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a suffix of nouns denoting especially persons associated with a place, tribe, leader, doctrine, system, etc. (Campbellite; Israelite; laborite); minerals and fossils (ammonite; anthracite); explosives (cordite; dynamite); chemical compounds, especially salts of acids whose names end in -ous (phosphite; sulfite); pharmaceutical and commercial products (vulcanite); a member or component of a part of the body (somite).
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Compare -itis.

Origin of -ite

Middle English <Latin -ita<Greek -itēs; often directly <Greek; in some words representing French -ite,German -it, etc. <Latin <Greek, as above

Other definitions for -ite (2 of 2)


a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from adjectives, and from some verbs: composite; opposite; erudite; requisite.

Origin of -ite

<Latin -itus or -ītus past participle suffix
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

How to use -ite in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for -ite (1 of 2)


suffix forming nouns
a native or inhabitant ofIsraelite
a follower or advocate of; a member or supporter of a groupLuddite; labourite
(in biology) indicating a division of a body or organsomite
indicating a mineral or rocknephrite; peridotite
indicating a commercial productvulcanite

Word Origin for -ite

via Latin -ita from Greek -itēs or directly from Greek

British Dictionary definitions for -ite (2 of 2)


suffix forming nouns
indicating a salt or ester of an acid having a name ending in -ousa nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid

Word Origin for -ite

from French, arbitrary alteration of -ate 1
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

Medical definitions for -ite (1 of 2)

-ite 11

A part of an organ, body, or bodily part:somite.

Medical definitions for -ite (2 of 2)

-ite 22

A salt or ester of an acid named with an adjective ending in -ous:sulfite.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Scientific definitions for -ite


A suffix used to form the names of minerals, such as hematite and malachite.
A suffix used to form the name of a salt or ester of a specified acid whose name ends in -ous. Such salts or esters have one oxygen atom fewer than corresponding salts or esters with names ending in -ate. For example, a nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid and contains the group NO2, while a nitrate contains NO3. Compare -ate.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.