instrumental word-forming element, expressing "appliance, tool," from Old English -ol, -ul, -el, representing PIE *-lo- (see -ule). In modern English usually -le except after -n-.
diminutive suffix (though in Modern English not always perceived as such), from Old French -el (fem. -elle, Modern French -el, -eau), from Latin -ellus, -ella, -ellum, diminutive suffix, from PIE *-olo-lo-, itself a double diminutive, from *-lo- (see -ule).
derivational suffix, used mostly with verbs but originally also with nouns, "often denoting diminutive, repetitive, or intensive actions or events" ["Middle English Dictionary"], from Old English. Compare brastlian alongside berstan (see burst); nestlian (see nestle) alongside nistan). New formations in Middle English might be native formations (jostle from joust) with this or borrowings from Dutch.
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