When it comes to reading comprehension, context is key. The same rule of thumb can apply when it comes to understanding a word you've never seen before. Breaking a word down by it's prefixes and suffixes can provide part of the meaning of the word!

Whether you’re studying for the SATs, teaching students the English language, or simply trying to stop yourself from mixing up terms, our table of roots, prefixes, and suffixes is here to help. We’ve broken down these important root words to further assist you!

Jump to the list of Suffixes!

ROOTS MEANING WORD
alter other alternate, alter ego
ami, amic- love amiable, amicable
amphi both ends or all sides amphibian
ann, enni year anniversary, annual, biennial, perennial
anthrop human, man anthropology, anthropomorphic, misanthrope
aqua, aque water aquatic, aquarium, aqueduct
arch chief, leader, ruler archangel, monarch, archaic, archenemy
arthro joint arthritis
aud sound auditorium, audible, audiologist, audiotape
bell war belligerent, bellicose
biblio book bibliography, bibliophile
bio- life biography, autobiography, biology, antibiotic
brev short brief, abbreviate
cap take, seize capture, captivate, capacity
carn meat carnivorous, chili con carne
ced yield, go recede, secede, proceed, intercede, concession
chrom- color chromatic, monochrome, polychrome
chron- time chronicle, chronology, chronometer, synchronize
cogn know recognize, cognitive, incognito
cord/chord cord harpsichord
corp body corpus, corpse, corporal
crac, crat rule, ruler autocrat, democracy, bureaucrat, democracy
cred believe credible, credulous, credibility, credit, credo
cruc cross crucifix, crucial
crusta shell crustacean
crypt hidden cryptogram, cryptology, cryptic
culp guilt culpable, culprit
dei god deity, deify
demo- people demography, democracy, epidemic
dent tooth dentist, dentifrice, dentin
derm- skin dermatology, epidermis, hypodermic
dic speak, say dictate, predict, diction, indict
dox belief, opinion orthodoxy, paradox, heterodoxy
duc, duct lead induce, deduce, seduction, conduct, abduct
duo two duo
dynam- power dynamo, hydrodynamics
ego self egotist, egomania
equ equal equal, equity, equanimity, equate, equidistant
fac make, do manufacture, factory, benefactor
fil threadlike filament
frater brother fraternal, fraternize
gam- marriage monogamy, polygamy, bigamy
geo- earth geopolitical, geology, geography, geothermal
glyph vertical groove hieroglyphics
grad, gress step gradual, progression, transgression
graph- writing, printing graphology, biography, telegraph, geography
gym naked gymnasium
gyn- woman gynecologist, androgynous
hemo, hema, hem blood hemophilia, hematology, hemoglobin
holo whole, entire holograph
hydro, hydr water dehydrate, hydraulics, hydroelectric, hydroplane
iso equal, identical isolate
ject throw inject, reject, subject, projection
jud judge judicial, judge, adjudicate
leg, lect read, choose legible, lectern, lecturer, election
liter letter literature, illiterate, literal
loc place local, location
log word monologue, epilogue
luc light lucid, elucidate
magn large magnify, magnate, magnificent
man hand manufacture, manual, manuscript
mar sea marine, mariner
mater mother maternal, maternity, matriarchy, matricide
mere part, segment mere
meta, met behind, between metacognition
metri, meter- measure geometric, thermometer, odometer
min small minority, minuscule, minute
mit, miss send permit, submission, mission, emit,
mob, mot, mov move mobile, automobile, motion, promote, movie
mon warn premonition, admonition
mor, mort death mortal, mortician, immortality
morph form, structure metamorphosis, amorphous, morphology
mut change mutant, mutability, mutate
neuro nerve neurology, neurosis, neurobiology
nomen /nomin name nominal, nominate, nomenclature
nov new novel, renovate, innovation, novella
nym, onym word, name synonym, acronym, anonymous, pseudonym
odonto tooth orthodontist
ortho- straight, correct orthodox, orthodontist, orthopedic
pac peace pacify, Pacific Ocean, pacifist
pater father paternal, paternity, patricide, patrilineal, patriotic
path feeling, suffering sympathy, apathy, empathy, telepathy, pathology
ped, pod foot pedal, pedometer, centipede, gastropod
pel, puls push pulsate, repulsive, impulse, compel, propel
pend hang, weigh pendulum, pendant, suspend, pending
phon-, phono- sound, voice telephone, euphony, cacophony, phonograph
plan flat planar, plantation, plane
pneum lung pneumatic
pod feet podiatrist
port carry portable, transport, portage, report,
pot power potent, omnipotent, potentate
psych- soul, spirit, mind psychology, psychic, psychobiography
pugna fight pugnacious, pugilist
quer, quis ask query, inquisition,
scent, scend climb ascend, ascent
schizo, schiz division, split schizophrenic
sci know scientific
sciss cut scissors
scrib, script write manuscript, scribe, proscribe, scripture
sec, sect cut dissect, section
sed, sess sit sedentary, session
sens, sent feel, be aware sensible, sentient
sequ, secu follow sequence, sequel, consecutive
serv serve, protect service
simil same similar, assimilate, simile, facsimile (fax)
siphon tube siphon
sol sun solar
son sound sonar, resonate, unison
soph wisdom, knowledge philosophy, sophisticated, sophomore (wise fool)
spec, spic look, see spectacles, spectator, inauspicious, prospect
spir coil spiral
spir breathe inspire, respiration, conspire, perspiration
spond, spons promise, answer for respond, responsible
spont by one's own force spontaneous
stat stay, position station
tang, tact touch tactile, tangible
temp time temporary, temporize
ten, tent hold tentative, tenable, tenuous
terr earth subterranean, terrain, terrestrial, disinter
theo god, deity theology, polytheism, atheist, monotheism
therm- heat thermal, thermos, thermometer
trophy nutrition, food atrophy
uro urine urologist
vac empty vacation, vacuum, vacuous, vacant
ven, vent come, go intervene, convene, contravene
ver truth veracity, verify, verity
vert turn introvert, irreversible, vertigo
vit life vital, revitalize, vitamin
voc call revoke, invocation, vocal, evocative, convocation
zoo animal zoo, zoology, zoolatry


SUFFIX DEFINITION EXAMPLE
-agog, -agogue leader demagogue, pedagogue
-cide kill(ing) patricide, infanticide, herbicide. suicide
-ectomy cutting appendectomy, splenectomy
-ia, -y act, state amnesia, mania, democracy, anarchy
-ic, -tic, -ical, -ac having to do with anthropomorphic, dramatic, biblical, cardiac
-ics things having to do with optics, physics
-isk, -iscus small asterisk--a little star
-ism the belief in pacifism, terrorism, socialism, communism
-ist one who believes in pacifist, terrorist, socialist, communist
-ite one connected with meteorite, polite, cosmopolite
-logy study field of biology, geology, etymology, cardiology
-oid resembling, like-shaped asteroid, spheroid
-or, -er one who takes part in doctor, actor, teacher, driver
-phobia exaggerated fear photophobia, claustrophobia, agoraphobia
-sis act, state, condition of analysis