What does -ance mean?

-ance meaning in Etymology Dictionary

word-forming element attached with verbs to make abstract nouns of procedure or reality (convergence from converge), or of condition or quality (lack from absent); fundamentally from Latin -antia and -entia, which depended from the vowel into the stem term, from PIE *-nt-, adjectival suffix. As Old French evolved from Latin, they were leveled to -ance, but later on French borrowings from Latin (some of them later passed to English) utilized the appropriate Latin kind of the ending, as performed terms borrowed by English directly from Latin (diligence, absence). English hence inherited a confused size of terms from French and additional puzzled it since c.1500 by rebuilding -ence selectively in certain types of these terms to adjust with Latin. Hence dependant, but autonomy, etc.

-ance meaning in General Dictionary

A suffix signifying action; additionally, quality or state; because, help, weight, appearance, beauty. See -ancy.