Origin of -cle1
Words nearby -cle
Other definitions for -cle (2 of 2)
Origin of -cle2
WORDS THAT USE -CLE
What does -cle mean?
The suffix -cle has two distinct senses.
The first of these senses is to denote a diminutive noun, meaning to indicate something small in size or importance. It is also used in other French loanwords from Latin. This form of -cle is occasionally used in a variety of everyday and technical terms. The suffix -cle comes from the Latin endings -culus (masculine), -cula (feminine), and -culum (neuter), which originally designated diminutive nouns.
The second of these senses is in words borrowed from Latin where it formed verb nouns that denoted a place appropriate to the action of the verb or means by which the action is performed. The suffix -cle comes from Latin -cula and -culum by way of French or Old French.
What are variants of -cle?
A variant of -cle in both senses of the suffix is -cule, as in molecule or ridicule. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use article on -cule.
Examples of -cle with the sense "diminutive noun"
One example of an everyday term that uses the suffix -cle is particle, “a minute portion, piece, fragment, or amount; a tiny or very small bit.”
The part- part of the word means “portion” or “piece.” The suffix -cle means “small” and denotes a diminutive. Particle literally translates to “small part.”
What are some words that use the combining form -cle?
- corpuscle (using the equivalent form of -cle in Latin)
- muscle (using the equivalent form of -cle in Latin)
What are some other forms that -cle may be commonly confused with?
Not every word that ends with the exact letters -cle, such as treacle or icicle, is necessarily using the suffix -cle to denote “diminutive” or “place where verb or action is performed.” Learn why treacle means “sentimental” at our entry for the word.
Break it down!
The combining form arti- means “joint.” With this in mind, what does article literally translate to?
How to use -cle in a sentence
CLE Why has not my heart sufficient resolution to punish this infamous scoundrel?Amphitryon|Moliere
Cle-Syria was, like the north of Mesopotamia, in repute for its cattle.History of Julius Caesar Vol. 1 of 2|Napoleon III, Emperor of the French, 1808-1873.
"Ez clean an' ez cle'r ez the pa'm er my han'," replied Uncle Jake, with emphasis.Mingo|Joel Chandler Harris
Trea′cle-sleep, a sweet and refreshing sleep; Trea′cliness, viscosity.
Cle'lia or Cloe'lia, a Roman maiden, one of the hostages given to Por'sena.Character Sketches of Romance, Fiction and the Drama, Vol 1|The Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D.