Does the term 'dition' has any meaning by itself or where does it derive from?

It could be found for example in many English words, like edition, addition, expedition or extradition.

4 Answers 4


As jlovegren mentions, the suffix is -ition, not -dition. In fact, this is a specific case of the more general suffix -ion. In Latin, the suffix -ion generally makes nouns of action from verbs, and most of the earlier English words with variants of this suffix came from Latin or French originally. Whether the form of the suffix was -ition, -ation, etc. depended on the characteristics of the Latin verb. Nouns with -ition, for example, tend to be those where the Latin verb had a past participal form with -it- - e.g. AUDIRE --> AUDITUM --> AUDITION; ADDERE --> ADDITUM --> ADDITION.

So, in answer to your question, -ition (or -ation, -tion, -ion etc.) doesn't have a meaning, as such. Instead it has a grammatical role, as a suffix which usually turns a verbal stem into a noun of action. It developed to perform this function with native English verbs as well as Latin ones. Examples not from Latin include FLIRT --> FLIRTATION, and STARVE --> STARVATION.

  • just to illustrate: translatum -> translation, inventum -> invention Nov 18, 2012 at 9:59

The short answer is: no. This sequence of letters comes from various roots, and it even cuts right through some of them, like -ped- below. It is not a suffix, but merely a sequence of letters. What those words do have in common etymologically is -t-ion, which is in all cases a combination of the same two suffixes -t- and -ion-.

In ex-ped-i-t-ion, it comes from Latin pes, stem ped-, meaning "foot". The original sense of the verb ex-ped-i-o was "to get the foot out of [a snare]" (-i- is here a suffix that can turn a noun into a verb). Hence it came to connote a certain sense of (increased) movement or speed. It was already used with various similar connotations in Latin: expedio also meant roughly "to expedit".

The suffix -t- is used to form a past participle out of a verbal stem.

The suffix -io(n-) is generally added to the stem of a past participle (here ex-ped-i-t-) to form a noun of action or result: the act of expediting, or the result of expediting.

In your other examples, -di-t-ion comes from the Latin verb do, verbal stem da-, past participle da-t-us/-di-t-us, participial stem da-t-/-di-t-, meaning "give". In compound words, do also means simply "put" or "set".

In an e-di-t-ion, you give out your book to the public (Dutch uit-geven, "to give out, to publish"): Latin e(x) = "out".

In ex-tra-di-t-ion, you give someone out from your own group to the other side/party: from ex-tra = "on the outside", which is short for extra parte, "on the out-side", from the adjective ex-ter = "out", stem ex-tr-, from ex and the adjectival suffix -ter/-tr-).

In ad-di-t-ion, you give or place a certain something next to something else, as in adding something to a sum: from ad = "to, at".

But there are other words where it comes from yet other stems:

In sed-i-t-ion, it comes from se(d)- = "apart, away", plus eo = "to go", present stem e-/i-, plus the participial suffix -t-: "a going away (from a group), a rebellion".

Related question: Word formation with the nominal suffix -tion: when and why do we insert an “a”?

  • Cerberus, what do you mean when you say "it comes from do"?
    – Berthilde
    Nov 14, 2012 at 18:36
  • @Berthilde: The verb do, meaning "give", is the etymon. Do is the first person singular indicative, which form is normally used to name verbs in Latin as you find them in a dictionary (where English uses the to + infinitive).
    – Cerberus
    Nov 14, 2012 at 22:01
  • Yes, I understood that bit, but I'm a little confused - what is it that "comes from do"?
    – Berthilde
    Nov 15, 2012 at 9:47
  • @Berthilde: Ah OK, "it" was -dition. I've made that bit a bit clearer.
    – Cerberus
    Nov 15, 2012 at 19:39
  • 1
    I think we broadly agree. Basically, do plays no particular part in the creation of gerundial endings in English - it just happens that Latin verbs that consist etymologically of a prefix plus do have -dit- in their past participle and therefore will generally end with -dition in their English gerund form, where others will end in -ation or -dation, or whatever.//Yes, sorry - I should have specified in my first sentence that I meant the English gerund, not the Latin gerund.
    – Berthilde
    Nov 16, 2012 at 16:05

In all of the cited words the /d/ is part of the original Latin root:

edere: to edit

addere: to add

expedire: set free

tradere: to hand over

All of these can be nominalized with a suffix -itio(n) (e.g., editio (nom.), editionis (gen.) editionem (acc.))

  • Can this suffix be traced back to PIE? Nov 2, 2012 at 20:23
  • 3
    @OtavioMacedo interesting question. I'm not an IE-ist, so it might be interesting to pose it as a separate question and see what we can learn from the community.
    – user483
    Nov 2, 2012 at 21:52
  • @OtavioMacedo Yes, I it is from *deh₃- "give" + *-ti- "(nominalizer)" Nov 3, 2012 at 0:04
  • @OtavioMacedo Will you pose that question? :D
    – Alenanno
    Nov 3, 2012 at 11:33
  • 1
    Yes, @Alenanno, Mark has already answered, even though my fingers are itching to ask where did that -ti- come from. But I think that's too far back in time to have a precise answer. Nov 3, 2012 at 17:36

Merriam Webster lists Dition as an obsolete middle french word from the Latin dicion or dicio, a command word related to Dominion or Rule: https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/dition?utm_campaign=sd&utm_medium=serp&utm_source=jsonld.

In that case:

ex - meaning "out of" or "from" / ped - on foot / Dition - to rule or claim dominion

this expresses far better the difference in connotation the word expedition has held historically from the word expedite.

  • 2
    This is an interesting finding in itself, but it does not answer the question giving explicit examples where -dition has a different origin. Sep 19, 2018 at 13:08

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