1. a noun suffix having restricted application in various fields, as in names of diseases (malaria; anemia), place names (Italia; Romania), names of Roman feasts (Lupercalia), Latin or Latinizing plurals (Amphibia; insignia; Reptilia), and in other loanwords from Latin (militia).

Origin of -ia

< New Latin, Latin, Greek, equivalent to -i- (formative or connective) or -ī- (Greek -ei-) + -a, feminine singular or neuter plural noun or adj. ending


  1. in absentia.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for ia



abbreviation for
  1. Iowa


suffix forming nouns
  1. occurring in place namesAlbania; Columbia
  2. occurring in names of diseases and pathological disorderspneumonia; aphasia
  3. occurring in words denoting condition or qualityutopia
  4. occurring in names of botanical generaacacia; poinsettia
  5. occurring in names of zoological classesReptilia
  6. occurring in collective nouns borrowed from Latinmarginalia; memorabilia; regalia

Word Origin for -ia

(for senses 1–4) New Latin, from Latin and Greek, suffix of feminine nouns; (for senses 5–6) from Latin, neuter plural suffix
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 ia


word-forming element in names of countries, diseases, flowers, from Latin and Greek -ia, which forms abstract nouns of feminine gender. In paraphernalia, Mammalia, etc. it represents the Latin and Greek plural suffix of nouns in -ium or -ion.

Chinese forms country names by adding guo "country" to the stressed syllable of the place name, hence Meiguo "America," from mei, the stressed syllable of America (minus -r-, which does not exist in Chinese). Similarly Yingguo "England," Faguo "France." Continent names are similarly formed, with zhou "continent" (e.g. Meizhou "America (continent)," Feizhou "Africa," Ouzhou "Europe").

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

ia in Medicine


  1. Disease; pathological or abnormal condition:anoxia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.