Does -wich suffix (as in Greenwich, sandwich, etc.) have a meaning?


3 Answers 3


According to Wikipedia, -wich derives from an Anglo-Saxon suffix meaning roughly "a dwelling or fortified place" with extensive trading activity, usually on a coast.

It is ultimately of Latin origin, where the meaning can be more varied and vague: dwelling, dwelling-place; village, hamlet, town; street in a town; farm, esp. a dairy-farm.


Yes. The suffix "wich" means "village".

Citation: The "Gamgee" entry at the end of Appendix F of The Lord of the Rings.

The word "sandwich" takes its name from the "Earl of Sandwich". Thus, "sandwich" is derived from a placename, not from food or animal names.

  • 2
    It's probably more correct to say that "wich" used to mean "village". No-one uses "wich" by itself to mean "village" now, and no-one uses it to make a new word.
    – Sydney
    Aug 22, 2014 at 3:45

The suffix -wich is leftover from the Anglo-Saxon language. It meant farm and only exists now in place names such as Greenwich, Ipswich, Norwich, etc.

Other such Anglo-Saxon hold overs used in place names are -ham (village), -leigh/-lee/-lea (forest clearing), -dun (lake), and -bury (fortified place). They are not used in modern language, they have simply survived since the Anglo-Saxons named them.

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