100 + Greek and Latin Root Words 

The table on this page lists over 100 root words and their meanings, a couple of examples of English words made from them, and the pages on EnglishHints where you can study and practice them. This table serves as an index to the more than 14 pages of English vocabulary from Latin and Greek roots on EnglishHints.com.

More than 80 of them are from Latin, or more often Latin via French (the biggest source of English words after Old English). The words that come from Greek have an asterisk (*) in front of them. (Many Latin words also originally came from Greek. These are the ones that came more directly, or kept their Greek form.)

How Root Words Can Help You Learn English 

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Recognizing the roots of words can increase your reading comprehension as well as your vocabulary. 

I started the roots and prefix section of EnglishHints after noticing how much important vocabulary comes from a fairly small group of Latin roots. (They dominate the Academic Word List and lists of frequent TOEFL words. Many are quite common in non-academic writing as well.)

If you know prefixes and a root’s meaning, you can often guess unknown English words that come from that root. A few of the most common prefixes and their meanings are listed below, to help you figure out word meanings.

You can also check List of Prefixes for a more complete list (or Greek and Latin Prefixes for a list alphabetized by their meaning in English.)


  • ad- (or a-): toward
  • ab- : away from
  • com-/con-/co- : with
  • ex- (or e-)- : out
  • in-, im-, il- : in, inside, OR not (Inactive means not active; immobile means not moveable)
  • pre-: before
  • pro-:  forward
  • post- : after, behind
  • re-: again or backward
  • sub-:  under
  • trans-: across or through
  • un-: not

For example, the Latin root cedere (and its English forms -cede or –ceed) mean to go. The root gradi (-gress) means to step. So the English word precede means to go before; process (& procedure) are the way to do something-- to make it go forward; procession is (a lot of people) going forward; progress and progression are forward steps; recede, recession,  regress, and regression are going backward.

How to Decode New English Words

The root words table below can help you decode English words you don’t know. (To decode can mean to translate a secret code into ordinary speech. It also means is to look at the pieces of a word to figure out its possible meaning.)

To decode an English word, drop its prefixes and suffixes to find its root. (Take away the prefixes above and any others you recognize. Also remove word endings like -ing, -tion, -ly, -ment, or –ness.) So the root of ‘demobilize’ is ‘mobile,’ and the root of ‘extractible’ is ‘tract.’

Then check this table to find the root’s meaning and pages to practice it and learn other, related words. (Many of those pages also explain meanings that have moved away from the root meaning over time.)

Root Form & Spelling Differences

You might notice that some roots have several forms. I’ve tried to put the variant English forms in parentheses when they are quite different.

For example, the Latin root videre, to see, has English derivatives like ‘video’ and ‘evidence,’  but also ‘visual’ and ‘invisible’—from another form (the past participle) of videre. So after videre I added (vis). Claudere (to close) is the root of include, inclusive, exclude and exclusive. I added (clus) after the verb name so you can see the second common base form. Pellere- to drive often has a base form (puls): it’s the root of impel, impulse, repel, and repulsive, among others.

Vowels also often change—au> u in claudere, above; ae>e (or i) in aequare- equal, equity (and iniquity) or quaerere- quest,  inquire, and inquisitive.

Root Words, Meanings, Examples, & Practice Pages

A - D

actum- an act action, interactive 50, WFam
>aequus (eq)- equal equate, equinox 50
ambiguous- uncertain ambiguous, ambiguity Cls,G+L
*analogia- similar proportions analogous, analogy Cls
*analysis- separation into parts analytical, analyze Cls
*anthropo- man, human anthropomorphism Gk
audire- to hear audition, inaudible, Sense
*bios-life biologist, bioluminescence Gk.
caedere (cid)-to cut or kill accidental, suicide 50+pr
cedere (cess)- to go or yield concede, success Imp, Cls
centrum- center concentrate, geocentric G+L
*chrono- time anachronism, chronological Gk
civilis- related to citizens civic, civilization Cls
clamare- to shout claim, proclamation 50
classis- class, group classic, classification Cls
claudere (clus)- to shut or close, claudication, exclusive 50+pr
clinare- to lean declining, inclined 50+pr
comparare- to place together compare, comparison Comp
crescere- to grow crescent, decreasing 50
*cris, crit- to judge or decide critic, hypocritical Gk
currere- to run course, currency, recur 50
dicere- to say dictionary, verdict 50+mt
differre- to set apart difference, indifferent Comp
distinguire- to separate between distinction, indistinct Comp
dominari- to rule domination, predominant Cls,G+L,Pow
domus- home, house domain, domestic Power
ducere- to lead deduction, induce Imp
durare- to harden or to last duration, endurance 50

F - L

facere (fect, fi)- to make artificially, effective 50
ferre- to bring, carry conifer, inference 50+pr
finis- end, limit definitive, infinite 50+pr+mt
firmare- to make firm affirmation, infirmity 50
flare (flat)- to blow deflation, inflate 50
flectere (flex)- to bend flexible, reflection Mot
fligere (flict)- to hit (someone) afflicted, conflicting 50
fluere- to flow affluence, fluent 50
formare- to shape form, conform, reformation 50
fundere (fus)- to melt or pour confound, infusion 50
*geo- earth geologist, geography Gk
gradi(gress)to step gradual, progress 50
*graphein- to write infographic, phonograph Gk
gregare- to herd congregate, segregation 50
haerere- to attach adhesions, coherent 50+mt
*ideologia- study of ideas ideological, ideologue Gk, Cls
integrare- to make whole disintegration, integrity 50+mt
jactare (ject)- to throw dejection, projectile 50+pr
jungere (junct)- to connect or join disjunction, juncture 50
labor- work collaboration, laboratory 50
latus- side, broad equilateral, latitude 50
legis- law illegally, legitimize 50+pr
locus- place allocation, relocate 50+pr+mt
*logo- word or thought logical, psychologist Gk,Cls,G+L

M - R

mandare- to command commander, demanding 50
mergere- to dip in water emerge, immerse G+L
*metron/metrum- measure centimeter, odometer Gk
miles- soldier militant, militia Cls
*morpho- shape metamorphic, morpheme Gk
movere (mob/mot)- to move motivate, mobile, remove Mot
norma- carpenter’s square abnormality, norm Cls,G+L
*patho- suffering, disease apathy, pathology Gk
pedis- foot expedite, pedestrian 50
pellere (pulse)- to drive impel, pulse, repellant Mot
*philo- love of philanthropy, pedophile Gk,Cls,G+L
*phobia-fear acrophobia, phobic Gk
physica- study of nature physical, physics G+L
*phone- sound cacophony, stereophonic Gk
*photo- light photocopy, photovoltaic Gk
plicare, to fold complicity, replica 50+pr
*polis- city metropolitan, politics Gk
ponere (pos)- to put or place decomposition, postpone Pon
portare- to carry deportation, supporter 50
pressare- to push against impression, press, suppress Mot
*psyche- soul psychoanalysis Gk
quaerere (quir, ques)- to look for (seek) inquiry, quest, require Imp
rationalis- related to reason irrational, rationality G+L
rectus- right, straight correctible, rectitude 50
ruptus- broken disrupt, incorruptible 50

S - V

*scope- to look at microscopic, telescope Gk,G+L
scribere (scrip)- to write describe, inscription 50+mt
secures (sur)- safe security, reassurance 50
sensus- sense insensitive, sensory Sense
sequi- to follow consequence, sequential 50+mt
servare- to protect conservation, preservative 50
signare- to make a mark designate, significant 50+mt
similis (sem)- alike resemblance, similar Comp
sistere- to stand up consistency, persist G+L
*sofia (soph)- wisdom philosophical, sophistry Cls
solvere (solu)- to loosen dissolve, resolute, solution 50
specere (spic)- to look at conspicuous, suspicious Sense
spectare- to watch introspection, spectator Sense+mt
*sphere- ball atmospheric, biosphere Gk
spirare- to breathe aspiration, inspiring 50
statuere (stit)- to set (up) constitute, institution 50+pr
struere- to build constructive, destroy 50
sumere- to take consumer, presumptuous Cls
tangere (tact)- to touch attainment, intact, tangible Sense+mt
*techno- art, skill technical, technologists Gk
*tele- far telepathy, television Gk
tendere (tens)- to stretch distention, extensive Mot
tenere (tain)- to hold container, tenacious Imp
terminus- boundary or end term, termination 50
testari- to bear witness attestation, testator 50
*theoria- look at, think about theoretical, theory Cls, G+L
*thermo- hot thermometer, thermos Gk
*thesis- a proposition hypothetical, synthetic Gk,G+L
torquere (tort)- to twist distortion, tortuous 50+pr
trahere (tract)- to pull attraction, extract Mot
tribuere- to divide among, pay distribution, tributary 50+pr
turbare- to trouble disturb, turbulent 50
venire- to come event, prevention Imp
vertere (vers)- to turn conversion, inverted Imp
videre (vis)- to see evidence, invisible, vision Sense
vocare- to call advocate, vocal imp
volvere- to turn around devolve, revolt 50+pr

Go back to the list of abbreviations and page links.

Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes  has links to all the roots’ explanation and practice pages, as well as to prefix and suffix lists. If you would like to study the roots that contribute the most to English, start with  Seven Important Latin Roots or Words from the Latin Root Ponere.

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 and Latin Root Words.

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