It's All Greek

Updated August 5, 2020 | Infoplease Staff

The following table lists some common Greek roots, rrefixes, and suffixes.

Greek rootBasic meaningExample words
-anthrop-humanmisanthrope, philanthropy, anthropomorphic
-chron-timeanachronism, chronic, chronicle, synchronize, chronometer
-dem-peopledemocracy, demography, demagogue, endemic, pandemic
-morph-formamorphous, metamorphic, morphology
-path-feeling, sufferingempathy, sympathy, apathy, apathetic, psychopathic
-pedo-, -ped-child, childrenpediatrician, pedagogue
-philo-, -phil-having a strong affinity or love forphilanthropy, philharmonic, philosophy
-phon-soundpolyphonic, cacophony, phonetics

The following table gives a list of Greek prefixes and their basic meanings.

Greek prefixBasic meaningExample words
a-, an-withoutachromatic, amoral, atypical, anaerobic
anti-, ant-opposite; opposinganticrime, antipollution, antacid
auto-self, sameautobiography, automatic, autopilot
bio-, bi-life, living organismbiology, biophysics, biotechnology, biopsy
geo-Earth; geographygeography, geomagnetism, geophysics, geopolitics
hyper-excessive, excessivelyhyperactive, hypercritical, hypersensitive
micro-smallmicrocosm, micronucleus, microscope
mono-one, single, alonemonochrome, monosyllable, monoxide
neo-new, recentneonatal, neophyte, neoconservatism, neofascism, neodymium
pan-allpanorama, panchromatic, pandemic, pantheism
thermo-, therm-heatthermal, thermometer, thermostat

Words and word roots may also combine with suffixes. Here are examples of some important English suffixes that come from Greek:

Greek suffixBasic meaningExample words
-ismforms nouns and means “the act, state, or theory of”criticism, optimism, capitalism
-istforms agent nouns from verbs ending in -ize or nouns ending in -ism and is used like -erconformist, copyist, cyclist
-izeforms verbs from nouns and adjectivesformalize, jeopardize, legalize, modernize, emphasize, hospitalize, industrialize, computerize
-gramsomething written or drawn, a recordcardiogram, telegram
-graphsomething written or drawn; an instrument for writing, drawing, or recordingmonograph, phonograph, seismograph
-logue, -logspeech, discourse; to speakmonologue, dialogue, travelogue
-logydiscourse, expression; science, theory, studyphraseology, biology, dermatology
-meter, -metrymeasuring device; measurespectrometer, geometry, kilometer, parameter, perimeter
-oidforms adjectives and nouns and means “like, resembling” or “shape, form”humanoid, spheroid, trapezoid
-phileone that loves or has a strong affinity for; lovingaudiophile, Francophile
-phobe, -phobiaone that fears a specified thing; an intense fear of a specified thingagoraphobe, agoraphobia, xenophobe, xenophobia
-phonesound; device that receives or emits sound; speaker of a languagehomophone, geophone, telephone, Francophone

Latin and Greek Word Elements
Latin and Greek Word Elements
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