What does -ous mean?

-ous meaning in Etymology Dictionary

word-forming element making adjectives from nouns, meaning "having, filled with, relating to, performing, likely to," from Old French -ous, -eux, from Latin -osus (compare -ose (1)). In chemistry, "having a lesser valence than types expressed in -ic."


-ous meaning in General Dictionary

An adjective suffix indicating high in, abounding in, having, having the qualities of, like; such as gracious, abounding in grace; hard, high in ardor; bulbous, having light bulbs, bulblike; riotous, toxic, piteous, joyous, etc.

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  • A suffix denoting the factor suggested by the title bearing it, has a valence below that denoted because of the termination -ic; since, nitrous, sulphurous, etc., as compared with nitric, sulphuric, etc.

-ous meaning in General Dictionary

An adjective suffix indicating full of, abounding in, having, possessing the attributes of, like; such as gracious, abounding in sophistication; arduous, filled with ardor; bulbous, having light bulbs, bulblike; riotous, toxic, piteous, joyous, etc.

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  • A suffix denoting the element indicated by the name bearing it, features a valence less than that denoted because of the termination -ic; since, nitrous, sulphurous, etc., as contrasted with nitric, sulphuric, etc.

Sentence Examples with the word -ous

Carbonic acid; if two, the one containing the less amount of oxygen takes the termination -ous and the other the termination -ic, e.g.

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