Since the -um- suffix is undefined, is there any list of words that use it and say what they mean?

3 Answers 3


Source: http://pages.ucsd.edu/~dkjordan/eo/colloq/colloq130.html#sec13-2

The suffix -um- is used to produce idiosyncratic derivatives from roots (most often nouns) when other suffixes are inappropriate to the purpose. Here are the most common ones:

  • butiko = a shop butikumi = to shop
  • cerbo = brain cerbumi = rack one’s brains
  • kruco = cross krucumi = to crucify
  • kubuto = elbow kubutumi = to elbow people (in a crowd)
  • malvarma = cold malvarmumo = a cold
  • mastro = master (of house, etc.) mastrumi = attain mastery over
  • nazo = nose nazumi = to nose around, nose through
  • nomo = name nomumi = to name [to an office]
  • orbito = an orbit orbitumi = to orbit
  • plena = full plenumi = to fulfill
  • polekso = thumb poleksumi = (1) to thumb through , (2) to thumb a ride
  • proksima = close proksimuma = approximate
  • vento = wind ventumi = to fan
  • vintro = winter vintrumi = to spend the winter

One of the most significant uses of -um- is to derive the name of an article of clothing from that of a body part:

  • brako = arm brakumo = arm of a garment
  • kolo = neck kolumo = collar
  • mano = hand manumo = cuff (of sleeve) nazo = nose nazumo = nosebag, nose-cover
  • I think "brakumo" also means a hug; "brakumi" = "to hug, to embrace"
    – kristan
    Dec 15, 2016 at 23:06
  • @kristan Indeed. I think ‘sleeve’ is an exception to the ‘add um to a body part to mean the part of clothing that covers it’-rule. A sleeve is maniko. Dec 16, 2016 at 13:01
  • The word "maniko" in Esperanto means "sleeve". "Brakumo" means "a hug". This is an error in Dr. Jordan's list, in my opinion.
    – Lee
    Dec 29, 2016 at 14:00

PMEG lists a lot of UM words, categorized by the five main productive meanings of UM on the one hand and "diverse UM words" on the other hand. It is a more reliable source than the other ones that have been mentioned, but it doesn't have English translations, only explanations in Esperanto.



Thank goodness for Wikipedia

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