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-ous

1.
a suffix forming adjectives that have the general sense “possessing, full of” a given quality (covetous; glorious; nervous; wondrous); -ous, and its variant -ious, have often been used to Anglicize Latin adjectives with terminations that cannot be directly adapted into English (atrocious; contiguous; garrulous; obvious; stupendous). As an adjective-forming suffix of neutral value, it regularly Anglicizes Greek and Latin adjectives derived without suffix from nouns and verbs; many such formations are productive combining forms in English, sometimes with a corresponding nominal combining form that has no suffix;
2.
a suffix forming adjectival correspondents to the names of chemical elements; specialized, in opposition to like adjectives ending in -ic, to mean the lower of two possible valences (stannous chloride, SnCl 2 , and stannic chloride SnCl 4).
Origin
Middle English < Anglo-French, Old French < Latin -ōsus; a doublet of -ose1
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Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for -ous

-ous

suffix
1.
having, full of, or characterized by dangerous, spacious, languorous
2.
(in chemistry) indicating that an element is chemically combined in the lower of two possible valency states ferrous, stannous Compare -ic (sense 2)
Word Origin
from Old French, from Latin -ōsus or -us, Greek -os, adj suffixes
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin and History for -ous
-ous
suffix forming adjectives from nouns, meaning "having, full of, having to do with, doing, inclined to," from O.Fr. -ous, -eux, from L. -osus.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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-ous in Medicine

-ous suff.

  1. Possessing; full of; characterized by: filamentous.

  2. Having a valence lower than that of a specified element in compounds or ions named with adjectives ending in -ic: ferrous.

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