- a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from verbs, occurring originally in French and Latin loanwords (pleasant; constant; servant) and productive in English on this model; -ant has the general sense “characterized by or serving in the capacity of” that named by the stem (ascendant; pretendant), especially in the formation of nouns denoting human agents in legal actions or other formal procedures (tenant; defendant; applicant; contestant). In technical and commercial coinages, -ant is a suffix of nouns denoting impersonal physical agents (propellant; lubricant; deodorant). In general, -ant can be added only to bases of Latin origin, with a very few exceptions, as coolant.
See also -ent.
Origin of -ant
< Latin -ant-, present participle stem of verbs in -āre; in many words < French -ant < Latin -ant- or -ent- (see -ent); akin to Middle English, Old English -and-, -end-, present participle suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018
- causing or performing an action or existing in a certain condition; the agent that performs an actionpleasant; claimant; deodorant; protestant; servant
Word Origin for -ant
from Latin -ant-, ending of present participles of the first conjugation
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
agent or instrumental suffix, from Old French and French -ant, from Latin -antem, accusative of -ans, present participle suffix of many Latin verbs.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper