I noticed in Spanish the suffix -ria seems to mean "a place that sells" For instance:

  • A laundromat is lavandería
  • A meat store is a carnicería
  • A fruit stand is a frutería
  • A bread store is a panaderia
  • A coffee shop is a cafetería
  • A book store is librería

Yet that doesn't always hold up, because a brothel/ house of prostitution would be translated as "sexoria" - why doesn't it?

  • 1
    But notice that prostibularia does exist.
    – DGaleano
    Oct 15, 2016 at 22:15
  • 1
    In such case it would be replaced by prostíbulo directly. I have never heard the form prostibuleria.
    – user11977
    Oct 15, 2016 at 22:23
  • 2
    "Sangria" is not a blood bank.
    – user13948
    Oct 15, 2016 at 23:42
  • 1
    You won't buy idiots in a tontería, ill people in an enfermería, kids in an infantería, pirates in a piratería or pork in a porquería
    – jlliagre
    Oct 16, 2016 at 13:03
  • 2
    Tontería comes from tonto (fool/idiot). I'm not a native Spanish speaker but perhaps you might try to coin tonterería or tonteriría
    – jlliagre
    Oct 16, 2016 at 13:57

3 Answers 3


All these nouns come from the place where a person realizes a specific job.

  • Lavandería → lavandero
  • Carnicería → carnicero
  • Frutería → frutero
  • Panadería → panadero
  • Cafetería → cafetero
  • Libería → librero

As you see, all of them share the -ero suffix, which is quite common in professions whose name comes from Latin. And this one is described by DRAE:

-ero, ra

Del lat. -arius.

  1. suf. En sustantivos, indica oficio, ocupación, profesión o cargo. Ingeniero, jornalero, librero.

  2. suf. Forma derivados que designan utensilios o muebles. Billetero, perchero, llavero.

  3. suf. Significa lugar donde abunda o se deposita algo. Hormiguero, basurero.

  4. suf. Se refiere a árboles frutales. Albaricoquero, melocotonero, membrillero.

  5. suf. En adjetivos significa, en general, carácter o condición moral. Altanero, embustero, traicionero.

In this case, all your examples would fall in the first case: substantives indicating trade, profession, occupation or position.

However, -ria is also present in words like lujuria (lust, carnal desire) and many others. Among them, those having the suffix -uria that relate to urine issues.

So: yes, it can be the case in multiple cases, but we cannot say that suffix -ria is only related to places that sell things.

Yet that doesn't always hold up, because a brothel/ house of prostitution would be translated as "sexoria" - why doesn't it?

As you know, languages are not built all in one shot. So as much as many professions get their name from Latin, as we just saw, many others come from other origins. And this also for the places where they develop their profession. In the case of your question, brothel can be burdel, lupanar, mancebía, prostíbulo... many with Latin origin, but others with Catalan or Occitan one (burdel).

And the same applies with suffixes: it is not a bijection between a certain suffix and a meaning, but other words can have it without sharing the meaning.

  • 1
    Please notice that the suffix -ría is not the same as -ria (if it's actually a suffix), because of the different accent and pronunciation.
    – Pere
    Oct 15, 2016 at 23:38
  • 2
    The suffix meaning "place of work" is -ía.
    – Charlie
    Oct 16, 2016 at 22:10

According to Corominas, most of the words you cite (if not all) are attested around the XIII-XIV centuries, after the corresponding -ero(a) word (lavandera, carnicero), X-ero meaning the one who sells X, and sometimes a regular derivation from an existing Latin word for the profession. This suggests that X-ería is nothing but the place where X-eros work (as @Laiv notes).

Probably there is no sexería for two reasons: on one hand, the one who sells sex has its own words (not sexero); on the other hand, such concepts are usually treated differently since they tend to be considered rude. (There is, however, a word putería, rude and informal, with one meaning for the place where putas work).

Finally, X-ería does not always mean a place to sell X. Some counterexamples:


Is not "-ria" the morfema you are trying to understand. It's "-ia".


Forma sustantivos femeninos con el >significado de "taller o almacén", a partir de palabras con el sufijo -ero.Ejemplo:«sombrerero → sombrerería» 

taller o almacén con -ía, derivados de palabras con -ero, -era

-ia is a morfema that modifies the meaning of a noun providing the noun the property of "warehouse or workshop". But not property of "store".

Sex can not be stored :-) and sex can not be built/created/produced by any workshop.

The morfema is valid for nouns that means professions:

  • Fruta -> Frutero -> Frutería

Happens with sex that there's not a sex crafter/productor/creator.

  • Sex -> Sexero -> Sexeria

Neither Sexero nor Sexeria exists (I think), so the rule to transform the monema (meaning) of -ero/-era into -ia is not possible.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.