Weird/weirdo, sick/sicko

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dana82

New Member
italian italy
Hello everyone,

I wanted to ask something about the 'use of "O" to strengthen some adjectives such as weird/weirdo or sick/sicko. Is there a grammatical term for this? To define this "o"? I only know this two examples but... is it a common use? Something that can virtually be applied to all adjectives?

Thank you and sorry for my bad english
 
  • entangledbank

    Senior Member
    English - South-East England
    It's confined to those two words and a handful of other insults: I can think of 'fatso' (physically fat) and 'thicko' (thick = stupid). We don't say 'dummo'* or 'maddo' or 'nutto'** so it can't even be freely extended to very similar words. I don't know of any particular name for that sort of pejorative suffix. It's not really a diminutive or augmentative as you have in Italian.

    * Well actually, yes we do as 'dumbo', but the B is pronounced in that word, and silent in the original 'dumb'. This is probably because it came via the cartoon elephant Dumbo, who came from a real elephant Jumbo.

    ** But we do say 'nutso', from 'nuts' = "mad"! More examples keep appearing. :)
     
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    Hildy1

    Senior Member
    English - US and Canada
    Adding -o doesn't exactly strengthen an adjective; it changes the adjective to a noun, usually referring to a person.

    You can say:
    - He's weird.
    - He's a weirdo.

    But not:
    - He's weirdo.
    - That's weirdo.
     
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