a suffix occurring in loanwords from Greek denoting a group or unit comprising a certain number, sometimes of years: dyad; triad .
a suffix meaning “derived from,” “related to,” “concerned with,” “associated with” (oread ), introduced in loanwords from Greek (Olympiad; oread ), used sporadically in imitation of Greek models, as Dunciad , after Iliad .

Greek -ad- (stem of -as), specialization of feminine adjective-forming suffix, often used substantively

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variant of -ade1: ballad .


Anatomy, Zoology. a suffix forming adverbs from nouns signifying parts of the body, denoting a direction toward that part: dextrad; dorsad; mediad .

< Latin ad toward, anomalously suffixed to the noun; introduced as a suffix by Scottish anatomist John Barclay (1758–1826) in 1803

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World English Dictionary
suffix forming nouns
1.  a group or unit (having so many parts or members): triad
2.  an epic poem concerning (the subject indicated by the stem): Dunciad
[via Latin from Greek -ad- (plural -ades), originally forming adjectives; names of epic poems are all formed on the model of the Iliad]

suffix forming adverbs
denoting direction towards a specified part in anatomical descriptions: cephalad
[from Latin ad to, towards]

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Word Origin & History

suffix denoting collective numerals (cf. Olympiad), from Gk. -as (gen. -ados), a suffix forming fem. nouns; also used in fem. patronymics (Dryad, Naiad, also, in plural, Pleiades, Hyades).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-ad suff.
In the direction of; toward: cephalad.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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