Common Word Roots

Many English words are derived from Greek and Latin roots. A knowledge of some of these common roots will give you a key to thousands of English words and will help you to increase your vocabulary.

Root

Meaning

Examples

act, ag

do, act, drive

action, react, agitate

alter, altr

other, change

alternative, altercation, altruism

annu, enni

year

annual, biennial

anthrop

man

anthropoid, misanthropy

aqua, aque

water

aquatic, aqueduct

aud, audi, audit

hear

audit, audition, audible

bell

war

antebellum, belligerent

ben, bene

well, good

benevolent, benefit

bibli

book

bibliography, bibliophile

bio

life

biosphere, amphibious

cap, cept, cipi

take, seize, hold

captive, precept, recipient, accept

capit

head

capital, decapitate

Root

Meaning

Examples

cede, ceed, cess

go, yield

precede, proceed, secession

chrom

color

monochrome, chromatic

chron

time

chronological, anachronism

cide

kill

germicide, suicide

civ

citizen

civilization, uncivil

cogn

know

recognize, incognito

corpor, corps, corpse, corpus

body

corporal, corpuscle, corpse

cosm

order, world

cosmopolitan, cosmos, cosmetic

cred, creed, credit, credul

trust, believe

credible, creed, credit, credulity

culp

blame

culprit, culpability

cycl

wheel, circle

cyclone, bicycle

dei, div, divin

god, godlike

deity, diva, divinity

dem

people

demographics

derm

skin

dermatitis, pachyderm

dia

day

diary

dic, dict, dicta

say, speak

diction, edict, dictation

dorm

sleep

dormitory, dormant

duce, ducat, duct

lead

educate, produce, induct

ego

I

egotist, egomania

fact, fect, fict

do, make, cause

factory, confection, fiction

fid, fide

faith, trust

confidential, fidelity

flu, fluct, flux

flow

fluently, fluctuate, influx

frag, fract

break

fragility, infraction

gam

marry

monogamy, polygamous

grad, gress

step, go

regress, grade, graduation

gram

write

monogram, grammar

graph

write

graphics, telegraph

heli

sun

helium, heliocentric

hem

blood

hemoglobin, hemorrhage

hydr

water

dehydration, hydrant

iso

same, equal

isometric, isotope

ject

throw

reject, projectile

junc, juga

join

junction, conjunction, conjugate

liber

free

liberal, liberate

log, logo, logy

word, study

logical, psychology

luc, lum

light

translucent, luminous

magn

large, great

magnitude, magnificent

mal

bad, ill

malady, malcontent, malodorous

man, manu

hand

manual, manicure, manufacture

mater, matr

mother

maternal, matrimony

medi

middle

mediate, mediocre

micr

small

microcosm, microfilm

mis, miss, mit

send

promise, mission, remit

morph

shape

anthropomorphic, polymorph

mort

death, dead

mortal, mortuary, mortify

multi

many

multitude, multiply

mut

change

mutate, mutable

nasc, nat

born

native, innate, nascent

nav

ship, sail

navigate, navy

necr

dead, die

necropolis, necrosis

neo

new

neoclassical, neologism

ocul

eye

binocular, ocultist

omni

all

omnipotent, omnibus

or, ora, orat

speak, mouth, pray

oral, oracle, oratory

orth

straight, correct

orthodontics, orthodox

pan

all

pantheism, panacea, pantheon

pater, patr

father

paternity, patriot

Root

Meaning

Examples

ped

child

pediatrics, pedagogue

ped, pede, pod

foot

pedal, centipede, podium, impede

pend, pens

hang

depend, suspense

phil, philo

love

philharmonic, philosophy

phob

fear

phobia, agoraphobia

phon, phono

sound

telephone, phonograph

poly

many

polygon, polytheistic

port, portat

carry

deportment, export, importation

pot

power

potent, potential

prot, proto

first

prototype, protagonist

psych

mind

psyche, psychic

pyr

fire

pyrotechnics, pyrite

quer, quir, ques, quis

ask, seek

inquiry, quest, inquisitive

rupt

break

erupt, disrupt, interrupt

sanct

holy

sanctify, sacrosanct

sci, scio

know

conscious, omniscient

scrib, scribe, script

write

scribble, describe, conscription

seg, sect

cut

section, segment, intersect

sequ, secut

follow

sequel, consecutive

sol

alone

solo, desolate

soph

wise, wisdom

sophisticated, sophomore

spec, spect, spic

look at

specimen, spectacles, inspect

tang, ting, tact, tig

touch

tactile, contact, tangent

term

end

terminal, terminate

terr, ter

land, earth

terrain, inter

the, theo

god

theology, polytheism

therm

heat

thermos, isotherm

trib

pay

tribute, tributary, attribute

turb

agitate

turbulent, disturb

uni

one

unify, union

urb

city

urbane, suburban

vac

empty

vacuous, evacuate

verb

word

verbatim, adverb

vide, vis, visu

see

evidence, provide, vision, visual, video

vinc, vict

conquer

convince, victim

vit, viv

life, live

vital, revive, vivid

voc, voca, vok

voice, call

vocal, vocation, revoke

vulg

common

vulgar, divulge

zo

animal

zoologist, paleozoic

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