- -i (1)
- as a termination in certain people names (Iraqi, Israeli), it represents the common Semitic national designation suffix -i.
- -i (2)
- plural suffix sometimes preserved in English for words from Latin, it is the Latin plural of nouns of the second declension (such as focus/foci, radius/radii).
- a "connective" element in many words formed with Latin or Greek suffixes, now often felt as part of them (as in -iac, -iacal, -ial, -ian, -ify, -ity, etc.). Properly it forms no proper part of the suffix but is often the stem-vowel of the initial word in the Latin compounds (genial from genius), or a modified form of it. As such forms were very common, -i- was used merely connectively or euphonically in some Latin compounds (uniformis) and in later words made from Latin components in English or French (centennial, editorial).
The Greek equivalent is -o-, which also became an active connective in English, but they now are used indifferently with elements from either language.
- word-forming element in names of countries, diseases, and flowers, from Latin and Greek -ia, noun ending, in Greek especially used in forming abstract nouns (typically of feminine gender). The classical suffix in its usual evolution (via French -ie) comes to Modern English as -y (as in familia/family, also -logy, -graphy). Compare -cy.
In paraphernalia, Mammalia, regalia, etc. it represents Latin or Greek -a, plural suffix of nouns in -ium (Latin) or -ion (Greek), with formative or euphonic -i-.
- adjectival word-forming element, variant of -al (1) with connective -i-. From Latin -ialis, in which the -i- originally was from the stem of the word being attached but later came to be felt as connective.
- variant of suffix -an (q.v.), with connective -i-. From Latin -ianus, in which the -i- originally was from the stem of the word being attached but later came to be felt as connective. In Middle English frequently it was -ien, via French.
- form of -ana (q.v.) with nouns whose adjectival forms end in -ian.
- medical Latin word-forming element used in naming diseases, from Greek -asis, abstract noun suffix (often expressing "disease, morbid condition") from the aorist of verbs in -aein. The -i- is connective.
- word-forming element, from Latinized form of Greek iatrikos "healing," from iatros "physician, healer" (related to iatreun "treat medically," and iasthai "heal, treat"); of uncertain origin, perhaps from iaomai "to cure," related to iaino "heat, warm, cheer," probably from a root meaning "enliven, animate."
- word-forming element meaning "medical treatment," from French -iatrie, from Greek iatreia "healing, medical treatment" (see -iatric).
- word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, borrowed in Middle English from Old French -ible and directly from Latin adjective suffix -ibilis (properly -bilis); see -able.
- Middle English -ik, -ick, word-forming element making adjectives, "having to do with, having the nature of, being, made of, caused by, similar to," from French -ique and directly from Latin -icus or cognate Greek -ikos "in the manner of; pertaining to." From PIE adjective suffix *-(i)ko, which also yielded Slavic -isku, adjectival suffix indicating origin, the source of the -sky (Russian -skii) in many surnames. In chemistry, indicating a higher valence than names in -ous. Variant forms in -ick (critick, ethick) survived in English dictionaries until early 19c.
- compound adjectival word-forming element, usually interchangeable with -ic but sometimes with specialized sense (such as historic/historical, politic/political), Middle English, from Late Latin -icalis, from Latin -icus + -alis (see -al (1)). Probably it was needed because the forms in -ic often took on a noun sense (for example physic). Forms in -ical tend to be attested earlier in English than their twins in -ic.
- in the names of sciences or disciplines (acoustics, aerobics, economics, etc.), a 16c. revival of the classical custom of using the neuter plural of adjectives with Greek -ikos "pertaining to" (see -ic) to mean "matters relevant to" and also as the titles of treatises about them. Subject matters that acquired their English names before c. 1500, however, tend to be singular in form (arithmetic, logic, magic, music, rhetoric). The grammatical number of words in -ics (mathematics is/mathematics are) is a confused question.
- adjectival word-forming element, especially in zoology, "belonging to, connected with, member of a group or class," in some cases probably via from French -ide, back-formed from Modern Latin names of zoological classes in -idae, as arachnid "a spider" from the biological class name arachnidae.
This -idae is the plural of Latin -ides, a masculine patronymic (indicating "descent from"), from Greek -ides "son of," denoting descent from the person to whose name it is attached (such as Heraklides).
In astronomy, of meteor showers, "having its radiant in" the constellation named (Perseid, Leonid, etc.), it probably represents Latin -idis, from Greek -idos, the genitive of the feminine form of the patronymic suffix.
- word-forming element used to coin family names in zoology (by being suffixed to the name of the genus whence that of the family is derived), from Latin -idae, plural of noun suffix -ides (see -id).
- word-forming element used to coin names for simple compounds of one element with another element or radical; originally abstracted from oxide, which was the first so classified.
- alternative spelling of -y; now mostly of -y (3), but formerly of the others as well.
- word-forming element indicating "one whose occupation has to do with," from French and Old French -ier, from Latin -arius (see -ary). Nativized and used to form English words (glazier, hosier, etc.) Also see -yer, and compare -eer.
- variant of verbal suffix -fy with connective -i-. Related: -ific; -ification.
- also -il, word-forming element denoting ability or capacity, from Old French -il or directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ilis. Used in classical and Medieval Latin to form ordinal numbers, which accounts for its use from late 19c. in statistics (percentile, etc.).
- -in (1)
- the adverb in attached to a verb as a word-forming element, by 1960, abstracted from sit-in, which is attested from 1941 in reference to protests and 1937 in reference to labor union actions (which probably was influenced by sit-down strike) but was popularized in reference to civil disobedience protests aimed at segregated lunch counters. As a word-forming element at first of other types of protests, extended by 1965 to any sort of communal gathering.
- -in (2)
- word-forming element in chemistry, usually indicating a neutral substance, antibiotic, vitamin, or hormone; a modification and specialized use of -ine (2).
- fem. word- and name-forming element, from Latin -ina (see -ine (1)), or its identical descendants in Spanish, Portuguese, or Italian. The French form is -ine. As a suffix in royal titles (czarina, etc.) it represents an extension from Latin regina.
- -ine (1)
- also -in, adjectival word-forming element, Middle English, from Old French -in/-ine, or directly from Latin suffix -inus/-ina/-inum "of, like," forming adjectives and derived nouns, as in divinus, feminus, caninus; from PIE adjectival suffix *-no- (see -en (2)).
The Latin suffix is cognate with Greek -inos/-ine/-inon, and in some modern scientific words the element is from Greek. Added to names, it meant "of or pertaining to, of the nature of" (Florentinus), and so it also was commonly used in forming Roman proper names, originally appellatives (Augustinus, Constantinus, Justinus, etc.) and its descendants in Romanic languages continued active in name-forming. The Latin fem. form, -ina, was used in forming abstracts (doctrina, medicina). Relics of the attempt to continue a distinction between Latin -ina and -inus account for the English hesitation in spelling between -in and -ine.
- -ine (2)
- word-forming element in chemistry, often interchangeable with -in (2), though modern use distinguishes them; early 19c., from French -ine, the suffix commonly used to form words for derived substances, hence its extended use in chemistry. It was applied unsystematically at first (as in aniline), but now has more restricted use.
The French suffix is from Latin -ina, fem. form of -inus, suffix used to form adjectives from nouns, and thus is identical with -ine (1).
- -ing (1)
- suffix attached to verbs to mean their action, result, product, material, etc., from Old English -ing, also -ung, from Proto-Germanic *-unga-, *-inga- (cognates: Old Norse -ing, Dutch -ing, German -ung). In early use often denoting completed or habitual action; its use has been greatly expanded in Middle and Modern English.
- -ing (2)
- suffix used form the present participle of verbs, and adjectives derived from them, from Old English present participle suffix -ende, from PIE *-nt- (cognates: German -end, Gothic -and, Sanskrit -ant, Greek -on, Latin -ans, -ens). The vowel weakened in late Old English and the spelling with -g began 13c.-14c. among Anglo-Norman scribes who naturally confused it with -ing (1).
- -ing (3)
- Old English -ing, patronymic suffix (denoting common origin); surviving in place names (Birmingham, Nottingham) where it denotes "tribe, community."
- word-forming element attached to verbs, making nouns of state, condition, or action, from French -ion or directly from Latin -ionem (nominative -io, genitive -ionis), common suffix forming abstract nouns from verbs.
- see -ize.
- adjectival word-forming element, Old English -isc "of the nativity or country of," in later use "of the nature or character of," from Proto-Germanic suffix *-iska- (cognates: Old Saxon -isk, Old Frisian -sk, Old Norse -iskr, Swedish and Danish -sk, Dutch -sch, Old High German -isc, German -isch, Gothic -isks), cognate with Greek diminutive suffix -iskos. In its oldest forms with altered stem vowel (French, Welsh). The Germanic suffix was borrowed into Italian and Spanish (-esco) and French (-esque). Colloquially attached to hours to denote approximation, 1916.
The -ish in verbs (abolish, establish, finish, punish, etc.) is a mere terminal relic from the Old French present participle.
- word-forming element making nouns implying a practice, system, doctrine, etc., from French -isme or directly from Latin -isma, -ismus (source also of Italian, Spanish -ismo, Dutch, German -ismus), from Greek -ismos, noun ending signifying the practice or teaching of a thing, from the stem of verbs in -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached. For distinction of use, see -ity. The related Greek suffix -isma(t)- affects some forms.
- word-forming element meaning "one who does or makes," also used to indicate adherence to a certain doctrine or custom, from French -iste and directly from Latin -ista (source also of Spanish, Portuguese, Italian -ista), from Greek agent-noun ending -istes, which is from -is-, ending of the stem of verbs in -izein, + agential suffix -tes.
Variant -ister (as in chorister, barrister) is from Old French -istre, on false analogy of ministre. Variant -ista is from Spanish, popularized in American English 1970s by names of Latin-American revolutionary movements.
- adjectival word-forming element, from French -istique or directly from Latin -isticus, from Greek -istikos, a compound of the adjectival suffix -ikos (see -ic) + the noun suffix -istes (see -ist).
- -ite (1)
- word-forming element indicating origin or derivation from, from French -ite and directly from Latin -ita, from Greek -ites (fem. -itis), word-forming element making adjectives and nouns meaning "connected with or belonging to." Especially used in classical times to form ethnic and local designations (for example in Septuagint translations of Hebrew names in -i) and for names of gems and minerals.
- -ite (2)
- chemical salt suffix, from French -ite, alteration of -ate (see -ate (3)).
- word-forming element in medicine denoting "diseases characterized by inflammation" (of the specified part), Modern Latin, from Greek -itis, feminine of adjectival suffix -ites "pertaining to." Feminine because it was used with an implied nosos "disease," a feminine noun; especially in arthritis (nosos) "(disease) of the joints." Arthritis (16c.) was one of the earliest appearances of the suffix in English and from it the suffix was abstracted in other uses.
- word-forming element making abstract nouns from adjectives and meaning "condition or quality of being ______," from Middle English -ite, from Old French -ete (Modern French -ité) and directly from Latin -itatem (nominative -itas), suffix denoting state or condition, composed of -i- (from the stem or else a connective) + the common abstract suffix -tas (see -ty (2)).
Roughly, the word in -ity usually means the quality of being what the adjective describes, or concretely an instance of the quality, or collectively all the instances; & the word in -ism means the disposition, or collectively all those who feel it. [Fowler]
- word-forming element in chemistry, used to coin element names, from Latin adjectival suffix -ium (neuter of -ius), which formed metal names in Latin (ferrum "iron," aurum "gold," etc.). In late 18c chemists began to pay attention to the naming of their substances with words that indicate their chemical properties. Berzelius in 1811 proposed forming all element names in Modern Latin. As the names of some recently discovered metallic elements already were in Latin form (uranium, chromium, borium, etc.), the pattern of naming metallic elements in -ium or -um was maintained (in cadmium, lithium, plutonium, etc.; helium is an anomaly).
- word-forming element making adjectives from verbs, meaning "pertaining to, tending to; doing, serving to do," in some cases from Old French -if, but usually directly from Latin adjectival suffix -ivus (source also of Italian and Spanish -ivo). In some words borrowed from French at an early date it has been reduced to -y (as in hasty, tardy).
- word-forming element making nouns of action, process, or state; see -ize + -ation.
- word-forming element used to make verbs, Middle English -isen, from Old French -iser, from Late Latin -izare, from Greek -izein, a verb-forming element denoting the doing of the noun or adjective to which it is attached.
English picked up the French form, but partially reverted to the correct Greek -z- spelling from late 16c. In Britain, despite the opposition to it (at least formerly) of OED, Encyclopaedia Britannica, the "Times of London," and Fowler, -ise remains dominant. Fowler thinks this is to avoid the difficulty of remembering the short list of common words not from Greek which must be spelled with an -s- (such as advertise, devise, surprise).
- I (pron.)
- 12c., a shortening of Old English ic, the first person singular nominative pronoun, from Proto-Germanic *ek (cognates: Old Frisian ik, Old Norse ek, Norwegian eg, Danish jeg, Old High German ih, German ich, Gothic ik), from PIE *eg- "I," nominative form of the first person singular pronoun (cognates: Sanskrit aham, Hittite uk, Latin ego (source of French Je), Greek ego, Russian ja, Lithuanian aš).
Reduced to i by mid-12c. in northern England, later everywhere; the form ich or ik, especially before vowels, lingered in northern England until c. 1400 and survived in southern dialects until 18c. It began to be capitalized mid-13c. to mark it as a distinct word and avoid misreading in handwritten manuscripts.
The reason for writing I is ... the orthographic habit in the middle ages of using a 'long i' (that is, j or I) whenever the letter was isolated or formed the last letter of a group; the numeral 'one' was written j or I (and three iij, etc.), just as much as the pronoun. [Otto Jespersen, "Growth and Structure of the English Language," p.233]
The dot on the "small" letter -i- began to appear in 11c. Latin manuscripts to distinguish the letter from the stroke of another letter (such as -m- or -n-). Originally a diacritic, it was reduced to a dot with the introduction of Roman type fonts. The letter -y- also was written with a top dot in Old English and early Middle English, during the centuries when -i- tended to be written with a closed loop at the top and thus was almost indistinguishable from the lower-case thorn (þ).
- I Ching
- 1876, from Chinese, said to mean "Book of Changes."
- also i'n't, 18c., contraction representing a casual pronunciation of isn't it.
- 1847 in representations of African-American vernacular, a contraction of I is, irregular for I am. In Scotland, a colloquial or dialectal contraction of I shall (1796).
- contraction of I have, 1742, first attested in Richardson's "Pamela."
- I-beam (n.)
- 1869; see beam (n.). So called for its shape. I-bar is from 1890; also I-rail (1873).
- also ID (but pronounced as separate letters), short for identification, attested from 1955.