word-forming element denoting an action or product of an action, via French, Spanish, or Italian, ultimately from Latin -ata, fem. past participle ending used in forming nouns. The usual form in French is -ée. The parallel form, -ade, came into French about the 13c. via southern Romanic languages (Spanish, Portuguese, and Provençal -ada, Italian -ata), hence grenade, crusade, ballad, arcade, comrade, balustrade, lemonade, etc.
This foreign suffix ade has been so largely imported, and at a time when the French language had still a certain plastic force, that it has been adopted as a popular suffix, and is still employed to form a crowd of new words, such as promenade, embrassade, glissade, bourrade, &c. [Brachet, "Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," Kitchin transl., Oxford, 1882]
Latin -atus, past-participle suffix of verbs of the 1st conjugation, also became -ade in French (Spanish -ado, Italian -ato) and came to be used as a suffix denoting persons or groups participating in an action (such as brigade, desperado).
It also appears in Romanic words from Latin that have been borrowed into English, such as opera, plaza, armada. It figures in scientific names coined in Modern Latin (amoeba, soda, magnolia, etc.) and is common in geographical names formed according to Latin or Greek models (Asia, Africa, America, Arabia, Florida, etc.)
In English it marks sex only in personal names (Julia, Maria, Alberta) and in a few words from Italian or Spanish where a corresponding male form also is in use (donna, senora).