- a suffix with the general sense “of the kind of, pertaining to, having the form or character of” that named by the stem, occurring in loanwords from Latin (autumnal; natural; pastoral), and productive in English on the Latin model, usually with bases of Latin origin (accidental; seasonal; tribal). Originally, -al1 was restricted to stems not containing an -l- (cf. -ar1); recent lapses in this rule have produced semantically distinct pairs, as familiar and familial.
Origin of -al1
- a suffix forming nouns from verbs, usually verbs of French or Latin origin: denial; refusal.
Origin of -al2
- Chemistry. a suffix indicating that a compound contains an aldehyde group: chloral.
Origin of -al3
- of; related to; connected withfunctional; sectional; tonal
- the act or process of doing what is indicated by the verb stemrebuttal; recital; renewal
- indicating an aldehydeethanal
- indicating a pharmaceutical productphenobarbital
Word Origin and History for -al
suffix forming adjectives from nouns or other adjectives, "of, like, related to," Middle English -al, -el, from French or directly from Latin -alis (see -al (2)).
suffix forming nouns of action from verbs, mostly from Latin and French, meaning "act of ______ing" (e.g. survival, referral), Middle English -aille, from French feminine singular -aille, from Latin -alia, neuter plural of adjective suffix -alis, also used in English as a noun suffix. Nativized in English and used with Germanic verbs (e.g. bestowal, betrothal).