Common Latin and Greek Roots and Terms

(copied from http://www.geocities.com/capecanaveral/hangar/7594/roots.html on April 22, 2007 to get away from an excruciating background pattern)

The following is a list of Latin and Greek roots and terms. In the medical field, you will often come by medical terms that bear these roots and terms. It is therefore sometimes important to recognize the meanings of prefixes and suffixes that are found in scientific words. You'll most likely understand them better by knowing the meanings of such prefixes and suffixes.


Latin Terms and Roots


Greek Terms and Roots


Index

B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


A

a-,an-
not, without (abiogenesis, anamniote)
acanth-
thorn (acantha, Acanthias, acantho)
aer-
air (aerobe, anaerobic, anaerobiosis)
-agogue
carrying away, drive out (cholagogue, chloragogue)
all-
other (allergy, allometric)
allelon-
of one another (allele, allelomorphic, parallel)
amph-
both, on both sides (amphiaster, amphibian, amphoteric)
amyl-
starch (amylase, amylopsin, paramylum)
ana-
up, back, anew, again (anabolism, anaphase)
andr-
man (adrogen, gynander)
anth-
flower (anther, Anthozoa, Helianthus)
anthrop-
man (anthropology, anthropoid, Pithecanthropus)
anti-
opposite, against (antiseptic, antigen, antibody)
apo-
from, off from (aponeurosis, apochromatic)
arch-
beginning, primitive, ancient (archenteron, Archeopteryx)
argyr-
silver (argyrol, argyrophil)
arthron
joint (Arthropod, arthritis, arthrodial, arthrosis)
asc-
bottle, bag, bladder (Ascidian, ascon, Ascomycetes, ascus)
-ase
suffix to word denoting substrate and signifying an enzyme acting on that substrate (zymase, sucrase)
aster, astr-
star (amphiaster, Asterias, astrocyte)
auto-
self (autonomic, auto-intoxication)
aux-
growth, increase (auxin, auxospore)
axon
same (axocyte, axonal)

Back to Index


B

bacter-, bactr-
same (bacterium)
basidi-
pedestal (basidium, Basidiomycetes, basidiospore)
basil-
king, royal, important (basilic, Basiliscus)
basis, -es
base, bottom (basilar, basipodite)
bath-, bathy-
depth or height (Bathornis, bathysphere)
blast-
bud, sprout, germ (blastoderm, osteoblast)
brachy-
short (brachydactyly, brachycephalic)
brady-
slow (bradycardia)
branch-
gill (branchia, branchial, Lamellibranch, branchio-)
bronchus
air tubes (bronchial, bronchoscope)
bryo-
moss (bryology, Bryophyta, Bryozoa)

Back to Index


C

cac-
bad (cachexia, cacophony)
caen-
recent (caenozoic) See cene. Also spelled kaen, ken
cata
down (catabolism, catalyst) Also spelled kata
cele
tumor, hernia (celosomia, hydrocele)
cello-
belly (celiac, cellotomy) Also coelio
cen-
empty, void (cenosis) Also ken-kenophobia
cene
recent (cenogenesis, pliocene) Also kene
centrum
center (centrifuge, centroacinar)
cephale
head (cephalic, encephalon)
chaete
hair (Chaetognathia, Oligochaeta)
chilo-
lip (chilognathouranoschisis, Chilomastix)
chir-
hand (chiropodist, chirurgeon, Chiroptera)
chlor-
green (chlorophyl, chloragogue)
chrom-, chromat-
color (chromosome, chromatin, achromatic)
coel-
same as celo; hollow (coelom, Coelenterata)
crypt-
hidden (crypt, cryptic, cryptogram)
cyt-
hollow, cell (leucocyte, cyton, cytoplasm)

Back to Index


D

derm-, dermat-
skin (dermal, dermis, dermatome, pachyderm)
dia
through (dialysis, diaphragm, diarrhea)
diplo-
double (diploid, diploblastic)
dis-, di-
apart from, asunder (dissect, diverge)
drilus, -i
worm, lizard - combining forms of names of worms, (Megadrili, Microdili) Also crocodilus
dys
difficult, painful, ill (dyspnea, dysgenic, dysfunction)

Back to Index


E

ec
out of (ecdysis, ectopic) Also for oec
echin-
hedgehog, spiny (Echinodermata, echinous)
ecto
out, outside (ectoderm, ectoplasm)
em
in (empyema)
emys
tortoise - prefix and suffix of names (Emysuchus, Graptemys)
en
in (encapsulate, encysted)
endo
in, inside (endoderm, endoplasm, endocrine)
eo-
dawn (Eoanthropus, eocene, eolith)
epi
upon, on top of (epidermis, epinephrine, epistasis)
erythro-
red (erythrocyte, erythrophyl, erythrophage)
ethm-
sieve, strainer (ethmo-, ethmoid)
ethn-
people, race (ethnic, ethnology)
eu
well, very, exceedingly (Eutheria, eugenic)
ex
from, out (exostosis, excurrent)
exo
outside, on outside (exocrine, exoskeleton)

Back to Index


F

None Listed

Back to Index


G

-gale
weasel, martin, cat - suffix of names of cat-like animals (Spilogale, Boreogale; also Galeodes)
gam-
marriage (gamete, gametophyte, cryptogram, monogamy)
gaster, gastr-
belly (gasterangiemphraxis, gastro-, gastrula)
ge-
earth (geology, geotropism)
gen-, geno-, -geny, genesis
bring to life, create, make (gene, genetics, genotype, parthenogenesis, sporogenous, zymogen)
gram-
writing (diagram, electrocardiogram)
graph, -y
writing (kymograph)
gyn-, gynec-
woman (gynander, gynecology)

Back to Index


H

haplo-
single, simple (haploid)
helio-
sun (heliotropism, Heliotropium, Heliozoa)
helminth-
worm (Platyhelminthes)
hemi-
half, incomplete (Hemichordata, hemiazygos, Hemiptera)
hepat-
liver (hepatic, hepatectomy)
hetero-
other, different (heterosis, heterozygote, heterodont
histo-
web, tissue (histology, histocyte, (also histiocyte), histogenesis)
hystero
womb, uterus (hysterectomy, hysteropexy, hysteria)
holo-
all, entire, whole (holoblastic, holophytic, holozoic, holism)
homeo-
like (homeopath)
homo-
alike (homology, homogenize, homozygote, Homoptera)
hyal-
glass (hyaline)
hydr-
water (hydrolysis, hydrophobia, anhydrous, hydrophilic)
hyper-
above, over, excessive (hypertonic, hypertrophy)
hypn-
sleep (hypnosis)
hypo
under, lower, deficient (hypotonic, hypoglossal, hypostasis)

Back to Index


I

iso-
equal (isotonic, isosmotic, isomer, anisogamy)
-ite, -ites, -itis
1) division of body (somite) 2) salt or ester of an -ous acid (sulphite)
-ites
suffix denoting pertaining to (ascites); fossil form (Ammonites)
-itis
suffix denoting inflammation (appendicitis)
-ize
denominative verb form used as suffix (catheterize, anaesthetize) Also spelled ise

Back to Index


J

None Listed

Back to Index


K

None Listed

Back to Index


L

leuc-
white (leucocyte, leucopenia, leucemia) Also spelled leuko-
-log, -logy
word, study, doctrine (analog(ue), biology, homologous)
lys-, lyt-
unfasten, dissolve (analysis, proteolytic)

Back to Index


M

-ma, mata
indicating the result of an action (empyema, traumatic)
macro-
large (macrocyte, macrophage, macronucleus)
meg-, megal-
great (megaspore, megalomania, acromegaly)
melan-
black (melanin, melanophore)
mes-
middle (mesentery, mesoderm)
meta
after, beyond, change or transformation (metabolism, metamorphosis, metaphase, metencephalon); metabola - combining form referring to type of metamorphosis
meter, metr-
measure (thermometer, biometry)
micro-
small (micron); plural form - micra; micronucleus, microscope
mio-
less, smaller (miocene)
mono-
one, single (monosaccharide, monoecious)
morph-
form, structure (morphology, metamorphosis, polymorphonuclear, amorphous)
myces, mycetes
fungus mycelium, mycology, mycosis); used both as prefix and suffix of names, e.g., Mycetozoa, Schizomycetes
myco-
mucus (mycocyte, Mycobacteriaceae)
myel-
marrow (myelencephalon, myelin, myelitis, myeloblast, myelocyte, myelogenous, myeloid, poliomyelitis)
mys, my-
1) mouse - used as prefix and suffix of names of mouselike animals, e.g. Mysateles, Geomys. Must not be confused with emys (q.v.). 2) muscle (from mouse shape) - endo-, peri-, epimysium, myasthenia, myalgia. Usually in form of myo: myology, myocardium, myotome, myomere, myometrium
myx-
slime, mucus (Myxinoidei, myxedema, Myxomycetes)

Back to Index


N

necro-
dead (necrosis, necrotic)
neo-
new, recent (neopallium, neoplasm)
nom-
law (taxonomy, autonomic)

Back to Index


O

odont-
tooth (odontology, homodont, odontoblast)
oec-, ec-
house (dioecious, ecology, economy)
-oid
like (neuroid, toxoid)
oligo-
few (oligodendroglia, oligodynamic)
oön
egg (oötheca, cumulus oöphorus)
ont-
being (paleontology, ontogeny)
ophithalmo-
eye (ophthalmoscope)
opisth-
behind, at the back (opisthocoelus, opisthotic, Opisthocesmia)
opsis
sight, appearance - suffix to names of animals signifying similarity to another animal - Doridopsis, similar to Doris
ornis, ornith-
bird (Alcippornis, ornithology, Neo-ornithes)
ortho-
straight (orthogenesis, Orthoptera, orthopedist)
-osis
denoting a condition (leucocytosis, dermatomycosis)
osteo-
bone (osteology, Teleostei)
ot-
ear (otalgia, otic, otology)
oxus, oxy-
sharp, pointed (Amphioxus, oxygen, Oxyura)

Back to Index


P

pachy-
thick (pachyderm)
paed-
child (paedognesis)
paleo-
old (paleontology, paleocene)
palin-
again, back (palingenesis)
pan, pant-
all panspermy, pangenesis, panthothenic)
para
beside, near, wrong in (parathyroid, parachordal, Paranoia); combining form of names denoting close relationship to principal form - Parapeneus
parthen-
virgin (parthenogenesis)
path-, pathy
suffer, pain (pathology, sympathetic)
pauro-
little, few - combining form of names denoting fewness of some structure - Pauropoda
ped-
child (pediatrics, pedagogue)
penia
poverty, reduced amount (leucopenia)
peri
around (periosteum, pericardum, perineurium, perimetrium)
phag-
devour (phagocytosis, bacteriophage, anthropophage)
phaner-
visible, manifest (Phanerogam, phaneroscope)
pharmac-
drug (pharmaceutical, pharmacist, pharmacology)
phase
appearance - one of the stages of development - metaphase; a distinct portion of a heterogenous system, e.g. oil and water
pheno-
appearance (phenotype, phenology)
-phil
loving (eosinophil, hydrophil, hemophilia, philanthropy)
-phob
hating (hydrophobe, hydrophobia, Helophobius)
photo-
light (photosynthesis, photoscopic)
phren-
1) diaphragm (diaphragm) 2)mind (phrenology, aphrenia)
phyl-
tribe, race (phylum, phylogeny, phyletic)
phyll-
leaf (phyllotaxis, chlorophyll)
physi-
1) nature, constitution (physics, physiology, physique 2) growth (epiphysis, hypophysis, apophysis)
phyt-
plant (phytopathology, Thallophyta, saprophytic)
platy-
flat (Platyhelminthes, Platypus, amphiplatyan)
pleo-
more (pleomorphism, pleonasm, pleochromatic
pleio-
more (pleiocene, pleiotropia)
pleist-
most (pleistocene)
plesio
near (plesiomorphism, Plesiosaurus)
pleur-
side (pleura, pleural, pleurisy,somatopleure)
pneuma, pneumat-
breath, air (pneumatic, pneumon [lung])
pod-
foot (pseudopod, pseuodpodium, Cephalopod)
poikilo-
manifold (poikilothermous, poikilocyte)
poly-
many (polybasic, polychromatic, polymer, polymorphic, polyp); poly and pous - foot; Combining form of names, meaning many of some structure (Polyodontidae)
pro
before (prophase, pronephros)
prote-
Proteus, a god who could change his form at will - protean, Proteo - combining form of names denoting changeable shape (Proteomyxa, Proteosoma)
proto-
first, primitive (protoplasm, protein, protozoa)
pseud-
false (pseudopod, pseudostratified); combining form of names signifying not true form (Pseudopallene)
psyche
mind (psychic, psychobiology, psychopathic, psychosis)
pter-, ptery-, pterid-
wing (pterygoid, Pteridophyta, Crossopterygii, Pterodactyl)
-ptera
suffix denoting type of wing of many orders of insects (Diptera); also winged mammals (Chiroptera)
py-, pyo-
pus (pyemia, pyogenic, Pyococcus, pyorrhea)
pycn-
thick, dense (pycnidium, pycnotic)
pyel-
pan, pelvis (pyelitis, pyelogram)
pyg-
buttocks (pygalgia, Pygopodes, cytopyge, steatopygous)
pyr-
fire (pyrexis, pyrogenic, pyromania, pyromania, pyrophobia)

Back to Index


Q

None Listed

Back to Index


R

raphe
seam (raphe anococcygea, raphe scroti)
-raphy
suturing, stitching (cardiorrhaphy)
rhag-
burst (hemorrhage)
rhe-
flow (rheobase, rheotropism); when preceded by a short vowel another r added: diarrhea, catarrh, hemorrhoids
rhex-
rupture (cardiorhexis)
rhiz-
root (rhizome, mycorrhiza, Rhizopoda)
rhod-
rose (rhododendron, rhodopsin)

Back to Index


S

salpinx, salping-
trumpet - the Fallopian and Eustachian tubes (salpingitis, salpingocyesis)
sanus-, -a, -um
healthy - sane (sanity)
sapr-
rotten (sapremia, saprine, saprophyte, saprozoic)
sarx, sarc-
flesh (Sarcodina, sarcoma, sarcomere, sarcoplasm, sarcostyle)
scaph-
skiff (scaphocephalic, scaphoid)
schisto-
split, cleaved (schistocyte, Schistosoma)
schiz
split, cleave (shizaxon, Schizomycetes, schizophrenia)
scler-
hard (sclera, sclerectomy, sclerosis, sclerotome)
scop-
to see (scopophobia, microscope)
sepsis, septic-
putrefaction, rotting, infection (antiseptic, septicemia)
sesemo-
seed of sesame plant (sesemoid)
sial-
saliva (sialaden, sialagogue, sialorrhea)
sider-
iron (siderism, siderophil, siderosis)
sigma
letter s - sigma reaction, sigmoid flexure
sito-
food (sitology, stiotoxin, sitotropism, parasite)
skia
shadow (skiagram, skiascopy, skiodan)
soma, somat-
body (somatic, somatology, somatoplasm, somatopleure, somite, chromosome)
sperm-, spermat-
seed (sperm-aster, spermatic, spermatid, spermatocyte, Spermatophyta, spermatozoon, spermatozoid)
sphen-
wedge (sphenoid, sphenopalatine, sphenotic)
sphincter
that which binds, band - pyloric sphincter, sphincter pupilae, sphincteroscope
sphygmo-
pulse (sphygmograph, sphygmomanometer, asphyxia)
spir-
coil (spireme, Spirochaeta, Spironema)
splanch-
internal organs (splanchnic, splanchnopleure)
spondyl-
vertebra (spondylarthritis, spondylosis, spondylous)
spor-
seed (sporangium, spore, sporogeny, Sporozoa)
stadium, -a
measure - stage of disease, interval in metamorphosis
staphyl-
bunch of grapes, the uvula (staphylitis, Staphylococcus)
stasis, stat-
standing still (hemostasis, hemostat, static)
stear-, steat- ,dd>fat (steapsin, stearin, steatopygous)
sten-
narrow (stention, stenopeic, stenosis)
stereo-
solid (stereocilium, stereoisomer, stereoscope)
sternum
chest (sternebra, sternocleidomastoid)
stetho-
chest (stethemia, stethograph, stethoscope)
stigma, stigmat-
mark (astigmatism, stigmatic, stigmatodermia)
stoma, stomata, -stomy
mouth (stomodaeum, enterostomy)
strepto-
twisted, curved (strepticemia, Streptococcus, Streptothrix, streptotrichal)
styl-
pillar, beam (style, styliform, styloid, stylus)
sym or syn
together (symbiosis, symphysis, syncytium, synapse, synthesis)
syrinx, syring-
pipe, tube (Syringa, syringe, syringomyelia)

Back to Index


T

tach-, tachy-
swift, speed (tachometer, tachycardia)
tarsus
wicker-work frame - instep (tarsale, medial tarsalis, tarsotibial)
taxis
arrangement, order (phyllotaxis, taxonomy)
tele-, telo-
end, distant (telecephalon, telephase or telophase)
tera-, terat-
monster (teratism, teratology, teratosis)
tetanus
tension (tetanic, tetanotoxin, tetany)
tetra
four (tetrabasic, tetrad, tetravalent)
thalamus
bed, bedroom (thalamencephalon, thalamic, thalamocortical)
thallus
young shoot (Thallophyta, thallospore)
theca, -ae
case, chest, sheath, a box (theca folliculi, thecitis, thecodont, oötheca)
thel
nipple (thelitis, thelium, epithelium)
ther-
wild beast (Therapsids, Theromorphia, -therium); English: -there(s); combining form of names of mammals (Eutheria, Titanotherium or Titanothere)
therm-
heat (therm, thermal, thermometer, thermopile, thermos, isotherm, homothermous)
thio-
sulphur (thioacid, Thiobacillus, thiophilic)
thorax, thorac-
breastplate, the chest (thoracic, thoracolumbar)
thrix, trich-
hair (Ulothrix, Trichina, trichinosis)
thrombus
clot (thrombin, thrombogen, thrombosis)
thymus
excrescence, gland (thymectomy, thymocyte)
thymus
thyme (pro. time) (thymene, thymol)
thyre-
shield (thyreoid or thyroid, thyroxin)
tome, tomy
cut (myotome,microtome, anatomy, appendectomy)
tox-, toxic
poison (toxin, toxoid, intoxication)
trapez-
a table or counter (medial trapezius, trapezium, trapezoid)
trauma, trauat-
wound (traumatic, tamuatism, traumatology)
trop-
turning (tropism, geotropic, heliotrope)
troph-y
nourishment (trophic, trophoblast, trophoderm, atrophy, hypertrophy, dystrophy)
tympanum
drum (typanal, tympanic, n. chorda tympani, tympano-)
typhlo-
blind, cecum (typhlosis, typhlosole)

Back to Index


U

ur-
tail (uropod, Urochordata, Anura)
ur-
urine (urea, uremia, urine, urology, ureter, urethra)

Back to Index


V

None Listed

Back to Index


W

None Listed

Back to Index


X

xanth-
yellow (xanthein, Xanthium, xanthophyll)
xeno-
stranger (xenia, xenoparasite, Xenopsylla)
xer-
dry (xerasia, exrophilic, xerophyte, xerosis)
xiph-
sword (xiphisternum, xiphocostal, xiphoid)
xyl-
wood (xylan, xylem, Xylocarpus, xylol

Back to Index


Y

None Listed

Back to Index


Z

zona
belt (zona radiata, zonule, zonary)
Zo¨o, zoa
living thing, animal (zolatria, zoic, zo¨ogenesis, zoology, Protozoa, speratozo¨on, azoic)
zyg-
yoke (zygapophysis, zygoma, zygote, azygos, homozygous)
zym-
yeast (zymase, zymogen, enzyme)

Back to Index


Latin Roots and Terms


Index

A B


A

a-, ab-, abs-
away from aversion (abductor, abstract)
ad-
to, towards (adductor) When used as a prefix the d is sometimes changed to the first consonant of the following word, e.g., acclimate, afferent, assimilate; As a suffix it means towards the part of the body indicated by word to which it is suffixed, e.g., cephalad, towards the head; caudad, towards the tail
ala-
wing (alar, alate, aliform, alisphenoid)
amb-
both, on both sides (ambivalent, amboceptor)
ante-
before, in front of (antebrachium)
apex, apic-
tip, point (apex)
aqu-
water (aquarium, aquatic, aqueous humor)
arbor-
tree (Arbor Vitae, arboreal, arboretum)
arc-
bow, bent (arciform, Arcopetera, arcuate)
area
open space (a. opaca, areolar)
argent-
silver (argentaffin, argentine)
-aria
suffix denoting "like" or "connected with" - (Utricularia)
-arium
suffix denoting place of a thing (aquarium, herbarium)
ascendens
going up (aorta ascendens)
-ata
neuter plural ending of perfect participle used as suffix to name of some structure and signifying a group of organisms characterized by that structure (Chordata, Vertebrata)
atrium, -a
entrance, room (atrial, atriopore)
aur-
1. aur (auroduct, Aurophysa); 2. ear (auropuncture); 3. gold (aureus, Aurococcus)
auricul-
dim of auris - ear (auricle, auricular)
axis
axle-tree (axial, epaxial, hypaxial)

Back to Index


B

bis-, bi-, bin-
double, twice (bisiliac, bilateral, binocular
brachium, -a
arm (brachial, brachio-)
brevis
short (caput breve, breviflex, breviradiate)
bursa, -ae
pouch (b. omentalis, bursate, bursitis)

Back to Index


1