Entries linking to amphitheatre
late 14c., "ancient Roman edifice for the exhibition of games, etc.," from Latin amphitheatrum, from Greek amphitheatron "double theater, amphitheater," neuter of amphitheatros "with spectators all around," from amphi "on both sides" (from PIE root *ambhi- "around") + theatron "theater" (see theater). Classical theaters were semi-circles, thus two together made an amphi-theater. They were used by the Romans especially for gladiatorial contests and combats of wild beasts.
English agent noun ending, corresponding to Latin -or. In native words it represents Old English -ere (Old Northumbrian also -are) "man who has to do with," from Proto-Germanic *-ari (cognates: German -er, Swedish -are, Danish -ere), from Proto-Germanic *-arjoz. Some believe this root is identical with, and perhaps a borrowing of, Latin -arius (see -ary).
Generally used with native Germanic words. In words of Latin origin, verbs derived from past participle stems of Latin ones (including most verbs in -ate) usually take the Latin ending -or, as do Latin verbs that passed through French (such as governor); but there are many exceptions (eraser, laborer, promoter, deserter; sailor, bachelor), some of which were conformed from Latin to English in late Middle English.
The use of -or and -ee in legal language (such as lessor/lessee) to distinguish actors and recipients of action has given the -or ending a tinge of professionalism, and this makes it useful in doubling words that have a professional and a non-professional sense (such as advisor/adviser, conductor/conducter, incubator/incubater, elevator/elevater).
updated on June 05, 2012