a suffix of nouns denoting especially persons associated with a place, tribe, leader, doctrine, system, etc. (Campbellite; Israelite; laborite); minerals and fossils (ammonite; anthracite); explosives (cordite; dynamite); chemical compounds, especially salts of acids whose names end in -ous (phosphite; sulfite); pharmaceutical and commercial products (vulcanite); a member or component of a part of the body (somite).
A suffix used to form the names of minerals, such as hematite and malachite.
A suffix used to form the name of a salt or ester of a specified acid whose name ends in -ous. Such salts or esters have one oxygen atom fewer than corresponding salts or esters with names ending in -ate. For example, a nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid and contains the group NO2, while a nitrate contains NO3. Compare -ate.