Finnish for busy people

Nouns ending in NEN – Ihminen Lautanen Tiainen

In this article, you can find an overview of nouns ending in -nen. These are only a small subset of the large number of words ending in -nen in the Finnish language. Most of those words are adjectives.

Nouns ending in -nen can be regular words without a specific meaning or connotation. In addition, however, the suffix -nen can be a diminutive suffix: it creates new nouns which reflect that the base word is small.

If you’re a beginner, please pay attention to the words marked in green. They are the most common words, so they’re the ones you should learn first.

1. Nouns ending in -nen

1.1. Nouns ending in -nen which refer to people

Finnish English
alainen underling
ihminen person, human
kaksonen, kaksoset twin(s)
kansalainen citizen, subject
kaupunkilainen townsperson, city dweller, city boy
keskonen premature baby, preemie
maalainen countryman, peasant
seuralainen companion, associate, escort
matkaseuralainen travel companion
paskiainen bastard, asshole
rakastavaiset lovers
sijainen substitute, replacement
sulhanen groom, fiancé
ulkomaalainen foreigner
vuokralainen renter, tenant, lessee
alivuokralainen subtenant, sublessee
rikollinen criminal
ulkopuolinen outsider
vihollinen enemy
vapaaehtoinen volunteer
aatelinen nobleman, highborn

1.2. Nature Words: Insects

There is a large number of insects that have a name ending in -nen. If you’re a beginner or intermediate student, you can get by learning only the words marked in green.

However, I have decided to add at least a couple more specific names, such as the names of some types of ants and beetles. The Wikipedia page for each should allow you to get more of an idea of which type of insect the words refer to.

Finnish English
hyönteinen insect
tuhohyönteinen pest insect
loishyönteinen parasitic insect
myrkkyhyönteinen venomous insect
ampiainen wasp, yellowjacket
hyttynen mosquito
kimalainen bumblebee
muurahainen ant
sokerimuurahainen black garden ant (Wikipedia)
hevosmuurahainen carpenter ant (Wikipedia)
kekomuurahainen wood ant (Wikipedia)
mehiläinen bee, honeybee
kovakuoriainen beetle (Wikipedia)
kaarnakuoriainen bark beetle (Wikipedia)
kultakuoriainen rose chafer (Wikipedia)
lantakuoriainen dung beetle (Wikipedia)
lehtikuoriainen leaf beetle (Wikipedia)
raatokuoriainen carrion beetle (Wikipedia)
sontiainen dor beetle (Wikipedia)
sittiäinen dor beetle (Wikipedia)
vaaksiainen crane fly (Wikipedia)
satiainen pubic louse (Wikipedia)
puutiainen castor bean tick (Wikipedia) > often punkki
perhonen butterfly
sitruunaperhonen common brimstone (Wikipedia)
silkkiperhonen silkworm, silk moth (Wikipedia)
nokkosperhonen small tortoiseshell (Wikipedia)
yöperhonen moth (Wikipedia)
tuhatjalkainen centipede, millipede (Wikipedia)

1.3. Nature Words: Birds

Many birds have a name ending in -nen in Finnish. I’m linking to the Wikipedia pages of each bird, because reading a description might help you more than just the English term for each bird.

Finnish English
varpunen sparrow (Wikipedia)
punavarpunen common rosefinch (Wikipedia)
pikkuvarpunen Eurasian tree sparrow (Wikipedia)
tiainen tit (Wikipedia)
sinitiainen Eurasian blue tit (Wikipedia)
töyhtötiainen European crested tit (Wikipedia)
talitiainen great tit (Wikipedia)
kuusitiainen coal tit (Wikipedia)
rautiainen dunnock (Wikipedia)
pyrstötiainen long-tailed tit (Wikipedia)
metsäkirvinen tree pipit (Wikipedia)
urpiainen common redpoll (Wikipedia)
kottarainen common starling (Wikipedia)
pääskynen swallow (Wikipedia) > also: pääsky
kyyhkynen dove, pidgeon (Wikipedia) > also: kyyhky
hippiäinen goldcrest (Wikipedia)
peipponen common chaffinch (Wikipedia)
pulmunen snow bunting (Wikipedia)

1.4. Miscellaneous Nature Words

Finnish English
selkärankainen vertebrate (animal) (Wikipedia)
tuholainen vermin, pest
loinen parasite, leech
neulanen needle-like leaf (of a conifer tree)
kuusenneulanen spruce needle
männynneulanen pine needle
saniainen fern (plant)
nokkonen nettle, stinging nettle (Wikipedia)
rautanokkonen dwarf nettle, small nettle (Wikipedia)
laiskiainen sloth
hevonen horse
merihevonen seahorse
ankanpoikanen duckling
linnunpoikanen baby bird, nestling, chick
kananpoikanen chick, baby chicken
kissanpoikanen kitten
ankeroinen eelworm
äyriäinen crustacean, shellfish
mönkiäinen creepy-crawly

1.5. Food-Related Nouns Ending in -nen

Finnish English
aamiainen breakfast
illallinen dinner, supper (evening meal)
karviainen gooseberry (Wikipedia)
lautanen plate, saucer, dish
makeinen candy, sweet, caramel
(munan)valkuainen egg white
(munan)keltuainen egg yolk
ohukainen pancake, crepe
veriohukainen blood pancake (Wikipedia)
pinaattiohukainen spinach pancake (Wikipedia)
alunen coaster, mat, underlay

1.6. Bodypart Nouns Ending in -nen

Finnish English
eturauhanen prostate, prostate gland
kilpirauhanen thyroid, thyroid gland
rintarauhanen mammary gland
hikirauhanen sweat gland
sylkirauhanen salivary gland
imurauhanen lymph gland
kyynelrauhanen tear gland
rauhanen gland, secretory organ
silmänvalkuainen white of the eye
munuainen kidney
mustuainen = pupilli pupil (of eye)
ihohuokonen skin pore
rystynen, rystyset knuckle(s), knuckle joint(s)

1.7. Other Miscellaneous Nouns Ending in -nen

Finnish English
aapinen ABC-book, primer
hakanen small hook, fastener, clasp
hetkinen moment, a short while
hiukkanen particle; mote, speck
pölyhiukkanen speck of dust
alkeishiukkanen elementary particle (physics)
säteilyhiukkanen radiation particle, photon
kankkunen hangover
keijukainen fairy, sprite, pixie (also keiju)
koillinen north-east
koulukiusaaminen school bullying
kulkunen jingle bell, small bell
kuukautiset menstruation, period
kuvajainen reflection, mirror image; illusion
käteinen cash, money
lapanen, lapaset mitten(s), glove(s), usually made from whool
laskiainen Shrovetide, Shrove Tuesday (holiday)
flyer, leaflet
loppiainen Epiphany (holiday)
maahinen gnome, imp, dwarf
osaaminen know-how, expertise, competence
painajainen nightmare
pakkanen frost, cold weather
pohjoinen  north
päällinen cover, spread, covering
rappunen, rappuset stair step, stairway
rukkanen, rukkaset mitten(s), glove(s), usually made from leather
sananen small conversation, have a word with someone
sähikäinen firecracker, banger
tapaaminen appointment, meeting
tuliainen small gift, souvenir
tuokkonen punnet, small birch bark basket
ukkonen thunder, thunderstorm
uutinen news item, announcement
uutiset newscast, the news (tv)
eteinen hallway, entry hall
kylkiäinen freebie, giveaway

2. Finnish Diminutive Suffix

2.1. Diminutive Nouns Expressing Smallness

Finnish utilizes the suffix –nen to create new nouns that convey that an object is small. For example, kirja means book, while the diminutive kirjanen means a small, often thin, book, which is generally nothing more than a leaflet.

Finnish English Finnish English
hitu bit, small piece hitunen tiny bit, smidgen
hiukka tiny bit hiukkanen super tiny bit
kirja book kirjanen booklet, leaflet, pamphlet
kukka flower kukkanen small flower
kuppi cup kupponen small cup, cuppa (of coffee)
lappu paper note lappunen small slip of paper
lehti newspaper lehtinen leaflet, pamphlet
lintu bird lintunen birdie, little bird
lippu ticket, coupon lippunen small slip of paper
muru morsel, crumb murunen small morsel, crumb
namu candy, sweet namunen small piece of candy
osa part, section osanen (osaset) small part, fragment
pala piece, chunk palanen bit, scrap, small piece
suupala bite, mouthful suupalanen small mouthful
poika boy poikanen small boy
rahtu crumb, smidge rahtunen tiny speck
rako crack, opening rakonen small narrow slit, crack
rippu pinch, nugget rippunen tiny pinch, tiny amount
ropo coin, penny roponen tiny amount of money
teko action, act tekonen small misdeed
tilkka splash, drop tilkkanen small splash, dram
vene boat venonen small boat (poetry)
vihko notebook vihkonen booklet, leaflet, pamphlet

2.2. Diminutive Nouns Expressing Endearment

Words can also get the suffix -nen in order to create diminutive nouns that convey a sense of intimacy or endearment. These are mainly used when speaking straight to the person, and usually require the possessive suffix -ni. In English, you will often find more creative names such as “sweetie pie” and “sugar plum”.

These term of endearment are usually used in a playful manner. This is especially important to note because not everyone has the right sense of humor for some of these. For example, calling your wife muoriseni or eukkoseni can be considered tactless because eukko means “hag, witch, old woman”.

Finnish English Finnish English
veli brother veliseni my dear brother
ystävä friend ystäväiseni my old (dear) friend
muru darling, dear muruseni my dear sweetheart
kulta darling, love kultaseni my sweetheart, my love
kyyhky dove kyyhkyläiseni my little dove (lover, partner)
lintu bird lintuseni my little bird, birdie (child or lover)
muori old mother, grandma muoriseni my dear wife
eukko old woman, hag eukkoseni my dear wife
ukko old man ukkoseni my dear old husband

The following group of words are used in literary sources, such as poems and songs, rather than in everyday life. These words sound a little fancy. They aren’t used that often in everyday speech except when wanting to sound more poetic.

Finnish English
pienokainen small (cute) baby, infant
lapsukainen small child
lapsonen small child
kaunokainen beauty, young pretty woman
neitokainen damsel, maiden, young woman
neitonen damsel, maiden, young woman
nuorukainen youngster, lad, young man

Check out these other sources too:

This article only contains nouns ending in –nen. This is just one article in a series of many, which all tackle a different type of words ending in -nen. More articles will follow soon!

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