-le1 Also -el.
[Either from Old English, or from Middle English -el, -elle (partly from Old English and partly from Old French words based on Latin forms).]
One group, from Old English, contains the names of agents or instruments: handle, saddle, shuttle, sickle, thimble, whistle; less commonly it is used for animals and plants, or parts of them: apple, beetle, bramble, bristle, cockle.
A second set either have or originally had a diminutive sense: castle (a diminutive of Latin castrum, a fort), cobble (from cob, a rounded lump), girdle (probably from gird), nozzle (from nose), puddle (from Old English pudd, a ditch or furrow).
In some cases, the older form -el has been retained where the rules of English spelling and pronunciation do not permit the change to -le after certain letters: satchel, angel, kennel, kestrel, bushel, brothel, shovel. See also -rel.
The suffix is not used to make new words.