a suffix of nouns denoting esp. persons associated with a place, tribe, leader, doctrine, system, etc. (Campbellite; Israelite; laborite); minerals and fossils (ammonite; anthracite); explosives (cordite; dynamite); chemical compounds, esp. salts of acids whose names end in -ous (phosphite; sulfite); pharmaceutical and commercial products (vulcanite); a member or component of a part of the body (somite). Cf. -itis.
a suffix forming adjectives and nouns from adjectives, and from some verbs: composite; opposite; erudite; requisite.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.