- a suffix of nouns denoting especially persons associated with a place, tribe, leader, doctrine, system, etc. (Campbellite; Israelite; laborite); minerals and fossils (ammonite; anthracite); explosives (cordite; dynamite); chemical compounds, especially salts of acids whose names end in -ous (phosphite; sulfite); pharmaceutical and commercial products (vulcanite); a member or component of a part of the body (somite).
Origin of -ite1
- a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from adjectives, and from some verbs: composite; opposite; erudite; requisite.
Origin of -ite2
- a native or inhabitant ofIsraelite
- a follower or advocate of; a member or supporter of a groupLuddite; labourite
- (in biology) indicating a division of a body or organsomite
- indicating a mineral or rocknephrite; peridotite
- indicating a commercial productvulcanite
- indicating a salt or ester of an acid having a name ending in -ousa nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid
Word Origin and History for -ite
from French -ite and directly from Latin -ita, from Greek -ites (fem. -itis), forming adjectives and nouns meaning "connected with or belonging to." Especially used in classical times to form ethnic and local designations (e.g. use in Septuagint for Hebrew names in -i) and for names of gems and minerals.
salt suffix, from French -ite, alteration of -ate (see -ate (3)).
- A suffix used to form the names of minerals, such as hematite and malachite.
- A suffix used to form the name of a salt or ester of a specified acid whose name ends in -ous. Such salts or esters have one oxygen atom fewer than corresponding salts or esters with names ending in -ate. For example, a nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid and contains the group NO2, while a nitrate contains NO3. Compare -ate.