Welcome to the Latin & Greek Word Roots Page 

As you probably already know, just about every scientific word is composed of one or more Latin or Greek word roots and combining forms.  Learning the most common word root forms  makes it much easier to learn the "language" that is used in the biological and health sciences.  Doing so will mean that in time, you will encounter new words and know without consulting a dictionary exactly what they mean.

On a more practical note, it also means that you will make fewer spelling errors.  In a health care environment where many similar sounding medical terms have very different meanings, what seems to be a simple spelling error can sometimes lead  to serious consequences that might endanger the health of patients in your care. Also, since spelling counts 100% on laboratory practical exams (i.e., no credit is given for any misspelled words), learning the correct spelling of each scientific term used in the course will mean that you will not lose points unnecessarily! 

Thus, any time you are using the Zoo Disk resource, you can easily click on the Latin-Greek button to find out the meaning of the word roots used to form the scientific terms that appear on these websites. 

Note : Each entry starts with the commonly encountered form or forms of the prefix, suffix or combining form followed by the English translation and an example of its use.



a- without; abiotic

ab- from; abductor muscle

ad- to, toward; adductor muscles

adip- fat; adipose tissue

aer- air; aerobic respiration

af- toward; afferent renal artery

-al pertaining to; brachial

alb- white; albino

anti- against; antibiotic

apo- from; apocrine gland

arachn- spider; arachnoid

arter-  artery; arterial

arthro-  joint; arthritis

aur-  ear; auricle

auto-  self; autonomic

bio-  life; biology

blast-  precursor; blastula

brachi-  arm; brachial artery

branchi-  gill; branchial artery

bronch-  windpipe; bronchial

cardi-  heart; cardiac

-cardia  heart; tachycardia

cephal-  head; cephalic

cerebro-  brain; cerebrospinal

cervic-  neck; cervical vertebrae

chaeta-  hair or bristle; Oligochaeta

chrondr-  cartilage; chondrocyte

chrom-  color; chromosome

coel, -coel cavity; coelom, pseudocoel

colo-  colon; colorectal

contra-  against; contralateral

corp-  body; corpus luteum

cost-  rib; costal muscles

cranio-  skull; cranium

-crine  to separate; endocrine

cut-  skin; cutaneous

cyan-  blue; cyanotic

-cyst  sac; blastocyst

cyt-, -cyte cell; cytology, osteocyte

de-  away, from; deactivate

dent- , teeth; dentary bone

derm-, -derm skin; dermal, hypodermic

di-  twice; disaccharide

digit-  finger or toe; digital

dipl-  double; diploid

dis-  apart, away from; disability

ecto-  outside; ectoderm

ef-  away from; efferent artery

encephalo-  brain; encephalitis

endo-  inside; endoderm

entero-  intestine; enteric

epi-  on top of; epimysium

erythro-  red; erythrocyte

ex-  out, away from; exocytosis

extra-  outside of, beyond; extracellular

fil-  thread; filament

-form  shape; fusiform

gastr-  stomach; gastric

-gen,-genic to produce; carcinogen(ic)

gest-  to bear; gestation

glyco-  sugar; glycogen

gyne-, gyno- woman; gynecologist

hem-, hemato- blood; hemoglobin

hemi-  half; hemisphere

hepato-  liver; hepatitis, hepatic

hetero-  other; heterozygote

histo-  tissue; histology

holo-  entire; holocrine

homeo-, homo- same; homozygote

hyal- ,  glass; hyaline cartilage

hydro-  water; hydrolysis

hyo-  U-shaped; hyoid bone

hyper-  above; hyperactive

hypo-  below; hypodermic

infra-  beneath; infraorbital

inter-  between; intercellular

iso-  equal; isotonic

-itis  inflammation; dermatitis

kerato-  horn; keratin

lact-  milk; prolactin

leuko-  white; leukocyte

lip- , fat; lipid

lith-  stone; otolith

lyso-, -lysis, -lyze break down; hydrolysis

macro-  large; macrophage

mega-  big; megaspore

melan-  black; melanin

meso-  middle; mesoderm

meta-  after, beyond; metaphase

micro-  small; microscope

mono-  single; monocyte

morph-  form; morphology

multi-  many; multicellular

myo-  muscle; myoglobin

nephr - kidney; nephric duct

neuro-  nerve; neuron

-oid  resembling; cuboidal epithelium

oligo-  few; Oligochaeta

ology-  the study of; physiology

-oma  swelling; hematoma

oo-  egg; oocyte

osteo-  bone; osteocyte

para-  beyond; paraplegic

path-  disease; pathology

pedia-  child; pediatrician

peri-  around; perineurium

phag-  to eat; phagocyte

phot-  light; photoreceptor

platy-  flat; platypus

pneum-  air; pneumatic duct

pod-  foot; pseudopodia

poly-  many; polysaccharide

post-  after; postanal tail

pre-  before; premolar

pro-  old; prophase

proct-  anus; proctology

pterygo-  wing; pterygoid process

pulmo-  lung; pulmonary

retro-  backward; retroperitoneal

rhin-  nose; rhinoceros

scler  hard; sclera

-scope  to view; microscope

semi-  half; semitendinosus

-seta  bristle; setae

som-  body; somatic

sten-  a narrowing; stenosis

-stom  mouth, opening; cytostome, colostomy

stylo-  stake; styloid process

sub-  below; subcutaneous

super-  above; superior vena cava

supra-  on the upper side; supraspinous fossa

syn-  together; synapse

tachy-  swift; tachycardia

telo-  end; telophase

therm-  heat; endotherm

thorac-  thorax, chest; thoracic vertebra

thromb-  clot; thrombocyte

-tomy  to cut; appendectomy

tox-  poison; toxicology

tri-  three; trimester

troph-  nourishing; eutrophic

uni-  one; unicellular

vas-  vessel; vas deferens

zyg-  yolked; zygote