Suffixes with the common part -phil-
) are used to specify some kind of attraction or affinity to something, in particular the love or obsession with something. They are antonymic
to suffixes -phob-
Phil- (Philo-) may also be used as a prefix with a similar meaning.
Philia (φιλία) as an ancient Greek word for love refers to brotherly love, including friendship and affection. This contrast to the ancient Greek terms Eros, or sexual/romantic love, and agapē, or detached, spiritual love. English usage differs in some cases from the etymological use, and several of these words refer in English not to brotherly love but to sexual attraction.
The suffix "-phile" (or, in a few cases, -philiac) applies to someone or something with one of these attractions.
The suffix "-philic" describes the property of being attracted to something.
The less common suffix "-phily" is synonymous with "-philia".
There are five major areas of usage of this suffix: biology, sexology, chemistry/physics, hobbies, and attitude to specific nations, with occasional coinage in other areas.
Chemistry / physics
- chromophilous: Staining easily
- electrophile: A substance having an affinity for electrons or negative charge
- lipophilic: A substance that is attracted to lipids, as in cell membranes.
- litophilic: In microfluidics, the fact that some substances enrich on channel walls instead of in the middle of the channels. (eg. air bubbles)
- nucleophile: A substance having an affinity for positive charge; antonym of electrophile.