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Source : Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

-ous \-ous\ [OF. -ous, us, -os, F. -eux, fr. L. -osus, and -us.
   Cf. {-ose}.]
   1. An adjective suffix meaning full of, abounding in, having,
      possessing the qualities of, like; as in gracious,
      abounding in grace; arduous, full of ardor; bulbous,
      having bulbs, bulblike; riotous, poisonous, piteous,
      joyous, etc.

   2. (Chem.) A suffix denoting that the element indicated by
      the name bearing it, has a valence lower than that denoted
      by the termination -ic; as, nitrous, sulphurous, etc., as
      contrasted with nitric, sulphuric, etc.