Meaning of -LE in English



suffix forming nouns, esp.:

1. names of appliances or instruments (handle; thimble).

2 names of animals and plants (beetle; thistle).


The suffix has ceased to be syllabic in fowl, snail, stile.

Etymology: ult. from or repr. OE -el etc. f. Gmc, with many IE cognates 2.

suffix (also -el) forming nouns with (or orig. with) diminutive sense, or -AL (angle; castle; mantle; syllable; novel; tunnel).

Etymology: ME -el, -elle f. OF ult. f. L forms -ellus, -ella, etc. 3.

suffix forming adjectives, often with (or orig. with) the sense 'apt or liable to' (brittle; fickle; little; nimble).

Etymology: ME f. OE -el etc. f. Gmc, corresp. to L -ulus 4.

suffix forming verbs, esp. expressing repeated action or movement or having diminutive sense (bubble; crumple; wriggle).


Examples from OE are handle, nestle, startle, twinkle.

Etymology: OE -lian f. Gmc

Oxford English vocab.      Оксфордский английский словарь.