-A

-A
1.
suffix forming nouns from Greek, Latin, and Romanic feminine singular, esp.:
1 ancient or Latinized modern names of animals and plants (amoeba; campanula).
2 oxides (alumina).
3 geographical names (Africa).
4 ancient or Latinized modern feminine names (Lydia; Hilda).
2.
suffix forming plural nouns from Greek and Latin neuter plural, esp. names (often from modern Latin) of zoological groups (phenomena; Carnivora).
3.
suffix colloq. sl.
1 of (kinda; coupla).
2 have (mighta; coulda).
3 to (oughta).

* * *

noun suffix (-s)
Etymology: New Latin, probably from originally nonsignificant -a in magnesia, from Medieval Latin -a (in magnesia, alchemical substance), from Greek -a, -ē (in magnēsia, magnēsiē, alchemical substance, magnet), from nominative singular feminine adjectival ending corresponding to nominative singular masculine -os and nominative singular neuter -on

ceria

lanthana

thoria

* * *

-a1
a plural ending of nouns borrowed from Greek and Latin: phenomena; criteria; data; errata; genera.
-a2
a feminine singular ending of nouns borrowed from Latin and Greek, also used in Neo-Latin coinages to Latinize bases of any origin, and as a Latin substitute for the feminine ending -e of Greek words: anabaena; cinchona; pachysandra.
-a3
an ending of personal names forming feminines from masculines: Georgia; Roberta.
[ < L fem. -a (see -A2), as Claudia, fem. of Claudius]
-a4
a suffix designating the oxide of the chemical element denoted by the stem: alumina; ceria; thoria.
[prob. generalized from the -a of MAGNESIA]

* * *

I
suffix forming
1) ancient or Latinized modern names of animals and plants

primula

2) names of oxides

baryta

3) geographical names

Africa

4) ancient or Latinized modern feminine forenames

Lydia

5) nouns from Italian, Portuguese, and Spanish

duenna | stanza

Origin:
representing a Greek, Latin, or Romance feminine singular
II
suffix forming plural nouns
1) from Greek or Latin neuter plurals corresponding to a singular in -um or -on (such as addenda, phenomena.)
2) in names (often from modern Latin) of zoological groups

Protista | Insectivora

III
suffix informal
1) of

coupla

2) have

mighta

3) to

oughta

Origin:
representing a casual pronunciation

* * *

-a, suffix
from various sources.
1. OE. -a (:—early Teut. -o) nom. ending of masc. -n stem nouns, and foreign words associated with them, as ox-a, ass-a (L. asinŏ-), drac-a (L. dracōn-). This -a became in ME. -e, as ox-e, ass-e, drak-e; in mod. E. dropped, or preserved only as a spelling expedient, ox, ass, drake (= dreik). Hence a com. ending of OE. names and titles of men, as in Ida, Ella, Offa, Ceadda (Chad), Bæda (Bede), Bretwalda.
2. Gr. and L. -a, nom. ending of fem. nouns of first decl., some of which have been adopted unchanged, as idea, chimæra, basilica, area, arena, camera, corolla, formula, lamina, peninsula; and esp. Nat. Hist. terms (often med. or mod.L.) as alumina, ammonia, soda; alga, asafœtida, calceolaria, campanula, dahlia, fuchsia, lobelia; hyæna, boa, cicada, salpa, amœba; and geog. as Africa, Asia, Corsica, Malta. Also proper names of women, as Diana, Lydia, Julia, Maria, Aurora, Anna, Ada, Sophia, Victoria; latinized forms of OE. names, as Hilda (Hild), Godiva (Godᵹifu), Elfrida (ælfþryð), Ethelburga (æðelburᵹ); med. or mod. female names formed on male names, as Louis-a, Joann-a, Albert-a, Alexandr-a, Robin-a, Carol-in-a, Georg-in-a, Henri-ett-a. (L. names of women and places remain unchanged, except when the Fr. form has been adopted, as Maria, Marie, Mary; Italia, Italie, Italy; Diana, Diane, Dian (arch.); Eurōpa, Europe; Africa, Afrique, Afric (arch.); Græcia, Grèce, Greece; India, Inde, Ind (arch.); Hispania, Espayne, Spain.)
3. Mod. Rom. (It., Sp., Pg.) -a, ending of fem. nouns, as lava, opera, piazza, regatta, sonata, stanza, tufa, umbrella; armada, flotilla, mantilla, peseta, vanilla; hence in proper names of women, as Isabella, Berengaria, Eva; and occasionally a sex-suffix, as don, donn-a, duenn-a; signor, -a; amoros-o, -a; infant-e, -a; sultan, -a; tzar, tzar-in-a.
4. Gr. and L. -a, plural ending of neuter nouns, some of which have been adopted unchanged, as phenomen-on, -a; strat-um, -a; dat-um, -a; miasma, -ta; genus, gener-a; hence frequent in (mod.) L. plural names of classes of animals, as Mammali-a, Amphibi-a, Crustace-a, Mollusc-a, Protozo-a, Quadruman-a, Cetace-a, Macrur-a, of which the sing. is variously supplied by Mammal, Mollusc, Quadruman, Crustacean, Amphibian, etc.
5. Repr. colloq. or dial. pronunc. of: a. do, as whatta you want? (see whaddaya), etc.; b. have (see a v. b); c. of (see a prep.2 1); d. to, as gotta, oughta, wanna, etc.

Useful english dictionary. 2012.

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