I have noticed the suffix "ant" which (I guess) is parallel to the English "er" suffix:

Paroli - to speak

Parolanto - speaker

Ludi - to play

Ludanto - player

manĝi - to eat

manĝanto - eater

And more...

Now, when checking the words "labori" and "laboranto", why is the first translated as "to work" and the second as "laborer"?

Logic says it should be translated as "worker". But "worker" is translated into "laboristo" and not "laboranto".

Is this irregular, or are there more words that use "ist" and not "ant" to relate to the person doing an action?

2 Answers 2


-ant- means that someone is doing something

-ist- means that someone is doing something regularly professionally or at least in a very skillful way with lots of experience.


Paroli - to speak

Parolanto - a speaking one

Ludi - to play

Ludanto - a playing one

Ludisto - a professional or at least especially skilled regular player

manĝi - to eat

manĝanto - an eating one

labori - to work

laboranto - a working one

laboristo - a professional worker

There are lots of other words with -isto-: instruisto, muzikisto, kuiristo, bakisto, purigisto, ĉasisto, fiŝkaptisto, komputilisto, kuracisto, ktp.

  • Got it, you explained it in a clear way! Thank you :) Aug 26, 2016 at 17:40
  • Ŝtelisto is another example!
    – Marco
    Aug 26, 2016 at 20:17

Translating is not an exact science and there isn't always a one-to-one mapping between words in Esperanto and words in English. The translations you have found will just be the interpretation by one person and don't necessarily represent an official definition. Probably the closest thing we can get to an official definition in Esperanto would be the one in PIV which is available for free online at vortaro.net.

There the definitions are:

Laboristo Homo, kiu sin dungigas por laboro

Laboranto Homo, kiu laboradas

And labori is:

Uzi siajn korpajn aŭ mensajn fortojn, por produkti aĵon, plenumi taskon, atingi efikon

So perhaps with that definition a laboranto is just someone who does some work, which for example could be to look after their own garden and they aren't necessarily paid. Whereas a laboristo is specifically dungita, meaning they are paid.

I think this more or less matches a regular interpretation of the suffixes -ant and -ist. -ist implies that the individual is a professional in some respects and -ant just means that the person generally does the action.

This would be the same for parolanto and parolisto. The former could be used to describe a person giving a talk during a conference. It might be their first talk and they don't do it professionally, whereas calling them a parolisto would imply they do it often and probably get paid for it.

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