Esperanto words with the suffix -um

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Esperanto derivation is for the most part regular and predictable: One can normally understand new words that are built upon known roots, and can create new words on the fly while speaking. However, there is a suffix -um- that has no inherent meaning, but derives words that cannot be readily derived with dedicated affixes. Such derivations must be memorized individually, though because the root already exists, they may be more easily learned than a completely new word. Because of its irregularity and unpredictability, over-use of the suffix -um- is discouraged. Over time substitutes have been developed for some of the original -um- words and new ones have been coined. Regular derivations may in some cases substitute for a word in -um-; in other cases they may be similar but not exact replacements; and in still others, a substitutable word may be considered jargon (like using 'a catarrh' for 'a cold' in English).

Semi-regular use[edit]

One area where the derivations is -um- are nearly predictable is in pieces of clothing named after the corresponding parts of the body: kolumo 'collar' (from 'neck'); buŝumo 'muzzle' (from 'mouth'); manumo 'cuff' (from 'hand': does not mean 'glove'); kalkanumo 'heel (of a shoe)'; plandumo 'sole (of a shoe)'; ingvenumo 'jockstrap' (from 'groin'); hufumo 'horseshoe' (from 'hoof'); nazumo 'pince-nez, spectacles' (from 'nose', now uncommon). Many of these are the only word for the concept, though the last two have substitutes: hufofero (lit. "hoof-iron") and okulvitroj (lit. "eye-glasses"). (Note however that brakumi from 'arm' does not mean 'sleeve' but 'to embrace'.) In a similar vein, cicumo is a 'nipple (on a bottle)', from '(human) nipple' (body-part extension), and fenestrumo is 'shutter', from 'window' (a covering of a part).

Another predictable set are formed from numbers to indicate numerical bases: duuma 'binary', okuma 'octal', dekuma 'decimal' (dekuma logaritmo 'base-10 logarithm'), dekduuma 'duodecimal', deksesuma 'hexadecimal', dudekuma 'vigesimal', and sesdekuma 'sexagesimal'.

Consciously using the senses is a meaning that is partially predictable, though it only fills in meanings that do not have dedicated roots like 'watch' or 'listen'. These are fingrumi 'to touch/feel/palpate' (from 'finger'); gustumi 'to taste s.t.' (from gusti 'to taste (of food)'); and okulumi 'to make eyes at' (from 'eye'). For the latter, simple okuli is often used, and it has a sexual connotation that is not predictable. The word for the senses is sentumo, from senti 'to feel'.

Forms of execution also take -um-: krucumi 'to crucify', pendumi 'to hang', gasumi 'to gas', ŝtonumi 'to stone', dekumi, kvaronumi 'to quarter', palisumi 'to impale', radumi 'to break on the wheel'. Substitute forms with -mortigi 'to kill' are nearly as common: krucmortigi, ŝtonmortigi, etc.

A recent innovation is to spend time doing something, especially for pleasure. Butikumi (from butiko 'a shop') means 'to go shopping', and tends to be used in the sense of shopping for pleasure. Similarly, amikumi means 'to pass time with one's friends'; esperantumi 'to spend time using Esperanto'; kafumi 'to have a cup of coffee', retumi 'to surf the Web' (from reto 'net, Internet'), and urbumi 'to go into town' (from urbo 'town, city'). These latter words are not yet in dictionaries.

List of derivations[edit]

The following is a fairly complete list of words with a reasonable degree of acceptance and that have not been covered above.

Root meaning -um- form meaning substitute
aero air aerumi to aerate ventoli to ventilate
alfabeto alphabet alfabetumo alphabet book, abecedary alfabetlibro; ≈ aboco ABCs,
aminda lovable amindumi to court, to woo koketi to flirt
brako an arm brakumi to embrace, to hug enbrakigi to take in one's arms, ĉirkaŭbraki
bruli to burn (v.i.) brulumo inflammation
cerbo brain cerbumi to brood over, to rack one's brains (pri)pensegi (augmentative of pensi 'to think' or pripensi 'to consider')
ĉaro a cart ĉarumo a wheelbarrow
dekstra right(hand) dekstruma clockwise
faldi to fold faldumi to pleat
folio a leaf foliumi to leaf through
fumi to emit smoke fumumi to smoke a pipe, cigarette, etc. fumi (fumaĵi is to smoke fish, meat, etc.)
gliti to glide glitumi to iceskate glitkuri (with kuri 'to run')
komuna in common komunumo a community
korto a court(yard) kortumo an appellate court juĝejo (juĝ-ejo) is a court in general
litero a letter (of the alphabet) literumi to spell ortografii (from 'orthography')
loko a place lokumi to place under the care of someone
(child in a school, money in a bank, etc.)
loki (extended sense)
loti to draw lots lotumi to allot priloti
malvarma cold malvarmumo a cold kataro (katar-o) catarrh
mastro a master mastrumi to manage the economy of a home
mondo world mondumo high society
muso a mouse musumi to use a computer mouse, to cut & paste
ombro a shadow ombrumi to shade (in painting or drawing)
ondo a wave ondumi to corrugate, to make (hair) wavy
operacio an operation operaciumo operating system (such as Unix) mastruma sistemo (technically only part of the operaciumo)
palpebro an eyelid palpebrumi to blink
plena full plenumi to accomplish, to fulfill
postaĵo a posterior, a rear end postaĵumi to moon
proksima near proksimume approximately
propra one's own proprumi to own
rapido speed rapidumo a speed/gear (of a vehicle) rapido is sometimes used imprecisely for this
rento the return on an investment rentumo the interest charged for credit interezo (neologism)
respondi to answer respondumi to be responsible for prirespondi 'to answer for', responsi (neologism)
ruli to roll rulumi to scroll
sapo soap sapumi to lather up sapi to soap
sekso gender seksumi to have sex sekskuniĝi (seks-kun-iĝi) to join sexually, koiti to have coitus, amori to make love
senti to feel sentumo one of the five senses senso (neologism)
stulta stupid stultumi to play the fool, to be purposefully obtuse
tendo a tent tendumi to camp (with tents) bivaki to bivouac (without tents)
vento a wind ventumi to fan

See also[edit]