50 Greek and Latin Root Words

A root is a word or part of a word from which other words grow, typically through the addition of prefixes and suffixes. By understanding root words, you can decipher strange words, expand your vocabulary, and become a better English speaker.

Greek Root Words

The table below defines and demonstrates common Greek roots words.

Root Meaning Examples
anti against antibacterial, antidote, antithesis
ast(er) star asteroid, astronomy, astronaut
auto self automatic, automate, autobiograph
biblio book bibliography, bibliophile
bio life biography, biology, biodegradable
chrome color monochromatic, phytochrome
chrono time chronic, synchronize, chronicle
dyna power dynasty, dynamic, dynamite
geo earth geography, geology, geometry
gno to know agnostic, acknowledge
graph write autograph, graphic, demographic
hydr water dehydrate, hydrant, hydropower
kinesis movement kinetic, photokinesis
log thought logic, apologize, analogy
logos word, study astrology, biology, theologian
narc sleep narcotic, narcolepsy
path feel empathy, pathetic, apathy
phil love philosophy, bibliophile, philanthropy
phon sound microphone, phonograph, telephone
photo light photograph, photocopy, photon
schem plan scheme, schematic
syn together, with synthetic, photosynthesis
tele far telescope, telepathy, television
tropos turning heliotrope, tropical

Latin Root Words

The table below defines and illustrates 25 of the most common Latin roots.

Root Meaning Examples
ab to move away abstract, abstain, aversion
acer, acri bitter acrid, acrimony, exacerbate
aqu water aquarium, aquatic, aqualung
audi hear audible, audience, auditorium
bene good benefit, benign, benefactor
brev short abbreviate, brief
circ round circus, circulate
dict say dictate, edict, dictionary
doc teach document, docile, doctrinal
duc lead, make deduce, produce, educate
fund bottom founder, foundation, funding
gen to birth gene, generate, generous
hab to have ability, exhibit, inhabit
jur law jury, justice, justify
lev to lift levitate, elevate, leverage
luc, lum light lucid, illuminate, translucent
manu hand manual, manicure, manipulate
mis, mit send missile, transmit, permit
omni all omnivorous, omnipotent, omniscent
pac peace pacify, pacific, pacifist
port carry export, import, important
quit silent, restive tranquil, requiem, acquit
scrib, script to write script, proscribe, describe
sens to feel sensitive, sentient, resent
terr earth terrain, territory, extraterrestrial
tim to fear timid, timorous
vac empty vacuum, vacate, evacuate
vid, vis to see video, vivid, invisible