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Prefixes and Suffixes

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Prefixes and Suffixes

This page is a companion to Meanings; its special purpose is to save space by answering several questions in one line.  Most of these prefixes and suffixes are used in more than one English word, and usually the meaning of the rest of the word is fairly obvious.  So once you know what the prefix or suffix means, you should at least be able to have a stab at what the word means.

Tetra– Click to show or hide the answer Tetralogy – a work (of literature, etc.) in four parts
Quinqu– Click to show or hide the answer Quinquereme – an ancient ship with five banks of oars
Hepta– Click to show or hide the answer Heptarchy – the seven Anglo–Saxon kingdoms
Octa– Click to show or hide the answer Octagonal – having eight sides
Nona– Click to show or hide the answer Nonagon – a nine–sided figure
Deca– Click to show or hide the answer Decathlon – a competition with ten events
Hendeca– Click to show or hide the answer Hendecagon – an eleven–sided figure
Dodeca– Click to show or hide the answer Dodecahedron – a solid figure with twelve faces
Icosa– Click to show or hide the answer Icosahedron – a solid figure with twenty faces
Chili– (killy–) Click to show or hide the answer Chiliagon – a polygon with one thousand sides
Myri(a) Click to show or hide the answer Myriagon – a polygon with ten thousand sides

Algo–, –algesia Click to show or hide the answer Analgesic – a drug to reduce pain
Andro–, –andry Click to show or hide the answer Polyandry – marrying more than one man
Anthro– Click to show or hide the answer Anthropophagy – cannibalism
Api– Click to show or hide the answer Apiary – a place where bees are kept
Aqua–, Aque– Click to show or hide the answer Aqueduct – a channel to carry water
Austral– Click to show or hide the answer Australia, Aurora Australis
Avi– Click to show or hide the answer Aviary – a place where birds are kept
Bathy– Click to show or hide the answer Bathyscaphe – a vessel for diving into deep water
Cardio– Click to show or hide the answer Cardiology - the study of heart disease
–cephal– Click to show or hide the answer Hydrocephalus – “water on the brain”
Chiro– Click to show or hide the answer Chiropody – care of the hand and foot
Chrys– Click to show or hide the answer Chrysanthemum – golden flower
Crypto– Click to show or hide the answer Cryptography; also Krypton
Cyn– Click to show or hide the answer Cynophobia (SIGH-no-phobia) – fear of dogs
Derm– Click to show or hide the answer Dermatologist – skin specialist
Emet– Click to show or hide the answer Emetic – a drug to induce vomiting
Encephal– Click to show or hide the answer Encephalopathy – a disease of the brain
Entomo– Click to show or hide the answer Entomology – study of insects
Erg– Click to show or hide the answer Ergonomics – the study of work
Erot– Click to show or hide the answer Erotic – (you know what erotic means)
Etymo– Click to show or hide the answer Etymology – study of words
Extra– Click to show or hide the answer Extraordinary – outside the ordinary
Fitz– Click to show or hide the answer Fitzpatrick, Fitzherbert, etc.
Frat– Click to show or hide the answer Fraternal – brotherly
–gamy Click to show or hide the answer Polygamy
Gastro– Click to show or hide the answer Gastronomy – study of culture and food
Genu– Click to show or hide the answer Genuflect – to bend the knee (esp. in obeisance)
Geront– Click to show or hide the answer Gerontology – the study of ageing
Gloss–, –glot Click to show or hide the answer Polyglot – one who speaks many languages
Graph–, –graph Click to show or hide the answer Graphic – (as if) written in words
Gymn– Click to show or hide the answer Gymnasium – a place where people go naked (!)
–gyny Click to show or hide the answer Misogyny – dislike of women
Haemo– Click to show or hide the answer Haemophilia – disease that prevents blood clotting
Helio– Click to show or hide the answer Heliotropic – growing towards the sun
Herpet– Click to show or hide the answer Herpetology – study of reptiles or snakes
Hetero– Click to show or hide the answer Heterogeneous – originating outside the body
Homo– Click to show or hide the answer Homogeneous – of the same kind or nature
Homosexual – attracted to members of the same sex
Hippo– Click to show or hide the answer Hippodrome – a place where horses were raced
Hydr– Click to show or hide the answer Hydroponics – growing plants in water
Hyper– Click to show or hide the answer Hyperactivity – overactive behaviour
Hypo– Click to show or hide the answer Hypothermia – low body temperature
Inter– Click to show or hide the answer International – between different countries
Intra–, Intro– Click to show or hide the answer Introspective – looking inwards
Lachry–, lacri– Click to show or hide the answer Lachrymal glands – the ones that produce tears
Lapi– Click to show or hide the answer Lapidary – an artist or artisan who works with stones
–lingua Click to show or hide the answer Sub–lingual – under the tongue
Multilingual – speaking more than one language
–lith– Click to show or hide the answer Lithography – stone writing
Megalith – great stone
Logo– Click to show or hide the answer Logophile – lover of words
–mancy Click to show or hide the answer Cartomancy – telling fortunes using cards
Mat– Click to show or hide the answer Maternal – motherly
Mono– Click to show or hide the answer Monopoly – market with one seller and many buyers
Myrmec– Click to show or hide the answer Myrmecology – the scientific study of ants
Necro– Click to show or hide the answer Necropolis – cemetery
Neo– Click to show or hide the answer Neolithic – the new Stone Age
Nepho– Click to show or hide the answer Nephogram – photograph of a cloud
Nycto– Click to show or hide the answer Nyctophobia – fear of darkness (allegedly)
Oeno– Click to show or hide the answer Oenology – study of; Oenophile – lover of
Oli– Click to show or hide the answer Oligarchy – rule by a few
Onco– Click to show or hide the answer Oncology – study of; oncogene – one that can cause
–opter– Click to show or hide the answer Coleoptera – creatures with sheathed wings
Ornitho– Click to show or hide the answer Ornithology – study of birds
Osm– Click to show or hide the answer Osmium – because of the smell of its oxide
Paleo– Click to show or hide the answer Paleolithic – the later Stone Age
Para– Click to show or hide the answer Paranormal – beyond the normal
Pat– Click to show or hide the answer Patriarch – father figure
Pelo– Click to show or hide the answer Pelotherapy – therapeutic use of mud
–phagy Click to show or hide the answer Anthropophagy – using people as food (cannibalism)
Phyto- Click to show or hide the answer Phytozoon – a plant–like animal
Pluto– Click to show or hide the answer Plutocracy – government by the rich
Pneumo– Click to show or hide the answer Pneumonia – a disease of the lung
–pod–, –ped Click to show or hide the answer Quadruped – a creature with four feet
Poly– Click to show or hide the answer Polygamy – having more than one wife
Pter– Click to show or hide the answer Pterodactyl – winged finger
Pyro– Click to show or hide the answer Pyromania – a compulsion to start fires
Rhino– Click to show or hide the answer Rhinoceros – nose–horned; Rhinoplasty – a nose job
–saur Click to show or hide the answer Dinosaur – terrible lizard
Seri– Click to show or hide the answer Serigraphy – silk screen printing
Sesqui– Click to show or hide the answer Sesquicentennial – 150 years
Somn– Click to show or hide the answer Somnambulism – sleepwalking
Strato– Click to show or hide the answer Stratocracy – government by the military
Tachy– Click to show or hide the answer Tachycardia – fast heart rate
Tele– Click to show or hide the answer Telephone – sound from afar
Thalasso– Click to show or hide the answer Thalassotherapy – use of seawater as therapy
Uxo– Click to show or hide the answer Uxoricide – murder of one’s wife
Ventri– Click to show or hide the answer Ventriloquism – speaking from the stomach
Xanth- Click to show or hide the answer Xanthosis - yellow colouring of the skin
Xeno– Click to show or hide the answer Xenophobia – fear of foreigners
Xylo– Click to show or hide the answer Xylophone – wooden sound
Zoo– Click to show or hide the answer Zoology – the scientific study of animals

© Haydn Thompson 2017