word-forming element in chemistry, usually indicating a neutral substance, antibiotic, vitamin, or hormone; a modification and specialized use of -ine (2).
before vowels somat-, word-forming element meaning "the body of an organism," from combining form of Greek sōma (genitive sōmatos) "the body, a human body dead or living, body as opposed to spirit; material substance; mass; a person, human being; the whole body or mass of anything," a word of uncertain origin. Perhaps originally "compactness, swelling," and from PIE root *teue- "to swell."
in chemistry, word-forming element used to form the names of salts from acids in -ic; from Latin -atus, -atum, suffix used in forming adjectives and thence nouns; identical with -ate (1).
The substance formed, for example, by the action of acetic acid (vinegar) on lead was described in the 18th century as plumbum acetatum, i.e. acetated lead. Acetatum was then taken as a noun meaning "the acetated (product)," i.e. acetate. [W.E. Flood, "The Origins of Chemical Names," London, 1963]