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."
In paraphernalia, Mammalia, regalia, etc. it represents Latin or Greek -a (see -a (2)), plural suffix of nouns in -ium (Latin) or -ion (Greek), with formative or euphonic -i-.
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 from 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 (first in benzoic, 1791).
In Middle English and after often spelled -ick, -ike, -ique. Variant forms in -ick (critick, ethick) were common in early Modern English and survived in English dictionaries into early 19c. This spelling was supported by Johnson but opposed by Webster, who prevailed.
as in beatnik, etc., suffix used in word formation from c. 1945, from Yiddish -nik (as in nudnik "a bore"), from Russian -nik, common personal suffix meaning "person or thing associated with or involved in" (compare nudnik; kolkhoznik "member of a kolkhoz"). Rocketed to popularity with sputnik (q.v.), hence its brief vogue in English word-formation, as in robotnik "person behaving with mindless obedience" (1960).