views updated

-ful1 suffix appended to sbs., forming adjs. orig. with meaning ‘full of’, which has in many instances weakened to ‘characterized by’, ‘having’, ‘possessing the qualities or attributes of’ what is denoted by the sb. OE. formations are repr. by careful, harmful, rightful, shameful, sorrowful, wilful; many comps. of OE. orig. did not survive, but new ones arose in abundance in ME. and later, as beautiful, delightful, gainful, hateful, lawful, tearful; many have both subjective and objective meanings. Based on vb.-stems are mournful, resentful. Special cases are BASHFUL, FORGETFUL, GRATEFUL, THANKFUL.