a noun suffix having restricted application in various fields, as in names of diseases (malaria; anemia ), place names (Italia; Romania ), names of Roman feasts (Lupercalia ), Latin or Latinizing plurals (Amphibia; insignia; Reptilia ), and in other loanwords from Latin (militia ).

< Neo-Latin, Latin, Greek, equivalent to -i- (formative or connective) or -ī- (Greek -ei-) + -a, feminine singular or neuter plural noun or adj. ending

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World English Dictionary
suffix forming nouns
1.  occurring in place names: Albania; Columbia
2.  occurring in names of diseases and pathological disorders: pneumonia; aphasia
3.  occurring in words denoting condition or quality: utopia
4.  occurring in names of botanical genera: acacia; poinsettia
5.  occurring in names of zoological classes: Reptilia
6.  occurring in collective nouns borrowed from Latin: marginalia; memorabilia; regalia
[(for senses 1--4) New Latin, from Latin and Greek, suffix of feminine nouns; (for senses 5--6) from Latin, neuter plural suffix]

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

suffix forming names of countries, diseases, flowers, from L. and Gk. -ia, which forms abstract nouns of fem. gender. In paraphernalia, Mammalia, etc. it represents the L. and Gk. plural suffix of nouns in -ium or -ion.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-ia 1
Disease; pathological or abnormal condition: anoxia.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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