Many Greek roots have entered English, both directly
(especially in medical and scientific vocabulary) and by way of Latin.
Recognizing a few of their common bases (combined with a few prefixes) will
increase your reading comprehension. Besides, they’re fun!
Here’s a list of some of the most common Greek roots, in
their usual combining form. (Most end in ‘o.’ You just drop the ‘o’ if the
following syllable begins in a vowel.)
anthropo- man, human : anthropology, anthropomorphic, philanthropy
bios- life : antibiotic, biology, biosphere, probiotic, symbiosis
chrono- time : chronic, chronology, chronometer
cris, crit- judge or decide : crisis, criteria (standards
to use to judge something), critical, hypocrisy
geo- earth : geologist, geometry, geographic graph (from graphein-
to write or draw, & graphia- a description
of) : calligraphy, demographic, digraph, graph, (a chart showing information in
the form of a picture), graphic, photograph
logo- (often logy- study of, from logia- a speaking about, logos-
word or thought) : biological, cardiology, dermatologist, ideological, ideology,
logic, mythology, psychological, theological
lexis- word: lexical, lexicography (dictionary writing)
metron- measure : metric, speedometer, thermometer
morpho- form or shape : metamorphosis, morphology
patho- feeling , suffering, disease : antipathy, apathetic, empathy,
pathogen, pathological, sympathetic
philo- love (of) : philanthropy, philosophical, technophile
phobia- fear : agoraphobia, hydrophobia, technophobia
phone- sound : phonics, phonological, phonograph, symphony,
photo- light : photography, photosynthesis
polis- city : metropolis, policy, political, politician
psych- (via Latin)-soul, mind : psychiatrist, psychic,
scope- to look at : microscopic, scope (now the breadth
and size of a project or vision, enough space to work), stethoscope, telescope
sphere- ball : atmosphere, hemisphere, sphere, spherical
techno- art, skill : technique, technology
tele- far : telegram, telegraph, telephoto, telescope
thermo- hot : thermal, thermodynamic, thermostat
thesis (plural theses) - a proposition (idea proposed for
debate) : antithesis, hypothesis, synthesis, thesis Practice with
Two Greek suffixes and a few prefixes that you might need: - ic, -al = pertaining to, related to; a- = without, anti- = against, hemi- = half, hypo- = under, sym- or syn- = with
: Choose the best answer to each question, then press the right arrow to move to the next question.
1. If a person really dislikes you their feeling for you is:
? apathy ? antipathy ? empathy ? sympathy
2. We should make decisions based on clear, definite
? calligraphy ? criteria ? hypotheses ? techniques
3. Someone who is logical
? writes well ? feels deeply ? thinks clearly ? studies the mind intensely
4. The northern hemisphere is
? north of Europe in geography books ? a geographic line on the globe ? the northern half of the earth ? the Americas
5. An idea someone proposes is a (or an)
? antithesis ? logic ? synthetic ? thesis
6. We measure heat with a
? chronometer ? stethoscope ? thermometer ? thermostat
7. Someone who studies disease is a
? pathetic ? pathologist ? psychiatrist ? psychologist
8. A technophobe
? fears technology ? studies technology ? loves technology ? works with technology
9. Philanthropy is based on
? the study of money ? the love of philosophy ? the love of mankind ? the study of mankind
? the whole living world ? a representation of life together with death ? anything that works against life ? two forms of life working together for mutual benefit Practice these Greek roots more with the Greek and Latin Roots Quiz .
For more Greek Prefixes, see
Greek and Latin Prefixes.
If you're interested in teaching roots, check out the inexpensive lessons and practice activities on
. Root, Prefix, and Suffix Worksheets
Home> Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes> Greek Roots.
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