-ery Also -ry and -erie.
[French -erie, based on Latin -arius and -ator.]
It is often unclear whether words contain this suffix by borrowing from French, or whether they have been created in English from nouns in -er by adding -y (see -er1 and -y3). The -ry form is a shortened version of -ery.
The suffix has several meanings that can be broadly classified, though not all words fit neatly into one of the groups. One very broad set denotes a class or kind of objects: confectionery, crockery, cutlery, finery, greenery, machinery, scenery. Another marks places where some occupation, trade, or activity is carried on: bakery, brewery, cemetery, distillery, fishery, grocery, nunnery, nursery. A third indicates an occupation, state, condition, or behaviour: archery, bravery, butchery, devilry, mastery, rivalry, slavery, treachery; sometimes a depreciatory reference is meant: knavery, tomfoolery. A fourth denotes a place set aside for an activity or a place to keep things, animals or the like: fernery, piggery, orangery, rookery, shrubbery, swannery, vinery.
The form -erie sometimes signals a direct import from French: boulangerie, charcuterie, menagerie, patisserie, rotisserie; it can also mark an informal, affectionate or dismissive version of a form in -ery, as with eaterie for eatery; some of this latter sort have been created directly in -erie: niterie for a night club, nosherie for a restaurant, drinkerie for a bar or public house.
Not all examples come from French -erie. Words such as skulduggery and sitooterie are of Scots origin; country is from Old French cuntree, based on Latin contra, against, opposite; lottery is probably from Dutch loterij; gantry probably from Middle English dialect gawn.
See also -ary1.