Word roots, prefixes and suffixes:

 A root is a simple form of a word, or a part of a word, without any prefix or suffix. A prefix is a word fragment added in front of a word (e.g., bi-, pre-, un-). A suffix is a word fragment added at the end of a word (e.g., -hood, -less, -y). Combining roots with prefixes and suffixes produces new words. For example, prefix un- + root able = new word unable; root able + suffix -y = new word ably.

     Breaking a word down into root, prefix, and suffix might help you determine its literal meaning. Many English words were borrowed from Greek and Latin. It is a good idea to learn the meaning of common roots, prefixes and suffixes, as this could help you deduce the meaning of new and unfamiliar words.

Greek Root Words

          The table below defines and illustrates 25 of the most common Greek roots

.

RootMeaningExamples  
antiagainst  antibacterial, antidote, antithesis
ast(er)Star*  asteroid, astronomy, astronaut
aquwater  aquarium, aquatic, aqualung
autoselfautomatic, automate, autobiography
bibliobook  bibliography, bibliophile
biolife  biography, biology, biodegradable
chromecolor  monochromatic, phytochrome
chronotime  chronic, synchronize, chronicle
docteach  document, docile, doctrinal
dynapower  dynasty, dynamic, dynamite
geoearth  geography, geology, geometry
gnoto know  agnostic, acknowledge
graphwrite  autograph, graphic, demographic
hydrawater  dehydrate, hydrant, hydropower
kinesismovement  kinetic, photokinesis
logosword, study  astrology, biology, theologian
narcsleep  narcotic, narcolepsy
pathfeel  empathy, pathetic, apathy
phillove  philosophy, bibliophile, philanthropy
phonsound  microphone, phonograph, telephone
photolight  photograph, photocopy, photon
schemplan  scheme, schematic
syntogether, with  synthetic, photosynthesis
telefar  telescope, telepathy, television
troposturning  heliotrope, tropical

Latin Root Words

          The table below defines and illustrates 25 of the most common Latin roots.

RootMeaningExamples  
Ab  to move awayabstract, abstain, aversion
Acer,  Acribitteracrid, acrimony, exacerbate
Audi  hearaudible, audience, auditorium
Bene  goodbenefit, benign, benefactor
Brev  shortabbreviate, brief
Circ  roundcircus, circulate, circle
Dict  saydictate, edict, dictionary
Duc  lead, makededuce, produce, educate
Fund  bottomfounder, foundation, funding
Gen  to birthgene, generate, generous
Hab  to haveability, exhibit, inhabit
Jur  lawjury, justice, justify
Lev  to liftlevitate, elevate, leverage
log, loguethoughtlogic, apologize, analogy
luc, lumlightlucid, illuminate, translucent
Manu  handmanual, manicure, manipulate
mis, mitsendmissile, transmit, permit
Omni  allomnivorous, omnipotent, omniscient
Pac  peacepacify, pacific, pacifist
Port  carryexport, import, important
Quit  silent, restivetranquil, requiem, acquit
scrib, scriptto writescript, proscribe, describe
Sens  to feelsensitive, sentient, resent
Terr  earthterrain, territory, extraterrestrial
Tim  to feartimid, timorous
Vac  emptyvacuum, vacate, evacuate
vid, vis  to seevideo, vivid, invisible
 Greek PrefixMeaningExamples
a, anwithout, notasexual, amoral, anarchy, anhydrous, Anabaptist, anachronism  
ab, abs, aapart, away fromabnormal, abduct, abductor (muscle), abscission  
Adtowardadhere, adductor (muscle)  adumbrate  
Agreeactagent, agency, agenda  
amphi, ambiround, both sidesamphitheater, amphibian, ambidextrous, ambivalent  
Antebeforeantedate, anteroom, antecedent, anterior  
Anthromananthropology, anthropomorphic  
Antiagainstantipathy, antitank, anticlimax  
Aquawateraquarium, aqueous  
archaiosancientarcheology, archetype, archaic, archeozoic  
Archosleader, first, chiefmonarchy, oligarchy, anarchy, archetype, architect  
Audiohearaudiophile, audiometer, auditory  
Autoselfautomatic, automaton, auto-immune  
Bitwobi-partisan, bisexual, biennial, binary, bicuspid, bivalve  
Benewell, favorablebenefit, benevolent, benefactor, beneficent  
Biblebookbibliography, Bible, bibliophile  
Biolifebiology, biography, bio-active  
CacoBadCacophony  
Cidekillhomicide, parricide, germicidal, ecocide  
Circumaroundcircumference, circumlocution,  circumnavigate
constitutusstandconstitution, statute  
Corpusbodycorpse, corporeal punishment, corpus callosum  
Cracyruledemocracy, theocrat, technocracy  
Credobeliefcredit,  
Demospeopledemocracy, demographic  
Ditwo, doubledimorphism, dicotyledon, diatomic  
Diaacross, throughdiagonal, dialectic, dialogue, diagnosis  
Disnot, apartdisperse, disinherit, disenfranchise, distend  
dominuslorddominant, dominion  
dynasthaibe abledynamic, dynamo, dynasty, dynamite  
EgoI, selfego, egomaniac, egocentric,  
Epiupon, overepidermis, epidemic, epigram, epitaph, epithet, epiphyte, epistasis,  epinephrine, epiphysis
Exoutexotic, exterior, extraneous, extemporaneous, exophalmic, exogenous, exothermic, exoskeleton
federisleague, pactfederation, confederate  
Fraterbrotherfraternize, fraternity, fraternal, fratricide  
Geoearthgeology, geography, geocentric, geomancy
graphwrite, recordgraphic, graphite, graphology,  
Heteromixed, unlikeheterogeneous, heterosexual, heterodox, heterodont, hetero atom, heterocyclic, heterozygous,
Homosame, alikehomogeneous, homogenized, homozygous, homolytic fission, Homo sapiens, homonid, homeostasis
Idemthe sameidentity, idiopathic, I, individual  
Ideoideaideology, ideation, ideal  
Idiosone’s ownidiom, idiosyncrasy, idiopathic  
Ininincarcerate, incorporate, inculcate, induction, inductance, indigenous, indicator, inspiration
in, imnotincredible, ignoble, inglorious, inhospitable, infinite, infinitesimal, immoral
InterbetweenInteract, interstellar, interpret, interstitial. Interfere
legis (lex)lawlegal, legislature  
Lexiswordlexicon, lexicography, lexcographer  
Liberfree, bookliberty, library, liberal  
Locusplacelocality, local, circumlocution  
Macrolargemacroeconomics, macroscopic, macrophage
maniaobsessionmaniac, Beatlemania  
Metermeasuremetronome, speedometer, odometer  
Microsmallmicroscope, micron, micrometer, microorganism  
mittere, mittosendmission, transmit, remit  
monoone, singlemonocle, monopoly, monogamy, monovalent, monomania, monarchy
mortisdeathmortician, mortuary, moribund, morbid  
nomennamenoble, ignominy, nomenclature, nominal  
oligfewoligarchy, oligopoly  
paterfatherpaternal, paternity, patricide  
pedfootpedestrian, pedal, pedicure, podiatrist  
Periaroundperipatetic, periscope, perineum, peritoneum
Phageeatphagocyte, phagocytosis  
Philolovephilosophy, philanthropy  
poleinsellMonopoly  
poliscitypolitical, metropolitan  
polymanypolygamy, polyphonic, polyclinic, polytechnic
portocarryporter, export  
postafterpost script (p.s.), post metric, post lunch, postbox   post-mortem
prebeforepremier, preview, premium, prescient  
probefore, in favor ofproject, projectile,  
psychemind, soulPsychology  
publicuspeoplepublic, republic, pub, publican  
ripariariverRiparian  
scopeexaminemicroscope, oscilloscope  
scribewritetranscribe, scribe, script, scriber  
solalonesolo, solitary  
subterunder, secretsubterfuge, subtle, subaltern, subterranean
syntogether, withsynchronize, symphony, sympathy, syncretic, syncope
teledistancetelegraph, telephone, teleology  
transacrosstransport, transcend, transmogrify  
utilisusefulutility, utilitarian  
vide, visibil, visseevideo, vision, visible

Greek and Latin Suffixes

Greek and Latin SuffixesMeaningExamples
able, ibleable, capablecapable, agreeable, edible, visible  
aderesult of actionBlockade  
ageact of, state of, result ofstorage, wreckage, damage  
alrelating togradual, manual, natural  
algiapainneuralgia, nostalgia, myalgia  
an, iannative of, relating toAfrican, riparian, American, indian  
ance, ancyaction, process, stateassistance, allowance, defiance  
ary, ery, oryrelating to, quality, place whereaviary, bravery, dormitory  
cianpossessing a specific skill or artmagician, physician,  
cyaction, functionhesitancy, prophecy, normalcy  
cule, lingvery smallmolecule, ridicule, animalcule, duckling, sapling
domquality, realmfreedom, kingdom, wisdom  
eeone who receives the actionrefugee, nominee, lessee  
enmade of, to makesilken, frozen, wooden  
ence, encyaction, state of, qualitydifference, confidence, urgency, agency  
er, orone who, that whichbaker, miller, professor  
escentin the process ofadolescent, senescence, putrescence  
esea native of, the language ofJavanese, Japanese, Balinese  
esis, osisaction, process, conditiongenesis, hypnosis, neurosis, osmosis  
ess goddess, lioness, actress  
et, ette midget, baronet, sextet, lorgnette  
ficfemalescientific, specific  
fulsmall one, groupfrightful, careful, helpful  
fymakebeautify, fortify, simplify  
hoodorder, condition, qualitymanhood, adulthood  
icnature of, likemetallic, acidic, bucolic, simplistic  
icecondition, state, qualityjustice, malice  
id, idea thing connected with or belonging tofluid, fluoride, bromide  
ilerelating to, suited for, capable ofjuvenile, senile, purile, missile  
inenature offeminine, genuine, medicine  
ion, sion, tionact, result, or state ofcancellation, contagion, infection, crenellation
ishorigin, nature, resemblingfoolish, Irish, clownish, impish  
ismsystem, manner, condition, characteristicalcoholism, communism, capitalism,  
istone who, that whichartist, dentist, flautist  
itenature of, quality of, mineral productprelate, Mennonite, dynamite, graphite, Israelite
ity, tystate of, qualitycelebrity, captivity, clarity, poverty  
ivecausing, makingabusive, exhaustive, abortive  
ize, isemakeemphasize, exercise, bowdlerize, bastardize, idolize, fanaticize
logystudy, science, theorybiology, anthropology, geology, neurology
   
lylike, manner ofcarelessly, fearlessly, hopelessly  
mentact of, state or, resultcontainment, contentment, amendment  
nessstate ofcarelessness, restlessness  
nomylawautonomy, economy, taxonomy  
oidresemblingasteroid, spheroid, rhomboid, anthropoid
ousfull of, havinggracious, nervous, pompous,  
shipstate of, office, qualityassistantship, friendship, authorship  
somelike, apt, tending tolonesome, lissome, threesome, gruesome
tudestate of, condition ofgratitude, aptitude, multitude  
urestate of, act, process, rankculture, literature, rupture, rapture  
wardin the direction ofeastward, downward, backward  
yinclined to, tend tocheery, crafty, faulty  

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