3 Important Spanish Suffixes – Ote, Ón, Azo

These Spanish suffixes generally help modify a word to indicate that it's LARGER, more POWERFUL or of a higher QUALITY. However they have other uses. Depending on the context, they're sometimes used more playfully, to add color or affection, or to emphasize the importance of an idea or statement.
The 3 Spanish suffixes are:  
  • Ote / Ota

    Example: Grande > GRANDOTE | from big to ENORMOUS

  • Ón / Ona

    Example: Rica(o) > RICACHÓN | from rich to FILTHY RICH

  • Azo / Aza

    Example: Carro > CARRAZO | from a car to an AWESOME CAR

LANGUAGE TIP: It's not always about "bigger."

Be careful not to add one of these Spanish suffixes to a word and expect it to mean that it's larger or more powerful. When using Spanish suffixes a lot depends on context, the speaker's intention and above all, the word being modified.  The examples below will help illustrate some of the nuances that these suffixes can bring to a word or statement. 

3 examples with the suffixes ón y ona
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El señor Flores es un señorón.
Mr. Flores is a very important man.

In an example like this, the suffix ón is being used in connection with the word señor, but it doesn't mean a large man. Instead, it could be used to express an element of the man's importance or elevated stature. For instance, it could mean he's a man of integrity, with high values or of strong moral character.

Mi amiga es un mujerón.
My friend is a great woman.

The word mujer can be transformed in two ways, mujerón and mujerona. For instance in this example, un mujerón is meant to describe an exceptional woman, it could be her character, her grace or even her body type (tall). By contrast, mujerona often refers more specifically to a woman's physical features, like beauty, height or larger than average size.

spanish suffixes

El hombre de la estatua es muy narizón.
The guy in the statue has a big nose.

In this example, adding the suffix ón is used specifically to augment the physical characteristics of the noun that it's modifying. It could mean big, huge, enormous or gigantic, it all depends on context.

3 examples with the suffixes azo y aza
mexican spanish

Manuel tiene un perrazo.
Manuel has an awesome dog.

In some cases, un perrazo can refer to a very large dog, but in this example it's meant to describe the dog's exceptional behavior, talent or personality.

Mi vecino es un tipazo.
My neighbor's a great guy.

In Mexico, un tipo can sometimes refer to a dangerous man or someone of questionable character, however adding the Spanish suffix azo to the word tipo gives it a whole new meaning; a great, exceptional or well liked man.

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Esa película fue un exitazo.
That movie was a huge hit.

This is a good example illustrating how with certain nouns, adding the Spanish suffixes azo y aza can be a straight forward way to augment the quality or size of the noun it modifies.

3 examples with the suffixes ote y ota
spanish suffix

Comí una rebanadota de pizza para el almuerzo.
I had a huge slice of pizza for lunch.

This is one of the easier, straight-forward uses of the suffix ota, it's simply meant to augment the physical size of the noun it modifies.

spanish suffixes

Mi tía vive en una casota.
My aunt lives in a mansion.

As we stated before, the changes that Spanish suffixes can make are sometimes very nuanced. For instance, changing casa into casota can refer to the large size, elegance or stature of a home. However, if you change casa into casona, it's going to refer more to a house of great age, lineage or history.

spanish online

¡Qué grandote estás!
You're getting so big!

In this example, the suffix ote is being added to grande in order to express a boy's physical size, height or growth.

For a more in depth discussion on the nature and usage of these Spanish suffixes, listen to the extended audio lessons from the following 3 episodes. 

The Gardener

spanish podcast

Fashion & Clothing

mexican podcast

The Handyman

latin american spanish podcast
Get our exclusive pack of bonus materials! Listen to Paulina as she reviews provides us with even more lessons on how to use Spanish suffixes in real life conversations.
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