Origin of -acea

< Latin, neuter pl, with collective meaning, of -āceus. See -aceous
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British Dictionary definitions for -acea


suffix forming plural proper nouns
  1. denoting animals belonging to a class or orderCrustacea (class); Cetacea (order)

Word Origin for -acea

New Latin, from Latin, neuter plural of -āceus -aceous
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for -acea

word-forming element denoting orders and classes in zoology, from Latin -acea, neuter plural of -aceus "belonging to, of the nature of" (enlarged from adjectival suffix -ax, genitive -acis); neuter plural because of a presumed animalia, a neuter plural noun. Thus, crustacea "shellfish" are *crustacea animalia "crusty animals." In botany, the suffix is -aceae, from the fem. plural of -aceus, with reference to Latin plantae, which is a fem. plural.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper