Meaning of -AN in English

-AN

a suffix occurring originally in adjectives borrowed from Latin, formed from nouns denoting places ( Roman; urban ) or persons ( Augustan ), and now productively forming English adjectives by extension of the Latin pattern. Attached to geographic names, it denotes provenance or membership ( American; Chicagoan; Tibetan ), the latter sense now extended to membership in social classes, religious denominations, etc., in adjectives formed from various kinds of noun bases ( Episcopalian; pedestrian; Puritan; Republican ) and membership in zoological taxa ( acanthocephalan; crustacean ).

Attached to personal names, it has the additional senses "contemporary with" ( Elizabethan; Jacobean ) or "proponent of" ( Hegelian; Freudian ) the person specified by the noun base. The suffix -an , and its variant -ian , also occurs in a set of personal nouns, mainly loanwords from French, denoting one who engages in, practices, or works with the referent of the base noun ( comedian; grammarian; historian; theologian ); this usage is esp. productive with nouns ending in -ic ( electrician; logician; technician ). See -ian for relative distribution with that suffix. Cf. -enne, -ean, -arian, -ician .

[ ME -anus, -ana, -anum; in some words r. -ain, -en ]

Random House Webster's Unabridged English dictionary.      Полный английский словарь Вебстер - Random House .