- noun-forming suffix, "one connected to, a member of"
Originally forming generic adjectives, such as ὁπλ-ίτης (hopl-ítēs, “one with armour, hoplite”) from ὅπλα (hópla, “armour”); πολ-ίτης (pol-ítēs, “one from the city, citizen”) from πόλις (pólis, “city”).
But by the Hellenistic period, both the masculine -ίτης and the feminine -ῖτις became very productive in forming technical terms for products, diseases, minerals and gems (adjectives with elliptic λίθος (líthos, “stone”)), ethnic designations and Biblical tribal names. These technical uses survive in modern languages in Greek loanwords for diseases (in -itis), for minerals (in -ite) and for nations, tribes or religious sects (plurals in -ites), partly also in common nouns such as hermit.
- Latin: -ītēs