• synonyms


  1. a suffix used in the names of subatomic particles (gluon; meson; neutron), quanta (graviton), and other minimal entities or components (cistron; codon; magneton; photon).
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Origin of -on1

probably extracted from ion; cf. proton


  1. a suffix used in the naming of inert gaseous elements: neon.
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Origin of -on2

Greek -on, neuter of -os adj. ending
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for -on


suffix forming nouns
  1. indicating a chemical substanceinterferon; parathion
  2. (in physics) indicating an elementary particle or quantumelectron; photon
  3. (in chemistry) indicating an inert gasneon; radon
  4. (in biochemistry) a molecular unitcodon; operon
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Word Origin

from ion
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

Word Origin and History for -on

subatomic particle suffix, from ion.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper