before vowels mult-, word-forming element meaning "many, many times, much," from combining form of Latin multus "much, many," from PIE *ml-to-, from root *mel- (2) "strong, great, numerous." It was much-used in forming Latin compounds in classical times and after (such as multianimis "having much courage," multibibus "much-drinking," multicomus "having much hair," multiloquus "talkative"). Many English words that use it (multinational, etc.) are 20c. coinages.
agent or instrumental suffix, from Old French and French -ant, from Latin -antem, accusative of -ans, present-participle suffix of many Latin verbs. Compare -ance.
word-forming element, from Latin -farius, -fariam "in (so many) parts," as in bifariam "in two parts or places, in two ways;" multifariam "in many places," an element of disputed origin. Watkins suggests it is from PIE *dwi-dhe- "making two," from roots *dwi- "two" + *dhe- "to put, set." It also has been derived from Latin fari "to say" (as in nefarious), but de Vaan writes that "the alleged semantic development to 'in n ways' is obscure," and he points to the suggestion of a PIE *-dho-, with cognates in Sanskrit dvidha (adv.) "twofold;" tridha "threefold."
word-forming element, Latin -plus "-fold." Watkins derives it from *-plo-, combining form of PIE root *pel- (2) "to fold" and makes it cognate with Old English -feald, Greek -paltos, -plos. But de Vaan connects it to PIE root *pele- (1) that yielded words meaning "much, many, more" and is the source of poly-.
before vowels phil-, word-forming element meaning "loving, fond of, tending to," from Greek philos (adj.) "dear, loved, beloved," as a noun, "friend," from philein "to love, regard with affection," a word of unknown origin. Productive of a great many compounds in ancient Greek (such as philokybos "a lover of dice-play"). Opposed to miso-. Compare -phile.
word-forming element making adjectives from nouns or verbs, from French -ent and directly from Latin -entem (nominative -ens), present-participle ending of verbs in -ere/-ire. Old French changed it in many words to -ant, but after c. 1500 some of these in English were changed back to what was supposed to be correct Latin. See -ant.
word-forming element denoting quality or state, from Latin -antia, forming abstract nouns on past-participle adjectives in -antem, appearing in English mostly in words borrowed directly from Latin (those passing through French usually have -ance or -ence; see -ance). But English also has kept many pairs of words in -ance and -ancy (radiance/radiancy, etc.). Though typically one of the two forms has been more common, both were kept "as metrically useful or rhetorically effective" [Fowler, 1926].