- an adjective-forming suffix, joined to bases of Latin origin in imitation of borrowed Latin words containing the suffix -tory1 (and its alternant -sory): excretory; sensory; statutory.
Origin of -ory1
- a suffix forming nouns denoting places or receptacles, joined to bases of Latin origin in imitation of borrowed Latin words containing the suffix -tory2 (or its alternant -sory): crematory.
Origin of -ory2
- indicating a place forobservatory
- something having a specified usedirectory
- of or relating to; characterized by; having the effect ofcontributory; promissory
Word Origin and History for -ory
adjective and noun suffix, "having to do with, characterized by, tending to, place for," from Middle English -orie, from Old North French -ory, -orie (Old French -oir, -oire), from Latin -orius, -oria, -orium.
Latin adjectives in -orius, according to "An Etymological Dictionary of the French Language," tended to "indicate a quality proper to the action accomplished by the agent; as oratorius from orator; laudatorius from laudator. The neuter of these adjectives was early employed as a substantive, and usually denoted the place of residence of the agent or the instrument that he uses; as praetorium from praetor; dormitorium from dormitor; auditorium, dolatorium.
"These newer words, already frequent under the Empire, became exceedingly numerous at a later time, especially in ecclesiastical and scholastic Latin; as purgatorium, refectorium, laboratorium, observatorium, &c." [transl. G.W. Kitchin, Oxford, 1878]