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a combination of -ate1. and -or2. that forms nouns corresponding to verbs ending in -ate1, ,denoting a human agent (agitator; mediator; adjudicator) or nonhuman entity, especially a machine (incubator; regulator; vibrator) performing the function named by the verb.
Compare -tor, -or2 .
Origin of -ator
< Latin -ātor, orig. not a suffix, but the termination of nouns formed with -tor -tor from verbs whose stems ended in -ā-; in English, Latin loanwords ending in -ātor have been reanalyzed as derivatives of the past participles in -tus (see -ate1) and a suffix -or (see -or2), and many new English nouns derived from English verbs based on Latin past participles (e.g., vibrator from vibrate) Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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British Dictionary definitions for -ator


a person or thing that performs a certain action: agitator, escalator, radiator
Word Origin
from Latin -ātor; see -ate1-or1
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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