What does the suffix "-ine" mean? How it modifies the meaning of the root word?


  • medicine
  • caffeine
  • bovine
  • 5
    It looks like a typo for in. More context might help, but *back ine isn't English, as far as I know. – snailcar Mar 16 '14 at 18:54
  • 1
    @mok It's not a word - it's a very rarely used suffix, borrowed from French. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 16 '14 at 19:37
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    @mok Outside of chemistry, it's the French feminine version of the Latin suffix -inus, -ina, -inum meaning approximately of the nature of: medicine, pertaining to a medicus, a doctor. It had a vogue for a while in brand names: Brilliantine, Ovaltine. – StoneyB on hiatus Mar 16 '14 at 20:15
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    It is also found in words like porcine, bovine, equine, etc. – Jim Mar 16 '14 at 20:32
  • 3
    This question appears to be off-topic because it is about some kind of transcription error, not a normal or valid English usage. – FumbleFingers Reinstate Monica Mar 16 '14 at 21:59

The suffix -ine for adjectives has a Greek or Latin origin. Reference Dictionary mentions it.

-ine -a suffix means “of or pertaining to,” “of the nature of,” “made of,” “like”: asinine; crystalline; equine; marine.

Furthermore, the suffix -ine for nouns has Greek, Latin or French origin. Explained on the same page of RD.

-ine - a suffix, of no assignable meaning, appearing in nouns of Greek, Latin, or French origin: doctrine; famine; routine.

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