-ator repr. L. -ātor, suffix combining -TOR with vb.-stems in -ā- and forming agent-nouns, e.g. creātor, dictātor, spectātor. The earliest of such sbs. were first adopted in OF. form with -atour. From XVI modL. formations such as denominator and numerator appear. From XVII the suffix began to be used for names of instruments, e.g. perambulator, and in anat., e.g. levator; but such formations were not common till early XIX, since when they have become fairly numerous as names of implements and machines, e.g. detonator, elevator, escalator, generator, refrigerator, ventilator.
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