LINGUIST List 32.2753

Thu Aug 26 2021

Qs: -adjacent as a suffix

Editor for this issue: Everett Green <>

Date: 22-Aug-2021
From: Kevin Connors <>
Subject: -adjacent as a suffix
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I have recently begun to notice the usage of -adjacent as a suffix, attached to nouns primarily of identity. Unsurprisingly, it is not easy to research usages of this suffix because the word adjacent is so general, and is a standalone word. The only documented use of the suffix I have found here and does not exactly reflect how I believe it is used in other contexts. Here, the suffix is used to mean someone "actively engaged" in a community without necessarily directly being a member. However, in my observations "in the wild" (mostly on TikTok video comments) I have seen it used moreso as a way of classifying someone or some thing, sometimes insultingly. Unfortunately, I don't have examples as I only started to notice that the suffix can be used with basically any noun. It's somewhat like -ish, but with slightly different semantics that I can't exactly put into words. It's almost like it means "this is like that, but different in a way that the broader context makes clear"

My query: has anyone taken note of this suffifx? I believe it to be a relatively new language construct, and I'm interested in documented examples, from any medium.

Note that i've seen both "X-adjacent" and "X adjacent" forms, I don't know if this qualifies as a true suffix or if it's just an adjective being used in a new way. I'm more interested in the semantics than whether it's really a suffix.

Linguistic Field(s): Semantics

Subject Language(s): English (eng)

Page Updated: 26-Aug-2021