a suffix formerly used to form transitive and intransitive verbs from adjectives (fasten; harden; sweeten ), or from nouns (heighten; lengthen; strengthen ).

Middle English, Old English -n- (as in Middle English fast-n-en, Old English fǣst-n-ian to make fast, fasten); cognate with -n- of like verbs in other Gmc languages (Old Norse fastna)

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a suffix used to form adjectives of source or material from nouns: ashen; golden; oaken.

Middle English, Old English; cognate with Old High German -īn, Gothic -eins, Latin -īnus; see -ine1


a suffix used to mark the past participle in many strong and some weak verbs: taken; proven.

Middle English, Old English; cognate with German -en, Old Norse -inn


a suffix used in forming the plural of some nouns: brethren; children; oxen.

Middle English; Old English -an, case ending of n-stem nouns, as in naman oblique singular, and nominative and accusative plural of nama name; akin to n-stem forms in other IE languages, as in Latin nōmen, nōmin- name


a diminutive suffix: kitten; maiden.

Middle English, Old English, from neuter of -en2

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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
suffix forming verbs
cause to be; become; cause to have: blacken; heighten
[Old English -n-, as in fæst-n-ian to fasten, of common Germanic origin; compare Icelandic fastna]

suffix forming adjectives
of; made of; resembling: ashen; earthen; wooden
[Old English -en; related to Gothic -eins, Latin -īnus-ine1]

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

suffix forming verbs (e.g. darken, weaken), from adjectives or from nouns, from O.E. -nian, from P.Gmc. *-inojan. Mostly active in M.E.

suffix added to nouns to produce adjectives meaning made of, of the nature of (e.g. golden, oaken), corresponding to L. -ine. Common in O.E. and M.E., surviving words with it now are largely discarded in everyday use and the simple form of the noun serves as an adjective as well.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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