a noun suffix occurring originally in loanwords from French, where it has been used in a variety of diminutive and hypocoristic formations (brunette; cigarette; coquette; etiquette; rosette); as an English suffix, -ette forms diminutives (kitchenette; novelette; sermonette), distinctively feminine nouns (majorette; usherette), and names of imitation products (leatherette).
Origin of -ette
< French, feminine of -et -et
English nouns in which the suffix -ette designates a feminine role or identity have been perceived by many people as implying inferiority or insignificance: bachelorette; drum majorette; farmerette; suffragette; usherette. Of these terms, only drum majorette —or sometimes just majorette —is still widely used, usually applied to one of a group of young women who perform baton twirling with a marching band. A woman or man who actually leads a band is a drum major. Baton twirler is often used instead of ( drum ) majorette. Farmer, suffragist, and usher are applied to both men and women, thus avoiding any trivializing effect of the -ette ending. See also -enne, -ess, -trix.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019
British Dictionary definitions for -ette
suffix forming nouns
(esp in trade names) imitationLeatherette
Word Origin for -ette
from French, feminine of -et
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