diminutive noun-forming element, Middle English, from Old French -elet, which often is a double-diminutive. It consists of Old French diminutive -et, -ette (see -et) added to nouns in -el, which in many cases represents Latin diminutive -ellus; see -el (2)). "The formation did not become common until the 18th c." [OED].
word-forming element in chemistry, usually indicating a neutral substance, antibiotic, vitamin, or hormone; a modification and specialized use of -ine (2).
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 it was extended first of other types of protests, then by 1965 to any sort of communal gathering (such as love-in, attested by 1967; slim-in, for dieters, 1973). In labor actions it was perhaps less useful: "a mass of workers calling in sick to absent themselves in protest" was called both a sick-out (1970) and a sick-in (1974).
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 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).
occasional plural suffix of words ending in -a (see a- (1)), most of which, in English, are from Latin nominative fem. singular nouns (or Greek ones brought up through Latin), which in Latin form their plurals in -ae. But plurals in native -s were established early in English for many of them (such as idea, arena) and many have crossed over since. Purity now would only breed monsters.
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.
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 nouns of quality, state, or condition, a confusion in English of three similar suffixes from Latin:
1. in primacy, etc., from Old French -acie and directly from Medieval Latin -acia, Late Latin -atia, making nouns of quality, state, or condition from nouns in -as.
2. in advocacy, etc., from Late Latin -atia, forming nouns of state from nouns in -atus.
3. in fallacy, etc., from Latin -acia, forming nouns of quality from adjectives in -ax (genitive -acis). Also forming part of -cracy. It has been extended in English to nouns not found in Latin (accuracy) and to non-Latin words (piracy).