word-forming element used in making adjectives from nouns or adjectives (and sometimes verbs) and meaning "tending to; causing; to a considerable degree," from Old English -sum, identical with some, from PIE root *sem- (1) "one; as one, together with." Cognate with Old Frisian -sum, German -sam, Old Norse -samr; also related to same.
"It usually indicates the possession of a considerable degree of the quality named: as mettlesome, full of mettle or spirit; gladsome, very glad or joyous" [Century Dictionary]. It is also, disguised, the ending in buxom. For the -some used with numbers (twosome, foursome, etc.), see -some (2).
suffix added to numerals meaning "a group of (that number)," as in twosome, from pronoun use of Old English sum "some" (see some). Originally a separate word used with the genitive plural (as in sixa sum "six-some"); the inflection disappeared in Middle English and the pronoun was absorbed. Use of some with a number meaning "approximately" also was in Old English.
word-forming element meaning "the body," Modern Latin, from Greek sōma "the body" (see somato-).
updated on March 07, 2023