Definition of -ette in English:

-ette

suffix

  • Forming nouns:
  • 1Denoting relatively small size: kitchenette
  • 2Denoting an imitation or substitute: flannelette
  • 3Denoting female gender: suffragette

Origin

from Old French -ette, feminine of -et1.

Usage

The use of -ette as a feminine suffix for forming new words is relatively recent: it was first recorded in the word suffragette at the beginning of the 20th century and has since been used to form only a handful of well-established words, including usherette and drum majorette, for example. In the modern context, where the tendency is to use words which are neutral in gender, the suffix -ette is not very productive and new words formed using it tend to be restricted to the deliberately flippant or humorous, as, for example, ladette and punkette.

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