-ness

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-ness suffix expressing state or condition appended to adjs. and pps., in more recent use to prons., advs., and phrs. OE. -nes(s), -nis(s) = OS. -nessi, -nissi (Du. -nis), OHG. -nessi, -nissi, -nassi (G. -nis), Goth. -nassus; f. *-n- (of str. pps.) + *-assus, f. *-atjan verbal suffix (the vowel-variation a e i is unexpl.). A concr. sense is developed in FASTNESS, LIKENESS, WILDERNESS, WITNESS.

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