Header image of wall of bricks Open menu Close menu


Forming nouns.

Latin words ending in ‑aris, ‑arius, ‑arium, or ‑are, or Old French words ending in ‑aire or ‑ier.

Examples from Latin include altar, bursar, cellar, exemplar, mortar, scholar, and vicar. Examples from Old French include burglar, collar, pillar, poplar, and vinegar. For a few nouns this ending is a variant of ‑er (see ‑er1) or ‑or (see ‑or1 and ‑or2), changed by an accident of spelling history: liar, beggar. Other nouns have this ending by chance, often through an origin in some other language: sugar (from Arabic), guitar (Greek), briar (Old English), fulmar (Old Norse), jaguar (Tupi-Guarani). Others, such as sonar and radar, are acronyms. See also ‑aire and ‑ary1.

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Your comments are very welcome.