ________.
- A person who protects or defends someone or something is known as a ________.
- a person who takes part in a public display of opinion or action to protest or support a cause is called a ________.
Printable Suffix -OR PDF Word List
Download the Word List as a printable PDF. Great for teachers to use with private or group classes. PDF contains the live links from the post.↓
Check out these other helpful Prefix and Suffix blog posts.
- 9 Common Negative Prefixes (200 examples, Free PDF, Video)
- 110 DE Prefix Words (Real Examples, Free PDF + Video)
- Confusing Suffixes -ize and -ify (How and When to Use Them)
- From Actor to Warrior: Learn the SUFFIX -OR (Free PDF)
- 50 Prefix DIS- Words and Example Sentences (Free PDF)
- The Prefix Semi: A Complete Guide (Real Examples + PDF)
- Explore the Power of the Prefix Off- A Comprehensive Guide
Technology illustrations by Storyset
Sport illustrations by Storyset
Work illustrations by Storyset
Money illustrations by Storyset
People illustrations by Storyset
Nature illustrations by Storyset
Device illustrations by Storyset
Online illustrations by Storyset
Health illustrations by Storyset
Communication illustrations by Storyset
Web illustrations by Storyset
Travel illustrations by Storyset
Culture illustrations by Storyset
Outdoors illustrations by Storyset
Suffix OR Quiz Answers