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Also ‑ry and ‑erie.

Forming nouns.

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.

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