60+ Greek & Latin Prefixes

What's the value of knowing common Greek and Latin prefixes? They will help you with the meaning of so many English words! (Besides, that, it's fun to see where different words came from!)

The list on this page is arranged according to the meaning of each prefix in English, then the Latin and Greek prefixes for that meaning. (Several do not have a Greek prefix commonly used in English.)

You can see many of the same prefixes in alphabetical order BY PREFIX on List of Prefixes. That list also includes examples and a few tips on their use. It has a few prefixes that aren't Latin or Greek. Most are from English (like fore-, over-, & un- .) Counter- and non- on that list come from French.

The list below also includes some less common prefixes (mostly from Greek) that were not included on the main List of Prefixes. 

Greek vs. Latin

A list of Latin & Greek prefixes arranged by English meaning. Greek temple image & the start of the prefix table, then a little about Greek vs Latin prefixes.

Many Greek and Latin prefixes are related.

They may be cognates (ambi-/amphi-, extra-/ exo-) or borrowed terms like macro-. 

(The Romans, like the English, expanded their vocabulary with terms and ideas from the peoples they contacted or conquered.)

We use Latin prefixes more often than Greek ones in common English words, but both are important. Most medical and mathematical terminology comes from Greek.

(To save space, 'prefix' is written as 'PF' in the table titles.) 

The List: Meaning, Latin Prefixes, & Greek 

MEANING LATIN PF GREEK PF
above, excess super-, ultra- hyper-
across, beyond, through trans- dia-
after post-
again, back re-
against contra-, (in-, ob-) anti-
all omni- pan
around circum- peri-
away or from ab- (or de-) apo-, ap-
bad, difficult, wrong mal- dys-
before ante-, pre- pro-
between, among inter-
both ambi- amphi-
completely or very de-, ob-
down de-, ob-
four quad- tetra-
good ben-, bene- eu-
half, partially semi- hemi-
in, into il-, im-, in-, ir- en-
in front of pro- pro-
inside intra- endo-
large (macro-, from Greek) macro-
many multi- poly-
not* de-, dis-, in-, ob- a-, an-
on epi-
one uni- mono-
out of ex-, e- ek-
outside extra-, extro- ecto-, exo-
over ob- (sometimes) epi-
self ego- auto-, aut-,auth-
small micro-
three tri- tri-
through trans- dia-
to or toward ad-, a-, ac-, as- epi-
two bi- di-
under, insufficient sub- hypo-
with co-. com-, con- sym-, syn-
within, inside intra- endo-
without dis- (sometimes) a-, an-

* These negative prefixes mean 'not' or something similar. They may reverse the action or meaning of the word they attach to. For more information, see Negative Prefix List. 

(The most common negative prefix of all in English is 'un-'. We have two others that are also not from Latin or Greek: 'mis-' and 'non-'.)

See These Prefixes in Use:

Decorative tree with orange & multi-colored fall leaves & big roots, saying: 'These 50+ Word Roots Can Help You Learn over 370 English Words (just on this page)'

Recognizing these word roots can help you learn words from emissions to transmit, aggression to progress & regressive , and so many more!

picture of an old Greek temple (the Parthenon)

Learn and practice the Greek roots most commonly used in English. Examples from tele (=far) + graph (writing) to psych (soul) + logy (study of). Some of these, like bio-, cardio-, & tele-, above, can also be used as prefixes.

Picture of 3 fishes swimming together and a different-colored fish swimming in the opposite direction. One fish says of him: 'He always was a nonconformist.'

Knowing a few roots & prefixes can help you figure out meanings of new words. These worksheets show you how, step by step.

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