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-ant

1.
a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from verbs, occurring originally in French and Latin loanwords (pleasant; constant; servant) and productive in English on this model; -ant, has the general sense “characterized by or serving in the capacity of” that named by the stem (ascendant; pretendant), especially in the formation of nouns denoting human agents in legal actions or other formal procedures (tenant; defendant; applicant; contestant). In technical and commercial coinages, -ant, is a suffix of nouns denoting impersonal physical agents (propellant; lubricant; deodorant). In general, -ant, can be added only to bases of Latin origin, with a very few exceptions, as coolant .
See also -ent.
Origin
< Latin -ant-, present participle stem of verbs in -āre; in many words < French -ant < Latin -ant- or -ent- (see -ent); akin to Middle English, Old English -and-, -end-, present participle suffix
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for -ant

-ant

suffix, suffix
1.
causing or performing an action or existing in a certain condition; the agent that performs an action pleasant, claimant, deodorant, protestant, servant
Word Origin
from Latin -ant-, ending of present participles of the first conjugation
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for -ant

agent or instrumental suffix, from Old French and French -ant, from Latin -antem, accusative of -ans, present participle suffix of many Latin verbs.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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