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a suffix forming adjectives that have the general sense “possessing, full of” a given quality (covetous; glorious; nervous; wondrous); -ous and its variant -ious have often been used to Anglicize Latin adjectives with terminations that cannot be directly adapted into English (atrocious; contiguous; garrulous; obvious; stupendous). As an adjective-forming suffix of neutral value, it regularly Anglicizes Greek and Latin adjectives derived without suffix from nouns and verbs; many such formations are productive combining forms in English, sometimes with a corresponding nominal combining form that has no suffix;Compare -fer, -ferous; -phore, -phorous; -pter, -pterous; -vore, -vorous.
a suffix forming adjectival correspondents to the names of chemical elements; specialized, in opposition to like adjectives ending in -ic, to mean the lower of two possible valences (stannous chloride, SnCl2, and stannic chloride SnCl4).
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Origin of -ous
Middle English <Anglo-French, Old French <Latin -ōsus; a doublet of -ose1
Words nearby -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use -ous in a sentence
Jurgens seen the flag through that, an' bein' of a cur'ous disposition he put in to investigate.Motor Matt's Peril, or, Cast Away in the Bahamas|Stanley R. Matthews
Oh, when my wife died, I wanted sum 'un to take care of the childern, so I takes Peg into the 'ous.Lucretia, Complete|Edward Bulwer-Lytton
Throth an' I'm cur'ous to see did they ever swell out agin, afther the parchin' they got.'Cedar Creek|Elizabeth Hely Walshe
Many's the time I heard your grandpaw say them's the most dang'ous kind.Jack, the Young Ranchman|George Bird Grinnell
Other wies, hit had rid ous of all our poour substans of plat and other thinges.Great Ralegh|Hugh De Selincourt
British Dictionary definitions for -ous
suffix forming adjectives
having, full of, or characterized bydangerous; spacious; languorous
(in chemistry) indicating that an element is chemically combined in the lower of two possible valency statesferrous; stannous Compare -ic (def. 2)
Word Origin for -ous
from Old French, from Latin -ōsus or -us, Greek -os, adj suffixes
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