I am interested in the the meaning which the suffix '-ory' contributes to words like laboratory, conservatory and lavatory.

I often find if difficult to research prefixes and suffixes, so would be grateful of some input.


The suffix is -ory meaning pertaining to, serving for;often added to words of Latin origin, but used with other words also:

adjective and noun suffix, "having to do with, characterized by, tending to, place for," from Middle English -orie, from Old North French -ory, -orie (Old French -oir, -oire), from Latin -orius, -oria, -orium.


  • Excellent. Thank you. So 'purgatory' and 'refectory' share the same 'residence of the agent or instrument' meaning. – Nigel J Oct 4 '20 at 20:33

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