-ence

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-ence suffix — (O)F. — L. -entia, f. -ent- -ENT with abstr. suffix. In popL. -entia was superseded by -antia, repr. in OF. by -ance, e.g. aparance APPEARANCE, contenance COUNTENANCE. Later, L. sbs. in -ntia were adopted in F. with the L. vowels, e.g. absence, élégance, présence, and both classes were adopted in ME. with their F. forms and meanings; but in early mod. Eng. some sbs. in -ance have been altered back to -ence, and all sbs. adopted since have followed the L. forms. The result is that mod. spelling shows many variations, e.g. assistance, existence, resistance, subsistence.