word-forming element, originally a diminutive suffix but not now always felt as one, Middle English, from Old French -et (fem. -ete; Modern French -et, -ette), from Vulgar Latin *-ittum/*-itta (source also of Spanish -eto/-eta, Italian -etto/-etta), of unknown origin. The French forms are reduced to -et in English, but later borrowings of French words in -ette tend to keep that ending.
word-forming element used in modern formations to mean "one suffering from" (a disease or condition), from Greek pathos "suffering" (from PIE root *kwent(h)- "to suffer"). Also "one versed in" (a certain type of treatment), in which cases it is a back-formation from -pathy in the related sense.
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.
past-participle suffix of weak verbs, from Old English -ed, -ad, -od (leveled to -ed in Middle English), from Proto-Germanic *-da- (cognates: Old High German -ta, German -t, Old Norse -þa, Gothic -da, -þs), from PIE *-to-, "suffix forming adjectives marking the accomplishment of the notion of the base" [Watkins] (cognates: Sanskrit -tah, Greek -tos, Latin -tus; see -th (1)).
Originally fully pronounced, as still in beloved (which, with blessed, accursed, and a few others retains the full pronunciation through liturgical readings). In Old English already the first and third person singular past tense form of some "weak" verbs was -te, a variant of -de (see -ed), often accompanied by a change in vowel sound (as in modern keep/kept, sleep/slept).
A tendency to shorten final consonants has left English with many past tense forms spelled in -ed but pronounced "-t" (looked, missed, etc.). In some older words both forms exist, with different shades of meaning, as in gilded/gilt, burned/burnt.
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.
suffix forming almost all Modern English plural forms of nouns, gradually extended in Middle English as -es from Old English -as, the nominative plural and accusative plural ending of certain "strong" masculine nouns (such as dæg "day," nominative/accusative plural dagas "days"). The commonest Germanic declension, traceable back to the original PIE inflection system, it is also the source of the Dutch -s plurals and (by rhotacism) Scandinavian -r plurals (such as Swedish dagar).
Much more uniform today than originally; Old English also had a numerous category of "weak" nouns that formed their plurals in -an, and other strong nouns that formed plurals with -u. Quirk and Wrenn, in their Old English grammar, estimate that 45 percent of the nouns a student will encounter will be masculine, nearly four-fifths of them with genitive singular -es and nominative/accusative plural in -as. Less than half, but still the largest chunk.
The triumphs of -'s possessives and -s plurals represent common patterns in language: using only a handful of suffixes to do many jobs (such as -ing), and the most common variant squeezing out the competition. To further muddy the waters, it's been extended in slang since 1936 to singulars (such as ducks,sweets,babes) as an affectionate or diminutive suffix.
Old English single-syllable collectives (sheep, folk) as well as weights, measures, and units of time did not use -s. The use of it in these cases began in Middle English, but the older custom is preserved in many traditional dialects (ten pound of butter; more than seven year ago; etc.).