Bearing or carrying.
[Latin ferre, to carry or bear.]
Nouns include conifer (Latin conus, cone, so cone-bearing); crucifer (Latin crux, cruc-, a cross), a type of plant having four petals arranged in the shape of a cross; umbellifer (Latin umbella, parasol, from the shape of the flowers), a plant of the parsley family. A rare example created in English is aquifer (Latin aqua, water, so ‘water-bearing’), a body of permeable rock that can contain or transmit groundwater.
Verbs in -fer are usually figurative: transfer (from trans, across, so literally to carry across); defer and differ (both from Latin dis-, apart); and confer (Latin con-, together).
The form is not active in the language.
Some words derive from accidents of spelling: duffer, an incompetent or stupid person, is from Scots dowfart, a stupid person; gaffer, a person in charge of others, is probably a contraction of godfather or grandfather. Others are from stems ending in f that contain the suffix -er1 (as in golfer from golf).