-a

-a

1
a plural ending of nouns borrowed from Greek and Latin: phenomena; criteria; data; errata; genera.
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-a

2
a feminine singular ending of nouns borrowed from Latin and Greek, also used in Neo-Latin coinages to Latinize bases of any origin, and as a Latin substitute for the feminine ending - ē of Greek words: anabaena; cinchona; pachysandra.

-a

3
an ending of personal names forming feminines from masculines: Georgia; Roberta.

Origin:
< L feminine -a (see -a2), as Claudia, feminine of Claudius

-a

4
a suffix designating the oxide of the chemical element denoted by the stem: alumina; ceria; thoria.

Origin:
probably generalized from the -a of magnesia

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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