Education and Information Site VirtualSalt Word Roots and Prefixes, Page 2 Robert A. Harris
April 13, 2012

General Roots and Prefixes (continued)

Root or Prefix Meaning Examples
de from, down, away detach, deploy, derange, deodorize, devoid, deflate, degenerate, deice, descend, derail, depress, depart, decompose, destruction
dei, div God, god divinity, divine, deity, divination, deify, deism
demo people democracy, demagogue, epidemic, demographic, endemic
dia through, across, between diameter, diagonal, dialogue, dialect, dialectic, diagnosis, diachronic, diagram, diaphragm, dialysis, diarrhea
dict speak predict, verdict, malediction, dictionary, dictate, dictum, diction, indict, contradict 
dis, dys, dif away, not, negative dismiss, differ, disallow, disperse, dissuade, disconnect, dysfunction, disproportion, disrespect, distemper, distaste, disarray, dyslexia
duc, duct to lead, pull produce, abduct, product, transducer, viaduct, aqueduct, induct, deduct, reduce, induce
dyn, dyna power dynamic, dynamometer, heterodyne, dynamite, dynamo, dynasty
ecto outside, external ectomorph, ectoderm, ectoplasm, ectopic, ectothermal
endo inside, within endotoxin, endoscope, endogenous
equi equal equidistant, equilateral, equilibrium, equinox, equitable, equation, equator
e, ex out, away, from emit, expulsion, exhale, exit, express, exclusive, enervate, exceed, explosion, eject, exude
eu good, pleasant
euphoria, euphemism, eustress, euphonic, eukaryote
exter, extra outside of external, extrinsic, exterior, extraordinary, extrabiblical, extracurricular, extrapolate, extraneous, exterminator, extract, extradite, extraterrestrial, extrasensory, extravagant, extreme
flu, flux flow effluence, influence, effluvium, fluctuate, confluence, reflux, influx
flect, flex to bend flexible, reflection, deflect, circumflex, inflection, reflex
graph, gram to write polygraph, grammar, biography, graphite, telegram, autograph, lithograph, historiography, graphic, electrocardiogram, monogram
hetero other heterodox, heterogeneous, heterosexual, heterodyne
homo same homogenized, homosexual, homonym, homophone
hyper over, above hyperactive, hypertensive, hyperbolic, hypersensitive, hyperventilate, hyperkinetic, hyperlink, hypertext, hypersonic, hypertrophy
hypo below, less than hypotension, hypodermic, hypoglycemia, hypoallergenic, hypothermia, hypothesis


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General Roots and Prefixes (continued)

in, im not inviolate, innocuous, intractable, innocent, impregnable, impossible, incapable, incoherent, impassible, impotent
infra beneath infrared, infrastructure, infrasonic
inter, intro between international, intercept, intermission, interoffice, internal, intermittent, introvert, introduce
intra within, into intranet, intracranial, intravenous, intramural, intramuscular, intraocular
jac, ject to throw reject, eject, project, trajectory, interject, dejected, inject, ejaculate
log, logo, loc, loq word, speech, speak monologue, dialogue, locution, colloquial, elocution, soliloquy, ventriloquist, apology, doxology, epilogue, logic, eulogy, loquacious
mal bad, badly malformation, maladjusted, dismal, malady, malcontent, malfeasance, maleficent, malevolent, malice, malaria, malfunction, malignant
mega great, million megaphone, megalomaniac, megabyte, megalopolis, acromegaly
meso middle mesomorph, mesoamerica, mesosphere
meta beyond, change metaphor, metamorphosis, metabolism, metahistorical, metainformation, metacognitive, metaphysics
meter measure perimeter, micrometer, ammeter, multimeter, altimeter, geometry, kilometer
micro small microscope, microprocessor, microfiche, micrometer, micrograph
mis bad, badly misinform, misinterpret, mispronounce, misnomer, mistake, misogynist, mistrial, misadventure, misanthrope, misread
mit, miss to send transmit, permit, missile, missionary, remit, admit, missive, mission
morph shape polymorphic, morpheme, amorphous, metamorphosis, morphology, morphing
multi many multitude, multipartite, multiply, multipurpose, multicolored, multimedia, multinational
neo new neologism, neonate, neoclassic, neophyte
non not nonferrous, nonabrasive, nondescript, nonfat, nonfiction, nonprofit, nonsense, nonentity
omni all omnipotent, omnivorous, omniscient, omnibus, omnirange, omnipresent
pan all, whole, general, completely pantheism, pandemic, panacea, panoply, pan-American, panchromatic, pandemonium, panorama
para beside paraprofessional, paramedic, paraphrase, parachute, paralegal, parallel, comparison
per through, intensive permit, perspire, perforate, persuade, perceive, perfect, permit, perform, pervasive
peri around periscope, perimeter, perigee, periodontal, pericope
phon sound telephone, phonics, phonograph, phonetic, homophone, microphone
phot light photograph, photosynthesis, photon
poly many polytheist, polygon, polygamy, polymorphous
port to carry porter, portable, report, transportation, deport, import, export


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End note: In my second year of Latin in high school, we were required to find twenty-five Latin word roots and for each root to find five English words containing the root. This exercise not only helped to increase my vocabulary, but it gave me a valuable insight into the way many English words are constructed. As technology advances, new words are coined to cover some new idea or thing, and often these words are created from existing roots. A little root knowledge here can therefore help us to begin to understand a new word even before we read about its meaning.

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Robert Harris is a writer and educator with more than 25 years of teaching experience at the college and university level. RHarris at virtualsalt.com