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.

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