Diminutives; trade names; humorous or dismissive formations.
[Latin words ending in -ola or -ula.]
A few words in this ending come directly from Latin, usually with a diminutive sense: areola (Latin, diminutive of area, area), a small circular area, in particular the ring of pigmented skin surrounding a nipple; cupola (Latin cupula, small cask or burying vault, diminutive of cupa, cask), a rounded dome forming or adorning a roof or ceiling; pergola (Latin pergula, projecting roof, from pergere, come or go forward), an archway in a garden or park.
This diminutive sense may have been the inspiration for various US trade names (Pianola, a mechanical piano; Victrola, a type of phonograph; Moviola, a type of film editing machine; Granola, a kind of breakfast cereal), mostly now generic or obsolete.
From the 1920s in the US the ending began to be added to a variety of nouns and adjectives to make humorous slang terms. Many of these were only temporary, but two of several that have survived are boffola (from slang boff, a hearty laugh), a joke or a line in a script meant to get a laugh, and crapola (from crap, excrement), total rubbish. One that has become standard English is payola, the practice of bribing someone to use their influence or position to promote a particular product, from which have evolved drugola, payola in the form of drugs, and plugola, payment to get favourable mention or display (a plug) for a product in a film or on radio or television. The ending is mainly limited to the US.