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
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.
3 examples with the suffixes azo y aza
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.
3 examples with the suffixes ote y ota
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.
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.