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Resources -> Improve English Vocabulary -> Learning Root Words

Learning Root Words

The English language has its roots in languages like Greek and Latin. An understanding of the common root words will help us make educated guesses about the meaning of new words and substantially strengthen our vocabulary.

Given below is a list of commonly used root words, their meanings and some examples of words formed using these root words.

Root Words Exercise 1

Root Words Exercise 2

ROOT

MEANING

EXAMPLE WORDS

Ambi

Both

  • Ambidextrous – Use both hands well

  • Ambiguity – Double meaning, can be interpreted in more than one way

Aqua

Water

  • Aquarium – Artificial environment for water plants and animals

  • Aquatic – Plant or animal living in water

Art

Skill

  • Artistic – Natural skill in art

  • Artisan – Skilled manual work

Auto

Self

  • Automatic – Working by itself

  • Autonomous – Having self-government

Bi

Two, Twice

  • Biannual – Occurring twice in a year

  • Bigamy – Being married twice

Bio

Life

  • Biology – Study of living things

  • Biohazard – Risk to living things

Cardio

Heart

  • Cardiology – Branch of medicine dealing with the heart

  • Cardiovascular – Pertaining to the heart and blood vessels

Cent

Hundred

  • Centenary – Hundredth Anniversary

  • Centenarian – Person who is hundred or more years old

Cert

Sure

  • Certificate – Document attesting a fact like birth, death, graduation, marriage etc

  • Certitude – Feeling of certainty

Chrono

Time

  • Chronology – Study of events in the order of their occurrence

  • Chronograph – Instrument that records time with high accuracy

Counter

Contrary

  • Counter-intuitive – Contrary to intuition

  • Counter-productive – Having the opposite effect as intended

De

Remove

  • Detoxify – Remove the poisonous substances

  • Dethrone – Remove from the throne

Dem

People

  • Democracy – System of government elected by the people

  • Demography - Statistics of births, deaths, mortality etc. of people

Derm

Skin

  • Dermatologist – Doctor specialized in the study of skin disorders

  • Dermatitis – Inflammation of the skin

Flor

Flower

  • Florist – Person who sells flowers

  • Floral – Decorated with flowers

Gastro

Stomach

  • Gastritis – Inflammation of the stomach lining

  • Gastroenterologist – Doctor specialized in the study of stomach and intestinal disorders

Grat

Pleasing

  • Gratify – Delight or please someone

  • Gratuity – Tip, token of appreciation

Hepa

Liver

  • Hepatitis – Inflammation of the liver

  • Hepatic – Relating to the liver

Hept

Seven

  • Heptagon – Figure with seven sides

  • Heptathlon – Athletic event having seven events

Hex

Six

  • Hexagon – Figure with six sides

  • Hexavalent – Having a valency of six

Inter

Between

  • Interconnect – Connect with each other

  • Interdepend – Depend on each other

Iso

Equal

  • Isosceles – Triangle having two equal sides

  • Isobar – Line on map connecting points of equal barometer pressures

Jud

Law

  • Judiciary – Collective of judges

  • Judgement – Decision of a court

Kilo

Thousand

  • Kilogram – Thousand grams

  • Kilolitre – Thousand litres

Lacto

Milk

  • Lactic – Obtained from mil

  • Lactose – Sugar occurring in milk

Mal

Bad

  • Malevolent – Wishing bad things on others

  • Malice – Intention to do evil

Mort

Death

  • Mortuary – Place where dead bodies are kept until they are cremated or buried

  • Mortician - Undertaker

Narr

Tell

  • Narrate - To tell a story

  • Narrator - Person who tells a story.

Nov

New

  • Novelty – Newness or originality

  • Novice - Beginner

Oct

Eight

  • Octagon – Figure with eight sides

  • Octave – Stanza of eight lines

Ocu

Eye

  • Ocular – Connected with the eyes

  • Oculist – Specialist in the medical treatment of eye disorders

Omni

All

  • Omnipresent – Present everywhere at the same time

  • Omnivorous – Eating all kinds of foods

Ortho

Straight

  • Orthodontics – Dealing with straightening of teeth

  • Orthopaedics – Dealing with the straightening of bones

Pan

All

  • Panorama – An all-around view

  • Pandemic – Prevalent all over a country or world

Ped

Foot

  • Pedicure – Treatment of the feet

  • Pedal – Foot operated lever

Poly

Many

  • Polygon – Figure with many sides

  • Polygamy – Having more than one husband or wife at the same time

Psych

Mind

  • Psychiatry – Study of mental diseases

  • Psych – Prepare oneself mentally for a task

Quad

Four

  • Quadruple – Increase four times

  • Quadrangle – Figure having four sides

Quin

Five

  • Quintuple – Increase five times

  • Quintuplet – Five children born at the same time

Semi

Half

  • Semi-circle – Half of a circle

  • Semiaquatic – Animal living partly on land and partly in water

Sept

Seven

  • Septuplet – Seven children born at the same time

  • Septuagenarian – People aged before 70 and 79

Trans

Across

  • Transpacific – Across the Pacific Ocean

  • Transnational – Across national boundaries

Tri

Three

  • Triangle – Figure with three sides

  • Triathlon - Athletic event having three events

Uni

One

  • Unitarian – People who believes God is one person

  • Unique – One of a kind

Vince

Conquer

  • Invincible – One who cannot be conquered

  • Convince – Persuade a person