-ant

a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from verbs, occurring originally in French and Latin loanwords (pleasant; constant; servant) and productive in English on this model; -ant has the general sense "characterized by or serving in the capacity of" that named by the stem (ascendant; pretendant), esp. in the formation of nouns denoting human agents in legal actions or other formal procedures (tenant; defendant; applicant; contestant). In technical and commercial coinages, -ant is a suffix of nouns denoting impersonal physical agents (propellant; lubricant; deodorant). In general, -ant can be added only to bases of Latin origin, with a very few exceptions, as coolant. See also -ent.
[ < L -ant-, prp. s. of verbs in -are; in many words < F -ant < L -ant- or -ent- (see -ENT); akin to ME, OE -and-, -end-, prp. suffix]

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Universalium. 2010.

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