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-aholic, -oholic and -holic

The origin of the suffixes -aholic, -oholic and -holic is unusual as they are not directly derived from a Latin or Greek root. We will look at the meaning of the suffixes -aholic, -ohlic and -holic, where they came from, some examples of their use in words and some examples the use of these words in sentences.

The suffixes -aholic, -ohlic and -holic indicate an addiction to the item depicted in the stem word, an abnormal dependency on it or an abnormal desire for it. These suffixes were created as an abstraction of the ending of the word alcoholic. The word alcoholic was coined at the end of the 1700s by adding the suffix -ic to the stem word alcohol, the suffix -ic means having the nature of. During the twentieth century the suffixes -aholic, -ohlic and -holic were coined, patterned on the ending of the word alcoholic, to indicate items to which people had become dependent or had an abnormal desire for. In the 1960s, especially, the system of word formation became popular with the words sugarholic, foodoholic and workaholic. In the 1970s, the words chocoholic and golfaholic were coined, and in the 1980s, the word shopaholic. Today, any word that is invented with either the suffix -aholic, -oholic or -holic is automatically assumed to mean an obsession or addiction, though usually in a humorous manner.

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Examples

His mother sculpted a “sugarholic” when she regularly rubbed her toddler’s teeth with a blend of cornstarch and sugar to keep him happy. (The Orange County Register)

Jaishankar, a known workaholic who, according to insiders, often sleeps in the night on his office couch, has been an astute articulator of the Modi foreign policy vision. (The Business Standard)

“I am a big gymaholic and will be staying fit between now and the nationals,” she said. (The Courier Mail)

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