suffix in pet proper names (e.g. Johnny
), first recorded in Scottish, c.1400; became frequent in Eng. 15c.-16c. Extension to surnames seems to date from c.1940. Use with common nouns seems to have begun in Scot. with laddie (1546) and become
popular in Eng. due to Burns' poems, but the same formation appears to be represented much earlier in baby
noun suffix, in army
, etc., from O.Fr. -e, L. -atus, -atum, pp. suffix of verbs of the first conjugation. In victory
, etc. it represents L. -ia, Gk. -ia.
adj. suffix, "full of or characterized by," from O.E. -ig, from P.Gmc. *-iga (cf. Ger. -ig), cognate with Gk. -ikos, L. -icus.