Learning the following word roots and prefixes is a fast way to strengthen your vocabulary. Given that a fluent English speaker must learn over 5,000 words, combining word-parts is a smart approach. Even if you don’t know the meaning of a new word straight off, you can make an ‘educated guess’ if you only had a clue to the word root or prefix within the word.

 

Prefix or Word RootMeaningExample
a, ab/sfrom, away, offabstract
aer/oairaeroplane
agr/i/ofarmingagriculture
ambi, amphiboth, on both sides, aroundamphibian
ambulwalk, moveambulance
ami/oloveamiable
animlife, spiritanimal
anthrop/ohumananthropology
antiagainst, opposite ofantibody
aqu/awateraquarium
arch/a/iprimitive, ancientarchaeology
arthr/ojointarthritis
astro, asterstar, stars, outer spaceastronaut
aud/i/iohearaudible
autoself, same, oneautomatic
avi/abirdaviation
benegood, wellbenefactor
bi/ntwo, twice, once in every twobiweekly
bibli/obookbibliography
biolife, living matterbiology
calcstonecalcium
capt, cept, ceivetake, holdintercept, perceive
cardi/oheartcardiology
carn/iflesh, meatcarnivorous
cede, ceed, cessgo, yieldexceed
cent/ihundred, hundredthcentennial
centr/o/icenteregocentric
cerebr/obraincerebral
certsurecertain
chrom/o chromat/o, chroscolor, pigmentchromatic
chron/otimechronic
circumaround, aboutcircumnavigate
claim, clamshout, speak outclamor
cowith, together, jointcoauthor
cogn/iknowcognition
conwith, jointlyconcur
contra/oagainst, oppositecontradict
corp/obodycorporation
counteropposite, contrary, opposingcounteract
cranioskullcraniology
credbelieveincredible
cryptohidden, secretencryption
cyclcircle, ringbicycle
dec/a, dekatendecade, decathalon
dem/opeopledemocracy
dent, donttoothdentist
derm/askindermatology
diathrough, between, apart, acrossdiagonal
dictspeakcontradict
dominmasterdominate
don/atgivedonation
duc/tleadconduct
dyn/a/ampower, energy, strengthdynamic
dysabnormal, baddyslexia
e-out, awayevaporate
egoselfegotistic
em, eninto, cover with, causeempathy
endowithin, insideendotherm
ethnorace, peopleethnic
exfrom, out,excavate
extra, extrooutside, beyondextraordinary
fac/tmake, domanufacture
flor/a, fleurflowerflorist
forein front of, previous, earlierforefront
formshapeformation
fract, fragbreakfracture
functperform, workfunction
gastr/ostomachgastric
gen/o/e/birth, production,genealogy
geoearth, soil, globalgeography
gigaa billiongigabyte
gramletter, writtendiagram
graph/ywriting, recording, writtengraphics
hect/o, hecathundredhectare
helic/ospiral, circularhelicopter
hemihalf, partialhemicycle
hem/o/abloodhemorrhage
herbigrass, plantherbs
heterodifferent, otherheterogeneous
homo, homeolike, alike, samehomogeneous
hydr/oliquid, waterhydroelectric
hypertoo much, over, beyondhyperactive
hyp/ounderhypoglycemia
il, inin, intoilluminate
ig, il, im, in, irnot, withoutillegal, irrespective
infrabeneath, belowinfrastructure
interbetween, among, jointlyinternational
intra, introwithin, insideintrastate
juvenyoungjuvenile
kilothousandkilobyte
lact/omilklactate
liberfreeliberate
lingulanguage, tonguelinguistics
luclightelucidate
luminlightilluminate
lun/a/imoonlunar
macrolarge, greatmacroeconomics
magn/a/igreat, largemagnify
mal/ebad, ill, wrongmalcontent
maniamadness, excessive desiremaniac
mater, matr/imothermaternal
megagreat, large, millionmegastore
metachange, after, beyond, betweenmetaphysics
meter, metrmeasureaudiometer
microvery small, short, minutemicrometer
midmiddlemidsection
millionethousandthmillimeter
min/ismall, lessminiskirt
mis/obad, badly, wrong, wrongly,misbehave
morph/oformmetamorphosis
multimany, more than one or twomulticolored
navshipnavigate
neonew, recentneolithic
nom/innamenomenclature
omniallomniverous
parabeside, beyondparanormal
perthrough, throughoutpermit
periaround, enclosingperiscope
phon/osoundphonograph
phot/olightphotogenic
pod/efootpodiatrist
polymany, more than onepolygraph
postafter, behindpostdated
preearlier, before, in front ofprevention
probefore, in front of, foreproactive
psych/omind, mentalpsychology
quad/r/rifourquadrant
reagain, back, backwardrebound
retrobackward, backretroactive
ruptbreak, burstbankrupt
scop/e/ysee, examine, observemicroscope
scrib, scriptwrite, writtenscribble, inscription
selfof, for, or by itselfself-respect
semihalf, partialsemiannual
solsunsolar
sonsoundsonic
sphereballspherical, biosphere
spirbreatheinspire, spirit
structbuildconstruction, structure
subunder, lower than, inferior tosubmarine
super, suprahigher in quality or quantitysuperimposed
technotechnique, skilltechnology
tel/e/ofar, distant, completetelephone
temp/ortimetemporary
term/inaend, limitterminus
therm/oheatthermal
transacross,beyond, throughtransfer
trithree, once in every three,triangle
ultrabeyond, extreme, more thanultralight
unnot,opposite of, lackingunavailable
unione, singleunicycle
urbcityurban
vacemptyevacuate
vidseevideo
vis, vidseevision
viv/I, vitlive, liferevival
voc/ivoice, calladvocate

 

SuffixMeaningExample
– ablecapable of, worthy ofnoticeable
– adeaction or process, persons actingrenegade
– agestate of being, or quality, pertaining tomarriage
– alstate of being, or quality, state ofmarital, causal
– ancystate, quality, act or conditionagency
– antone who actsregistrant
– archyrule, governmentmonarchy
– ardone who actssteward
– arypertaining to, connected withelementary
– cedmove, yieldrecede, secede
– cidekilling, act ofhomoicide
– ciouscapable ofcapacious
– cithaving the quality, or callincite
– clamcall, cry outexclamation
– clinoleandecline, incline
– cludshutseclude, preclude
– cracyruledemocracy
– cratruler, member of ruling bodyautocrat
– ennialyearlycentennial, perennial
– ent, erone who actsstudent, teacher
– eryoccupation, business, or conditionarchery grocery
– ettesmall or diminutivedinette, statuette
– ficof, bringing, yieldingpacific, soporific
– gonangled, angularpolygon, pentagon
– gradestepretrograde
– hoodfull of abounding in, to make, belong tochildhood
– iblecapable of, worth of, tending to, or having the quality ofcredible
– ic, icalof, pertaining to, similar or likehistorical
– ierpossessing or being, one who actscarrier
– ifyfull of, abounding in, to make state of, move, dotestify
– il, ileact, quality or state, like one who actscivil, servile
– ineact, quality or state, pertaining to, like one who actsheroine
– ingexpressing actionrunning, growing
– ionstate, condition or act ofvolition
– ishacting like, in the nature of, or similar toimpish, mannish
– ismart of, philosophy of, practice ofliberalism, Buddhism
– istone who actsphilanthropist, artist
– itepossessing or being, one who actsfavorite
– ivehaving the nature of, tending towardimaginative, collective
– izeto make into, to practicemesmerize, familiarize
– jecthurl or throwprojectile
– lateralsideunilateral, multilateral
– lentfull of, abounding insucculent
– lesswithout, beyond thefearless, useless
– likeresemblingchildlike
– lithstonemonolith
– logyknowledge, termination in writingpsychology
– lysimilar in mannerfully, carefully
– mentstate, quality, or act ofentanglement
– metrymeasuregeometry
– nesscondition, or stateconsciousness
– ologyscience or branch of knowledgetechnology
– ora person or thing that actsactor, elevator
– oryof, pertaining to, place ofauditory
– ousstate or qualityfurious
– parmake readyprepare
– pathysuffering, feelingsympathy, telepathy
– philiaabnormal liking or tending towardhemophilia
– phobiafear, dreadacrophobia, hydrophobia
– phonesoundtelephone
– pon, posplace, putpostpone, position
– pterwing, featherhelicopter
– scopeseemicroscope
– sectcutintersect, section
– shipstate or quality, art of skillpartnership
– sisaction, process, statethesis
– somelike or samebothersome
– sophyscience ofphilosophy
– spherelayerhemisphere
– statstanding, stationary, setthermostat
– sterone who actsteamster
– tomya cuttingappendectomy
– tortto twistdistort
– tractdraw, draw from, pullextract, tractor
– tronan instrumentcyclotron
– tryart or profession of, state or qualityforestry, ministry
– tudeart or profession of, state or qualityaptitude
– ulediminutive forceminiscule
– ulentabounding infraudulent
– ureact or process, result ofadventure, tenure
– urgyworkdramaturgy, metallurgy
– ven, ventcomeconvention
– vore, vorouseatingcarnivore
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