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 ).
Compare -itis.

Middle English < Latin -ita < Greek -itēs; often directly < Greek; in some words representing French -ite, German -it, etc. < Latin < Greek, as above

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a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from adjectives, and from some verbs: composite; opposite; erudite; requisite.

< Latin -itus or -ītus past participle suffix

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World English Dictionary
suffix forming nouns
1.  a native or inhabitant of: Israelite
2.  a follower or advocate of; a member or supporter of a group: Luddite; labourite
3.  (in biology) indicating a division of a body or organ: somite
4.  indicating a mineral or rock: nephrite; peridotite
5.  indicating a commercial product: vulcanite
[via Latin -ita from Greek -itēs or directly from Greek]

suffix forming nouns
indicating a salt or ester of an acid having a name ending in -ous: a nitrite is a salt of nitrous acid
[from French, arbitrary alteration of -ate1]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
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American Heritage
Medical Dictionary

-ite 1

  1. A part of an organ, body, or bodily part: somite.

  2. Product: metabolite.

-ite 2
A salt or ester of an acid named with an adjective ending in -ous: sulfite.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
  1. A suffix used to form the names of minerals, such as hematite and malachite.

  2. 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.

The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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