I am quite new to Russian and would like feedback on both what I've done correctly and where I am mistaken. For use in a fantasy writing project, I would like to plausibly derive “kamenite” as an imperfect borrowing into English, ultimately from Russian камень + Greek -ίτης.

Prior to learning of its use as a town in Belarus and other placenames, I came up with каменец, modeled on the examples of каменщик and американец. The intended use is in describing a колдун/алхимик. My notion is if -ец functions anything like the English agent noun suffix -er, then Искатели Философского Камня could have been shortened to something like каменец, thence borrowed as above — but is каменец a plausible formation?


When talking about groups of people that share some idea it's not easy to find a "true" russian suffix that suites the task. The only pre-cristian beleiver I can recall is волхв, ведун.

Other kinds were called so by Russian cristians: язычник, идолопоклонник.

There are also some cristian sects like иконоборец, старовер.

(You may also want to see a list of "magic people" that we have here).

Most other religious movements have names borrowed from Western culture, so they have Latin, Greek, French, English, etc. suffixes.

So, based on existing names of religious movements:

  1. Suffix -ит (каменит) is OK, because many such words were borrowed from Western culture.
  2. Most local names for such movements are usually based on several words made into one:
    • Старовер = старый + верить: верить по-старому (believe in old way);
    • Иконоборец = икона + бороть: бороться с иконами (fight against icons);
    • Идолопоклонник = идол + поклоняться: поклоняться идолам (praise the idols).

If the second model looks interesting to you, then you may try to join some words to create your own like камневер (believer in stone), камнеискатель (stonesearcher), камнепоклонник (praiser of the stone), камневидец (the one who sees a stone), etc.

As for "true" russian suffixes - I think most of the meanings are already occupied, for instance Wiktionary reads that "каменец" is a person that lives in cities like Камень-на-Оби, Каменка, Камень, etc..

  • Thank you, @Artemix. I have seen that thread, in fact it was why I decided to join and post here. Your suggestion to use -ит is tempting, but I think attaching foreign ending to a native root might strain credulity. Jun 29 '14 at 14:48

ЕЦ is a diminutive suffix, used mostly in the Ukranian and Belorussian languages. In Russian, it was transformed in a suffix that forms names of nationalities.

So, "каменец" just means "a small stone".

  • 1
    Clearly -ец acts as an agent noun suffix in the case of nationalities, ста́рец, глупе́ц, боре́ц, and others where it confers a sense other than "small". Would you suggest another suffix (-тель, -ник) more fitting for my purpose? Jun 28 '14 at 20:52
  • @Гарий -ник might work but note that е must be dropped: камник.
    – jwalker
    Jun 29 '14 at 13:31
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    @RussianTeacher A small stone would be камне́ц. Ка́менец is a citizen of Камень.
    – jwalker
    Jun 29 '14 at 13:35

Каменец sounds like "a substance looking like stone but not necessary really stone", which could be not a real stone (may be some organic hard substance). Definitely, not a person.

If you need a profession, it would be каменщик but this word is already reserved for a bricklayer or mason.

If you want to mind a mineralogist, I suggest минеролог.

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