-aceous

adjective suffix
Updated on: 15 Nov 2017

Definition of -aceous

1 a : characterized by : full of
  • setaceous
b : consisting of
  • diatomaceous
: having the nature or form of
  • tuffaceous
2 a : of or relating to a group of animals typified by (such) a form
  • cetaceous
or characterized by (such) a feature
  • crustaceous
b : of or relating to a plant family
  • solanaceous

Origin and Etymology of -aceous

borrowed from Latin -āceus "having the nature of," extended form of -eus, going back to *ei̯os
Note: Latin -āceus is an extension of the suffix -eus, meaning "being made of, consisting of," usually applied to a noun designating a material (aureus, argenteus, etc.). Earlier attested derivatives, from Cato and Varro, are from names of plants or plant-based substances (hederāceus, cf. hedera "ivy"; mustāceus/mustāceum "cake made with must (mustum) and ivy leaves"; vīnāceus "refuse from wine pressing"; bētāceus, cf. bēta "beet"; farrāceus, cf. farr, farris "emmer"; lolleāceus, cf. lolium "darnel." Contrasting with these are the jocular formations gallīnāceus ("of poultry"; cf. gallīna "hen") and Gēryonāceus (cf. Gēryōn, a mythical monster) in Plautus. The origin of the -āc- formative is uncertain. It has been suggested that the basis was re-segmentation of a hypothetical *portulāceus, from portulāca, "purslane"—something of a stretch, though it does point to the possible relevance of -ācus or -āca as a suffix itself.


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