a suffix occurring originally in loanwords from Classical and Medieval Latin, on adjectives (elementary; honorary; stationary; tributary ), personal nouns (actuary; notary; secretary ), or nouns denoting objects, especially receptacles or places (library; rosary; glossary ). The suffix has the general sense “pertaining to, connected with” the referent named by the base; it is productive in English, sometimes with the additional senses “contributing to,” “for the purpose of,” and usually forming adjectives: complimentary; visionary; revolutionary; inflationary.

Middle English -arie < Latin -ārius, -a, -um; E personal nouns reflect -ārius, objects and places -ārium or -āria; inherited and adopted French forms of this suffix are -er2, -eer, -ier2, -aire; cf. -er1

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World English Dictionary
1.  (forming adjectives) of; related to; belonging to: cautionary; rudimentary
2.  (forming nouns)
 a.  a person connected with or engaged in: missionary
 b.  a thing relating to; a place for: commentary; aviary
[from Latin -ārius,-āria,-ārium]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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Word Origin & History

adj. and n. suffix, in most cases from L. -arius, -arium "connected with, pertaining to, the man engaged in." IT appears in words borrowed from L. in M.E. In later borrowings from Latin to French, it became -aire and passed into M.E. as -arie, subsequently -ary.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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