The Suffix -ARY (57 Real examples + Free PDF)

Suffixes are an important part of the English language. They are added to the ends of words to change their meaning, create new words, and help expand our vocabulary. The suffix -ary is a common suffix that we hear all the time. This blog post will explore many uses of the suffix -ary and give you some examples of how it can be used in everyday language.

The suffix “-ARY” is used in adjectives and nouns to show a connection. 
Dietary – Relating to the types and quantities of food consumed
Planetary – Relating to or characteristic of planets 
Visionary – a person who has the ability to think about or plan the future in a way that shows imagination

Keep reading to learn more common words that use the suffix -ary and understand how to use them in your own English conversations or writing. Read natural example sentences and improve your understanding. PLUS grab your free Suffix ARY- word list PDF from the bottom of this post. This is great as a reference for your own writing OR helpful to use with an English class learning Prefixes and Suffixes to build their English vocabulary.

The Suffix -ARY ・ Meaning and origin

The suffix -ARY is utilized to show a sense of connection or association. For example:

If someone does something because they want to, no one is forcing them to do it (they “volunteer”) we call it voluntary.

Here is the origin of the suffix -ARY from the website

The SUFFIX ARY – adjective and noun word-forming element, in most cases from Latin -arius, -aria, -arium “connected with, pertaining to; the man engaged in,”
The suffix -ary has Latin origins.

Words That End with ARY

There are many words ending in the letters -ary and not all of them use the suffix with a root word that we can easily identify. To make this list complete I have included many common words ending in -ary that are not paired with a clear root word. 

An example with a clear root word (vision-ary).

An example without a clear root word (salary).

The Suffix -ARY・Adjectives

The Suffix -ARY・Adjectives

These first two adjectives are confusing. So let’s begin this list by answering the question…

What’s the difference between COMPLEMENTARY and COMPLIMENTARY?

complementary (to something) two people or things that are complementary are different but together form a useful or attractive combination of skills, qualities or physical features

complimentary ​given free/expressing approval, praise, etc.

Remember – Complementary with an E means things that go together well.
ThEEse things go well together.

Complimentary with an I means given free or showing approval.
・I got this approval for free.

What’s the difference between COMPLEMENTARY and COMPLIMENTARY?

More examples below.

Complementary: Combining well with something else to enhance or complete it.

・”Her website design featured a complementary color scheme that created a visually appealing interface.”
・”As a language teacher, I believe that the use of complementary teaching methods, like interactive games and grammar lessons, can make the learning process more engaging and effective for my students.”

Complimentary: Given or provided free of charge; expressing praise or admiration.

・”The hotel offers complimentary Wi-Fi to all its guests.”
・”The artist received a complimentary review for her latest exhibition.”

Concessionary: Relating to or granting concessions, especially in terms of pricing or benefits.

・”The university offers concessionary tuition fees for students from low-income backgrounds.”
・”The concessionary policy allows senior citizens to travel at a discounted fare on public transportation.”

Customary: Following or conforming to established practices, traditions, or customs.

・”It is customary to exchange gifts during the holiday season.”
・”Removing shoes before entering someone’s home is a customary practice in certain cultures.”

Dietary: Relating to the types and quantities of food consumed, particularly in relation to health.

・”He followed a strict dietary regimen to manage his diabetes.”
・”The national dietary guidelines recommend eating a variety of foods rich in fruits and vegetables.”

The suffix -ary. Dietary: Relating to the types and quantities of food consumed, particularly in relation to health.

Disciplinary: Relating to the enforcement of rules or the correction of behavior through punishment or training.

・”The school has a disciplinary committee that handles student misconduct cases.”
・”She received disciplinary action for violating company policies.”

Discretionary: Available for use at one’s own discretion or judgment; optional.

・”The employees have a discretionary budget they can use for professional development.”
・”The judge has discretionary authority to determine the appropriate sentence.”

Evolutionary: Relating to the gradual development or change over time, particularly in biology or genetics.

・”Scientists study the evolutionary process to understand the origin of species.”
・”The theory of evolution proposes that organisms undergo gradual evolutionary changes through natural selection.”

Exclusionary: Involving or resulting in exclusion; intended to keep something or someone out.

・”The school was exposed for its exclusionary practices. It lost its financial support from the government.”
・”Our club is welcoming to all. We made sure not to use any exclusionary language in the club charter.”

Extraordinary: Exceptional, remarkable, or beyond what is ordinary or usual.

・”The singer’s extraordinary vocal range captivated the audience.”
・”The team made an extraordinary comeback in the final minutes of the game.”

The Suffix -ARY extraordinary

Fiduciary: Involving trust, confidence, or the management of assets on behalf of another.

・”As a trustee, he had fiduciary duties to act in the best interest of the beneficiaries.”
・”Financial advisors have a fiduciary responsibility to prioritize their clients’ interests.”

Imaginary: Existing only in the imagination; not real or based on reality.

・”Children often have imaginary friends during their early years of development.”
・”The story is set in an imaginary world filled with magical creatures and enchanted landscapes.”

Inflationary: Relating to or characterized by inflation, an increase in the general price level of goods and services.

・”The government implemented measures to combat inflationary pressures in the economy.”
・”Rising energy costs had an inflationary effect on consumer prices.”

Legendary: Highly celebrated and well-known, often in relation to stories or individuals of great fame.

・”The legendary musician’s songs continue to inspire generations of artists.”
・”Legends speak of a mythical creature with legendary strength and magical powers.”

Literary: Relating to literature, particularly as a form of artistic expression or written works of lasting value.

・”The author received critical acclaim for her book, many called it a literary masterpiece.”
・”My literary analysis explored the symbols and themes within the novel.”

Momentary: Lasting for only a brief moment or an extremely short period of time.

・”The joy on her face was only momentary before it turned to sadness.”
・”A momentary lapse in concentration caused the athlete to miss the winning shot.”

Monetary: Relating to money, currency, or financial matters.

・”The central bank made monetary policy adjustments to stabilize the economy.”
・”She received a monetary reward for her outstanding performance at work.”

The Suffix -ARY monetary

Parliamentary: Relating to a system of government where the legislative body consists of elected representatives.

・”The parliamentary elections are scheduled to take place next month.”
・”The prime minister addressed the parliamentary session on important policy matters.”

Planetary: Relating to or characteristic of planets or their motion in the solar system.

・”Scientists discovered a new planetary system with multiple exoplanets.”
・”The study explored the planetary alignment and its impact on gravitational forces.”

The suffix -ary. Planetary: Relating to or characteristic of planets or their motion in the solar system.

Interplanetary means: Relating to the space or area between planets.

・”The mission aims to explore interplanetary travel possibilities and potential habitats.”
・”Scientists study interplanetary magnetic fields to understand solar system dynamics.”

Explore this PREFIX here: 34 Example Words with the Prefix Inter- (Free PDF Download)

Postsecondary: Referring to education or activities that occur after completing high school.

・”Many students pursue postsecondary education to acquire specialized skills for their desired careers.”
・”The postsecondary institution offers a wide range of degree programs and vocational training.”

Explore the PREFIX POST- here: The Prefix Post- (Definitions with 31 Real Examples)

Precautionary: Taken or done in advance to prevent harm, accidents, or undesirable outcomes.

・”The company implemented precautionary measures to ensure the safety of its employees.”
・”The driver took a precautionary detour to avoid the heavy traffic ahead.”

Primary: First or foremost in importance, order, or significance; principal or main.

・”Education is a primary focus in the development of any society.”
・”The primary objective of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the new drug.”

Probationary: Relating to a period of testing, evaluation, or trial, typically in a job or legal context.

・”The new employees undergo a probationary period to see if they are a good fit for the company.”
・”He was placed on probationary status after being charged with a misdemeanor.”

Revolutionary: Involving or causing a significant, radical, or transformative change.

・”The invention of the internet brought about a revolutionary shift in global communication.”
・”The revolutionary leader inspired the masses to rise against the oppressive regime.”

Secondary: Coming after or following in importance, rank, or order.

・”She pursued a secondary career in photography alongside her primary job.”
・”The secondary source provided additional insights into the historical event.”

The Suffix -ARY secondary

Summary: Concise and brief, providing a condensed version or overview of something.

・”The executive summary highlights the key findings and recommendations of the report.”
・”The professor gave a summary of the lecture to help students focus on the main points.”

Unitary: Relating to a system of government or organization in which power is centralized in a single authority.

・”The country has a unitary form of government, with decisions made at the national level.”
・”In a unitary organization, all branches report directly to the central management.”

Urinary: Relating to the organs and processes involved in the production and excretion of urine.

・”The urinary system consists of the kidneys, bladder, and associated organs.”
・”Urinary tract infections can cause discomfort and frequent urination.”

Visionary: Having original, innovative ideas or plans for the future; characterized by forward-thinking.

・”The visionary entrepreneur started a successful company based on his own unique ideas.”
・”He is known as a visionary artist, creating original and thought-provoking pieces.”

The suffix -ary. Visionary: Having original, innovative ideas or plans for the future; characterized by forward-thinking.

Voluntary: Done, given, or undertaken willingly, without coercion or obligation.

・”The organization relies on the support of voluntary donations to fund its charitable programs.”
・”She donates her time to serve meals at the local shelter. It is strictly voluntary.”

The Suffix -ARY・Nouns

Nouns with the suffix -ary

Adversary: An opponent or enemy in a conflict or competition.

・”The boxer trained hard to defeat his formidable adversary in the upcoming match.”
・”Outside the courtroom the lawyers were friends, but inside the courtroom, they were fierce adversaries.”

Auxiliary: Used to describe something that provides additional help or support 

・“In English grammar, auxiliary verbs like “is” or “have” help us form questions and negative sentences.”
・“An auxiliary power source, like a generator, can provide electricity during a blackout.”

The Suffix -ARY auxiliary

Boundary: A dividing line or limit that separates one area, state, or concept from another.

・”The river serves as the natural boundary between the two countries.”
・”The strict rules set clear boundaries for acceptable behavior within the organization.”

Burglary: The act of unlawfully entering a building with the intention to commit theft or other crimes.

・”The homeowners were devastated to discover their house had been targeted in a burglary.”
・”The police investigated the burglary and collected evidence to identify the culprits.”

The Suffix -ARY burglary

Centenary: The hundredth anniversary of a specific event or occurrence.

・”The city celebrated its centenary with a grand parade and fireworks display.”
・”The museum exhibited artifacts and photographs from the centenary of the country’s independence.”

Contemporary: Belonging to the same time period or existing or occurring at the present time.

・”The artist’s works reflect the contemporary art movement of the 21st century.”
・”Contemporary social issues were discussed during the conference.”

Contrary: Opposite in nature, direction, or meaning; conflicting or contradictory.

・”Her actions were contrary to her words, causing confusion among her friends.”
・”Contrary to popular belief, some species of bats are not blind.”

Corollary: A natural consequence or result that follows from a previous action or condition.

・”Increased investment in education has the corollary effect of improving socio-economic outcomes.”
・”The corollary to hard work is often success.”

Dictionary: a book or electronic resource that gives a list of the words of a language in alphabetical order and explains what they mean, or gives a word for them in a foreign language

・”When I don’t know the meaning of a word, I look it up in the dictionary.”
・”My favorite dictionary has colorful pictures to help me understand words better.”

The Suffix -ARY dictionary

Glossary: A list of terms and definitions, typically found at the end of a book or document.

・”The textbook includes a glossary of key terms to assist students in understanding the subject matter.”
・”The website features a comprehensive glossary to help users navigate technical jargon.”

Infirmary: A place, typically within an institution, where medical care and treatment are provided.

・”The injured athletes were taken to the school’s infirmary for immediate medical attention.”
・”The hospital has a separate infirmary dedicated to treating contagious diseases.”

Intermediary: A person or entity that acts as a mediator or go-between in a transaction or negotiation.

・”The lawyer served as an intermediary between the two parties, facilitating the settlement.”
・”The company hired an intermediary to negotiate favorable terms with suppliers.”

Judiciary: The branch of government responsible for the administration of justice and interpreting the law.

・”The judiciary plays a crucial role in upholding the principles of justice and ensuring the rule of law.”
・”The judge’s decision set a significant precedent in the judiciary’s approach to similar cases.”

Library: A place where books, periodicals, and other materials are kept for reading, studying, or reference.

・”She spent hours at the library researching her thesis.”
・”The library has a vast collection of books, spanning various genres and subjects.”

The Suffix -ARY library

Mercenary: A person who is primarily motivated by financial gain, often willing to perform tasks or services for payment.

・”The mercenary was hired to protect the valuable cargo during its transport through enemy land.”
・”His reputation as a mercenary soldier made him a sought-after figure on the battlefield.”

Military: Relating to the armed forces or warfare; pertaining to soldiers, weaponry, or military operations.

・”The military conducted extensive training exercises to enhance combat readiness.”
・”He dedicated his life to serving in the military and defending his country.”

Mortuary: A place or establishment where deceased bodies are prepared for burial or cremation.

・”The family visited the mortuary to make arrangements for the funeral service.”
・”The mortuary staff ensured that the deceased was treated with dignity and respect.”

Obituary: A notice or announcement of a person’s death, often accompanied by a brief biography or tribute.

・”The local newspaper published an obituary honoring the life of a prominent community leader.”
・”Family and friends gathered to share memories and stories at the obituary service.”

The Suffix -ARY obituary

Revolutionary: Involving or causing a significant, radical, or transformative change.

・”The invention of the internet brought about a revolutionary shift in global communication.”
・”The revolutionary leader inspired the masses to rise against the oppressive regime.”

Salary: A fixed regular payment, typically given to an employee for their work, usually on a monthly or annual basis.

・”She negotiated a higher salary during the job interview.”
・”The company provides competitive salaries and attractive benefits to its employees.”

Sanctuary: A place of refuge or safety, often associated with spiritual or sacred significance.

・”The wildlife sanctuary protects endangered species and provides a safe habitat for them.”
・”The temple serves as a sanctuary for meditation and spiritual contemplation.”

The Suffix -ARY sanctuary

Secretary: A person employed to handle administrative tasks, manage correspondence, and assist in organizing meetings and appointments.

・”The secretary handles all incoming calls and manages the office schedule.”
・”She was appointed as the secretary of the committee, responsible for recording minutes during meetings.”

Solitary: Being alone or isolated; without companionship or interaction with others.

・”She enjoys spending solitary weekends in the countryside, surrounded by nature.”
・”The prisoner was kept in solitary confinement for disciplinary reasons.”

Summary: Concise and brief, providing a condensed version or overview of something.

・”The executive summary highlights the key findings and recommendations of the report.”
・”The professor gave a summary of the lecture to help students review the main points.”

The Suffix -ARY summary

Visionary: A person who has the ability to think about or plan the future in a way that is intelligent and shows imagination

・“The young artist was a visionary, always dreaming of new and imaginative ways to create beautiful paintings.”
・“Our school principal is a visionary who envisions a future where every student has access to quality education and resources.”

The Suffix -ARY・FAQs

How is the suffix “-ARY” pronounced?

What a great question, it depends! Words ending with the letters -ary are pronounced differently in America and the UK.

ary suffix – pronunciation

For most cases, when the suffix -ary is added to the end of a word it will sound like AIR-EE
AIR as in HAIR – EE as in BEE
Legendary sounds like LEH-GIND-AIR-EE
*There are exceptions. Some words ending in -ary will make an AH-REE sound.

Burglary sounds like BURR-GLAH-REE

This is especially true of words that don’t have a root word like…
Salary sounds like SAH-LAH-REE
Boundary sounds like BOWN-DAH-REE
Glossary sounds like GLAH-SAH-REE

Below is a helpful video that I found.

Are there other suffixes with a similar meaning?

A suffix that conveys a similar meaning is “-al.” Both suffixes mean “connected with.” 

*NOTE – The suffix -al is only used to make adjectives with the meaning “connected with.” 

  • The noun magic becomes the adjective magical.

Nouns with the suffix -al mean “a process or state of.”

  • The verb survive becomes the noun survival.

Printable Suffix -ARY PDF Word List

Download the Word List as a printable PDF. Great for teachers to use with private or group classes.

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