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-ance

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  1. a suffix used to form nouns either from adjectives in -ant or from verbs: brilliance; appearance.
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Origin of -ance

Middle English < Old French < Latin -antia -ancy, equivalent to -ant- -ant + -ia -y3
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for -ance

-ance

-ancy

suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating an action, state or condition, or qualityhindrance; tenancy; resemblance Compare -ence
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Word Origin

via Old French from Latin -antia; see -ancy
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 -ance

word-forming element attached to verbs to form abstract nouns of process or fact (convergence from converge), or of state or quality (absence from absent); ultimately from Latin -antia and -entia, which depended on the vowel in the stem word.

As Old French evolved from Latin, these were leveled to -ance, but later French borrowings from Latin (some of them subsequently passed to English) used the appropriate Latin form of the ending, as did words borrowed by English directly from Latin (diligence, absence).

English thus inherited a confused mass of words from French and further confused it since c.1500 by restoring -ence selectively in some forms of these words to conform with Latin. Thus dependant, but independence, etc.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper