Where does the suffix -tine come from? For e.g., Ovaltine, Creatine, etc. all have a -tine suffix. What is the meaning connoted to the noun attached?

  • Check this out english.stackexchange.com/questions/80428/… – Androiderson Jan 28 '13 at 18:34
  • @AndersonSilva that's a different -ine from Latin -ina rather than Latin -inus. – Jon Hanna Jan 28 '13 at 18:37
  • 2
    I don't consider this question a dupe. – coleopterist Jan 28 '13 at 18:45
  • Is this a topical question because Valentine's Day is coming soon? – GEdgar Jan 28 '13 at 18:58
  • Easily answered by Googling etymology creatine. – Hot Licks Jun 25 '16 at 1:28

It's not -tine, but rather -ine, from the Latin -inus, in turn from the Greek -inos, meaning "of", "pertaining to", "made from" or "similar to".

Ovaltine < Ovomaltine < Ovo (Latin: egg) + malt + -ine.

Creatine < kreat- (Greek: stem of kreas) + -ine.


While Ovaltine is a brand (with an interesting history) of health drink, the supplement Creatine, technically isn't in itself a brand. It's the name of an amino acid which can help build muscle-mass. Furthermore, proteins are made up of combinations of amino acids. All these -tines and -ines lend an air of scientific reliability to brand names which like to tack them on at the end. That said, a number of these products do tend to be health-oriented and often actually are full of protein.

Etymonline provides the following explanation for the -ine suffix often seen in Chemistry:

chemical suffix, sometimes -in, though modern use distinguishes them; early 19c., from French -ine, from Latin -ina, fem. form of suffix used to form adjectives from nouns. In French commonly used to form words for derived substances, hence its extended use in chemistry.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.