Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

-ian Also -an.

Forming adjectives and nouns.

[Latin adjectival endings -anus, -ana, -anum, ‘of or belonging to something’.]

The original form was -an, as in urban (Latin urbanus, from urbs, city) and Roman (Latin Romanus, from Roma, Rome). However, many Latin words had an i before the ending (as in meridian, from Latin meridianum, noon; see -i-) and other examples in -ian come from French words in -ien (as in civilian, from Old French civilien) that are derived from Latin. As a result, the usual form is now -ian, though it is truncated to -an if the stem ends in a vowel.

One set is of adjectives that refer to places: Australian, Chicagoan, Indian, Kenyan, Malayan, Nebraskan, Parisian, Puerto Rican, Scandinavian, Tibetan, and so on. Some modify the stem: Glaswegian, Norwegian, Peruvian. Most can also be nouns that identify a person from that place.

Some adjectives derive from individuals' names and refer to a style or characteristic associated with that person. Many examples exist; new ones are created freely according to need. Some examples are Chestertonian, Clintonian, Hogarthian, Johnsonian, Nabokovian, and Orwellian. Some relate to periods of history named after monarchs: Edwardian, Elizabethan, Victorian.

Some personal names appear in adjectives and nouns that refer to systems of thought or belief, the founders of such systems, or their proponents: Copernican, Darwinian, Freudian, Hegelian, Lutheran. Others with related meanings are formed on a variety of stems: Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Puritan, Republican, utopian.

The endings also occur in nouns that denote someone who engages in, uses, or works with whatever is referenced by the stem: comedian, equestrian, historian, pedestrian, sacristan, thespian.

See also -ane2, -arian, -ean,, -enne, -ician, -man, and -woman.

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