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-ery suffix first occurring (ME. -erie) in adoptions from F. and subsequently used on the analogy of these in formations on various kinds of base. Repr. (O)F. -erie, which arose from the addition of -ie -Y3 to personal designations in -(i)er, -eur, to denote quality, action, or occupation; e.g. archerie ARCHERY (f. archer), chevalerie CHIVALRY (f. chevalier). Such comps. came to be apprehended as directly rel. to the ult. base, as chevalerie to cheval horse; consequently, formations on various kinds of sb. were made; this was extended to adjs. and to vbs.; and the practice was followed in Eng. formations, as drudgery, gunnery, slavery.

The suffix came to be esp. assoc. with -ER1 and -ER2, so that all agent-nouns in -er have actually or potentially a deriv. in -ery, e.g. bookbindery, grocery, joinery, millinery; hence, by extension, in designations of premises, fittings, etc., as bakery, crockery, nursery, scenery, surgery; the pl. -eries is used also beside the sg. in names of wares, as groceries (XVII). Cf. -RY.