a suffix occurring originally in loanwords from Classical and Medieval Latin, on adjectives (elementary; honorary; stationary; tributary), personal nouns (actuary; notary; secretary), or nouns denoting objects, especially receptacles or places (library; rosary; glossary). The suffix has the general sense “pertaining to, connected with” the referent named by the base; it is productive in English, sometimes with the additional senses “contributing to,” “for the purpose of,” and usually forming adjectives: complimentary; visionary; revolutionary; inflationary.
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British Dictionary definitions for -ary
(forming adjectives) of; related to; belonging tocautionary; rudimentary
- a person connected with or engaged inmissionary
- a thing relating to; a place forcommentary; aviary
Word Origin for -ary
from Latin -ārius, -āria, -ārium
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