Ette: The Suffering Suffix

“Ette,” that French-born diminutive suffix, oft maligned as patronizing and sexist, is most often appended to nouns whose referents have been shrunk, imitated, or as frequently, feminized – for example, respectively, cigar to cigarette, leather to leatherette and ranger to rangerette. Ette’s critics suggest that the suffix merely modifies “masculine” words and by so doing…