Cuesta College Logo Academic Support
Cuesta Home Academic Support Center Academic Support Disabled Student Programs & Services Tutorial Services

Common Word Roots

Root Meaning Example Definition
agri field agronomy field-crop production and soil management
anthropo man anthropology the study of man
astro star astronaut one who travels in interplanetary space
bio life biology the study of life
cardio heart cardiac pertaining to the heart
cede go precede to go before
chromo color chromatology the science of colors
demos people democracy government by the people
derma skin epidermis the outer layer of skin
dyna power dynamic characterized by power and energy
geo earth geology the study of the earth
helio sun heliotrope any plant that turns toward the sun
hydro water hydroponics growing of plants in water reinforced with nutrients
hypno sleep hypnosis a state of sleep induced by suggestion
ject throw eject to throw out
magni great, big magnify to enlarge, to make bigger
man(u) hand manuscript written by hand
mono one monoplane airplane with one wing
ortho straight orthodox right, true, straight opinion
pod foot pseudopod false foot
psycho mind psychology study of the mind in any of its aspects
pyro fire pyrometer an instrument for measuring temperatures
script write manuscript hand written
terra earth terrace a raised platform of earth
thermo heat thermometer instrument for measuring heat
zoo animal zoology the study of animals

Common Prefixes

ante- before antebellum before the war
anti- against antifreeze liquid used to guard against freezing
auto- self automatic self-acting or self-regulating
bene- good benefit an act of kindness; a gift
circum- around circumscribe to draw a line around; to encircle
contra- against contradict to speak against
de- reverse, remove defoliate remove the leaves from a tree
dis- apart dislocate to unlodge
dys- bad dysfunctional not functioning
ecto- outside ectoparasite parasite living on the exterior of animals
endo- within endogamy marriage within the tribe
ex- out excavate to dig out
equi- equal equidistant equal distance
extra- beyond extraterrestrial beyond the earth
hyper- over hypertension high blood pressure
hypo- under hypotension low blood pressure
in- in interim in between
inter- between intervene come between
intra- within intramural within bounds of a school
intro- in, into introspect to look within, as one's own mind
macro- large macroscopic large enough to be observed by the naked eye
mal- bad maladjusted badly adjusted
micro- small microscopic so small that one needs a microscope to observe
multi- many multimillionaire one having two or more million dollars
neo- new neolithic new stone age
non- not nonconformist one who does not conform
pan- all pantheon a temple dedicated to all gods
poly- many polygonal having many sides
post- after postgraduate after graduating
pre- before precede to go before
pro- for proponent a supporter
proto- first prototype first or original model
pseudo- false pseudonym false name; esp., an author's pen-name
re-, red- back again rejuvenate to make young
re-, red- together reconnect to put together again
retro- backward retrospect a looking back on things
semi- half semicircle half a circle
sub- under submerge to put under water
super- above superfine extra fine
tele- far telescope seeing or viewing afar
trans- across transalpine across the Alps

Number prefixes

uni- one tetra- four oct- eight
mono- one quint- five nov- nine
bi- two pent- five dec- ten
duo- two sex- six lat- side
di- two hex- six ped- foot
tri- three sept- seven pod- foot
quad- four hept- seven  

Math & Science Affixes and Roots

Root or Affix Example
aqua (water) aquarium
hydro (water) hydroplane
hemi (half) hemisphere
semi (half) semicircle
equi (equal) equivalent
tele (far off) telescope
micro (small) microfilm
onomy (science of) astronomy
ology (study of) geology
uni (one) universe
bi (two) bicycle
tri (three) triangle
octa (eight) octagon
dec (ten) decade
centi (hundred) centimeter
milli (thousand) millimeter
bio (life) biology
astro (star) astronaut
thermo (heat) thermodynamic
meter (measure) diameter
ped (foot) pedestrian
pod (foot) tripod

Prefixes that mean "no": a- de- dis-, in- non- un-, contra

Examples: disqualify, nondescript, unscrupulous, contradict, inadvertent

Prefix Meaning Examples
a-, an- without, not asexual, atypical, amoral, anarchy
de- reverse action, away defrost, demystify, desensitize, deduct
dis-, dif-, di- not, apart dissatisfied, disorganized, different, divert
in-, il-, it-, im- not inappropriate, invisible, illegal, impossible
non- not nonproductive, nonessential, nonsense
un- not unlikely, unnoticeable, unreliable
contra-, counter- against contrary, contradict, counterproductive

Prefixes that indicate "when," "where," or "more": pre-, post-, ante-, inter-, infra-, traps-, sub-, circum-, ultra­

Examples: premature, postscript, anteroom, intervene, transformation

Prefix Meaning Examples
pre-, pro- before pre-dinner,  preliminary,  previous,  prologue
post- after postwar,  postoperative,  postpone
ante- before antecedent,  antechamber
inter- between, among interstate,  intercept,  interfere
intra- within intramural,  intrastate,  intravenous
trans- across transcontinental,  transparent,  transaction
sub- under submarine,  submerge,  subjugate
circum- around circumnavigate,  circumference
ultra- beyond, on the far side of, excessive ultrasonic,  ultraviolet,  ultraconservative


Vocabulary Guide

Previous Page

Back to Table of Contents

Next Page

Return to Top