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-erd [ərt] is a non-stress-bearing, cohering Germanic suffix that creates nouns of common gender referring to persons or things. Inputs are adjectives (productive) or verbs (unproductive).

Schema 1:

someone having the property denoted by A

Schema 2:

someone engaged in the activity denoted by V

Table 1
derivation base
dikkerd big fellow, fatso < dik fat (A)
slimmerd slyboots, smartass < slim smart (A)
lieverd sweety < lief sweet (A)
stinkerd stinker, skunk < stink stink (V)
praterd talkative type < praat talk (V)
pakkerd kiss < pak take (V)
[+]Morphosyntactic properties

-erd [ərt] creates nouns of common gender on the basis of adjectives (productive) or verbs (unproductive) (De Haas and Trommelen 1993). -erd is considered to be the unstressed counterpart of –aard (which explains the spelling with final d), but it has its own properties. It usually creates nouns of common gender referring to persons or things (cf. discussion of other possible –erd formations below). The suffix determines the part of speech (the output word is a noun) as well as its gender, which is common. Therefore, nouns ending in –erd take the singular definite article de.

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Historically, the person-denoting suffix -erd is a reduced form of -aard, which itself is probably a loan from French http://gtb.inl.nl/iWDB/search?actie=article&wdb=WNT&id=M001117&lemmodern=-aard). Over time, the two variants developed their own distribution and other properties. In informal spoken Dutch, especially from western parts of the Netherlands, many nouns in -er may get an extra d or t: brommerd moped (dictionary formbrommer), scheidsrechtert referee, speechert someone who delivers a speech, computerd computer; this effect can even be seen in names, e.g., Casper may become Caspert. The official spelling –erd with d is based on its historical relation with the suffix –aard, but independent synchronic evidence (such as derived words or plural forms of these words in -en) for an underlying phonological /d/ appears to be lacking. In a Google search (06/25/2015) brommert and scheidsrechtert (with t) outnumbered brommerd and scheidsrechterd, respectively.


The general meaning of deadjectival –erd formations can be described as ‘someone having the property denoted by A’, that of deverbal ones as ‘someone engaged in the activity denoted by V’. However, –erd derivations often have an idiosyncratic meaning, especially deverbal ones: a stinkerd (< stink to stink) is not just a stinkpot or ‘ skunk’ but also a ‘ farter’ and can also be used as an invective as in vuile stinkerd filthy bastard; a pakkerd (< pakken to take) is a ‘kiss, hug’, and poeperd (< poepen to poop) means either ‘bottom, behind’ or ‘sweety’.

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According to ANS(Haeseryn et al. 1997), derivations with -aard or -erd usually have an unfavorable meaning. WNT treats poeper and poeperd in one lemma, but for many native speakers the meanings of these formations are different, the first one denoting someone who has a shit, the second one behind or sweety. De Vries (1920-1921 [1971: 1987]) discusses minimal pairs such as schreeuwer someone who screams vs. schreeuwert someone who has the bad habit of screaming.

The fixed combination rijke stinkerd rich stinker someone who is filthy rich allegedly derives from the time when only the rich could afford it to be burried in church, where their remains might be spreading odors of decomposition. The viability of this etymology is not accepted by everyone.

[+]Inflectional properties

Plurals of -erd formations are in –s: dikkerds big fellows, pakkerds kisses.

[+]Phonological input restrictions

-erd combines productively with Germanic adjectives that are either monosyllabic (dikkerd fatso, slimmerd wise customer) or bisyllabic with schwa in the second syllable (goochemerd < goochem smart), or derived by means of the suffix –lijk (lelijkerd < lelijk ugly, fatsoenlijkerd < fatsoenlijk decent), to form person-denoting nouns.

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Attested precieserd (< precies precise, bisyllabic with a vowel in the last syllable that is not schwa) is an exception to these phonological input restrictions. Apparently, -ig formations are a productive base for -erd formations: a Google search yielded forms like gezelligerd sociable type (< gezellig sociable, cosy), zuinigerd (< zuinig thrifty), gierigerd miser (< gierig stingy) and verstandigerd wise person (<verstandig wise, reasonable).

Deverbal –erd formations (not productive) are usually from monosyllabic Germanic stems: stinkerd someone who stinks, pakkerd kiss, poeperd anus, sweety (< poep to defecate, to shit).

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The etymology and morphological make-up of kokkerd big thing, esp. big nose (also found as kokker and kokkert) are unclear

The base for an -erd derivation, either verb or adjective, may not end in /r/ (cf. the general restriction on [rər] syllables): forms like *stoererd (< stoer sturdy, stout) and *zeurerd (< zeuren to whine) are not attested and impossible. A solution is to insert a /d/, e.g. gluurderd voyeur, peeping Tom (< gluur to peek), stoerderd sturdy person and zeurderd moaner, bore.


For the formation of de-adjectival nouns, the suffix -erd competes with -aard (on the basis of vals mean, out of tune we find both valserd and valsaard) as well as with -e. For the formation of deverbal nouns, the suffix -erd competes with -er.

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The exact distribution of -aard and -erd is unknown. According to the ANS, -erd is productive in the Northern standard language, but not in Belgium, where -aard is more productive. De-adjectival -erd formations are rare in Belgium (and perhaps in other parts of the South (Michiel de Vaan, Crit Cremers p.c.), but dikkerd occurs in the Belgian part of CGN.

[+]Phonological properties

-erd does not bear stress, its only vowel being schwa, nor does it change the stress pattern of the stem it attaches to. -erd is a cohering suffix: syllabification does not respect the morphological boundary: stinkerd stink-erd /stɪŋ-kərt/. Intervocalic lenition of stem-final /d/ is visible in goeierd (< goed good) and rooierd (< rood red).

[+]Morphological potential

Diminutives of -erd formations are quite common, often with a more or less affectionate reading (as is often the case with Dutch diminutives): dikkerdje sweet little fatso, lieverdje sweety, zeikerdje sweet little bore (< zeiken to piss). There is no regular explicitly marked female counterpart for –erd formations; the forms can be used to refer to males and females alike. We did not find any –erd formations as the left-hand part of a compound in the CGN lexicon. Nouns in –erd cannot be converted into verbs. -erd formations with a pejorative meaning can be intensified with the prefix aarts- (just like other negative person denoting nouns, e.g. aartsschurk arrant knave, arch-villain): aartslelijkerd very ugly person is fine (though rare), but formations like *aartsleukerd very nice guy could not be found via Google (06/25/2014).

  • Haas, Wim de & Trommelen, Mieke1993Morfologisch handboek van het Nederlands. Een overzicht van de woordvormingSDU Uitgeverij
  • Haeseryn, Walter, Romijn, Kirsten, Geerts, Guido, Rooij, Jaap de & Toorn, Maarten C. van den1997Algemene Nederlandse spraakkunstGroningenNijhoff
  • Vries, Wobbe de1920-1921 [1971]Iets over woordvormingThieme