a suffix with the general sense “of the kind of, pertaining to, having the form or character of” that named by the stem, occurring in loanwords from Latin (autumnal; natural; pastoral ), and productive in English on the Latin model, usually with bases of Latin origin (accidental; seasonal; tribal ). Originally, -al1 was restricted to stems not containing an -l- (cf. ar-1. ); recent lapses in this rule have produced semantically distinct pairs, as familiar and familial.
Compare -ical, -ial.

< Latin ālis, -āle; often replacing Middle English -el < Old French

Dictionary.com Unabridged


a suffix forming nouns from verbs, usually verbs of French or Latin origin: denial; refusal.

< Latin -āle (singular), -ālia (plural), nominalized neuter of -ālis -al1; often replacing Middle English -aille < Old French < Latin -ālia


Chemistry. a suffix indicating that a compound contains an aldehyde group: chloral.

presumed to be short for aldehyde

Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To -al
World English Dictionary
suffix forming adjectives
of; related to; connected with: functional; sectional; tonal
[from Latin -ālis]

suffix forming nouns
the act or process of doing what is indicated by the verb stem: rebuttal; recital; renewal
[via Old French -aille, -ail, from Latin -ālia, neuter plural used as substantive, from -ālis-al1]

suffix forming nouns
1.  indicating an aldehyde: ethanal
2.  indicating a pharmaceutical product: phenobarbital
[shortened from aldehyde]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

suffix forming adjectives from nouns or other adjectives, "of, like, related to," M.E. -al, -el, from O.Fr. or directly from L. -alis (see -al (2)).

suffix forming nouns of action from verbs, mostly from Latin and French, meaning "act of ______ing" (e.g. survival, removal), M.E. -aille, from Fr. fem. sing. -aille, from L. -alia, neut. pl. of adj. suffix -alis, also used in English as a noun suffix. Nativized in English and used with Germanic verbs
(e.g. bestowal, betrothal).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-al 3
Aldehyde: butyral.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Cite This Source
Nearby Words
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature