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-an 1

1. Of, relating to, or resembling: brachyuran.
2. One relating to, belonging to, or resembling: librarian.

[Middle English, from Old French, from Latin -ānus, adj. and n. suff.]

-an 2

1. Unsaturated carbon compound: furan.
2. Anhydride of a carbohydrate: dextran.

[Alteration of -ane.]






1. (forming adjectives and nouns) belonging to or relating to; a person belonging to or coming from: European.
2. (forming adjectives and nouns) typical of or resembling; a person typical of: Elizabethan.
3. (forming adjectives and nouns) adhering to or following; an adherent of: Christian.
4. (forming nouns) a person who specializes or is expert in: dietitian; phonetician.
[from Latin -ānus, suffix of adjectives]


(ən; when stressed æn)

indefinite article.
the form of a 1 before an initial vowel sound(an arch; an honor) and sometimes, esp. in British English, before an initial unstressed syllable beginning with a silent or weakly pronounced h: an historian.
[before 950; Middle English; Old English ān one]
usage: See a1.


(ən; when stressed æn)
the form of a2 before an initial vowel sound: 14 dollars an ounce; 55 miles an hour.
usage: See per.


or an'

(ən; when stressed æn)

'n, 'n',

1. Pron. Spelling. and.
2. Archaic. if.
[1125–75; Middle English, unstressed phonetic variant of and]


a prefix occurring orig. in loanwords from Greek, with the meanings “not,” “without,” “lacking” ( anaerobic; anhydrous; anonymous); regularly attached to words or stems beginning with a vowel or h.Compare a-6.
[< Greek]


var. of ad- before n: announce.


var. of ana- before a vowel: anion.


a suffix with the general sense “of, pertaining to, having qualities of,” occurring orig. in adjectives borrowed from Latin and formed from nouns denoting places ( Roman; urban) or persons ( Augustan), now commonly forming adjectives and nouns denoting affiliation with a place or membership in a group (Chicagoan; crustacean; Episcopalian); attached to personal names, it may additionally mean “contemporary with” (Elizabethan) or “proponent of” (Freudian). The suffix -an1 also occurs in personal nouns denoting one who engages in, practices, or works with the referent of the base word (comedian; electrician; historian). See -ian for relative distribution with that suffix. Compare -arian, -ician.
[Middle English < Latin -ānus; or replacing -ain, -en < Old French < Latin]


a suffix used in the names of organic chemical compounds, esp. polysaccharides: pentosan; xanthan.
[of uncertain orig.]


Chem. Symbol. actinon.


in the year.
[< Latin annō]