-an

-an

a suffix occurring originally in adjectives borrowed from Latin, formed from nouns denoting places (Roman; urban ) or persons (Augustan ), and now productively forming English adjectives by extension of the Latin pattern. Attached to geographic names, it denotes provenance or membership (American; Chicagoan; Tibetan ), the latter sense now extended to membership in social classes, religious denominations, etc., in adjectives formed from various kinds of noun bases (Episcopalian; pedestrian; Puritan; Republican ) and membership in zoological taxa (acanthocephalan; crustacean ). Attached to personal names, it has the additional senses “contemporary with” (Elizabethan; Jacobean ) or “proponent of” (Hegelian; Freudian ) the person specified by the noun base. The suffix -an, and its variant -ian also occurs in a set of personal nouns, mainly loanwords from French, denoting one who engages in, practices, or works with the referent of the base noun (comedian; grammarian; historian; theologian ); this usage is especially productive with nouns ending in -ic, (electrician; logician; technician ). See -ian for relative distribution with that suffix.
Compare -enne, -ean, -arian, -ician.


Origin:
Middle English < Latin -ānus, -āna, -ānum; in some words replacing -ain, -en < Old French < Latin

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World English Dictionary
-an, -ean or -ian
 
suffix
1.  (forming adjectives and nouns) belonging to or relating to; a person belonging to or coming from: European
2.  (forming adjectives and nouns) typical of or resembling; a person typical of: Elizabethan
3.  (forming adjectives and nouns) adhering to or following; an adherent of: Christian
4.  (forming nouns) a person who specializes or is expert in: dietitian; phonetician
 
[from Latin -ānus, suffix of adjectives]
 
-ean, -ean or -ian
 
suffix
 
[from Latin -ānus, suffix of adjectives]
 
-ian, -ean or -ian
 
suffix
 
[from Latin -ānus, suffix of adjectives]

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