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Greek and Latin Root Words in the English Language

Grade 7
Jun 12, 2023

Greek and Latin Root Words

What are Greek and Latin Root Words?

Like many other languages, Latin and ancient Greek were the sources of many words in English.

Words are built using roots and affixes like jigsaw puzzle pieces

What Do Roots and Affixes Mean?

Many English words start out as a single, straightforward word that is then modified with prefixes or suffixes to indicate their meaning. The prefix or suffix applied to this fundamentally straightforward term is referred to as the root, and it is often known as the affix. Many new words have developed significantly as a result of the interaction between roots and affixes.


Affixes are the parts that are combined with the root to form a new word.

Affixes come in two categories:

  1. Prefixes are words that are added to the beginning of words.


  1. Un – Undo
  2. Re – Refill

Prefixes are the beginning of the word, ‘pre’ means before, ‘fix’ means attach or repair.

  1. Suffixes are words that are added at the end of words.


  1. Ful – Joyful
  2. Ly – Kindly
  3. Ness – kindness

A suffix is a letter or group of letters that goes at the end of a word.

English Words Can Have All Three Parts:

Prefix + Root + Suffix


Ab + duct + ed

Away from + to lead/pull + verb: past tense

  • Abducted means “pulled or lead away from.”

Example:  The mall owner was abducted by masked gunmen.


Roots can appear more than once, and anywhere in the word.

Let’s learn this with some examples:

  1. Bi – Means two or twice

Bicycle: Two pedals in circular motion.

Bifocals: Two lenses used to focus with the eyes.

  1. Inter – Between or among [Latin]

International: I have visited international airlines.

Internet: There is no internet working in our office.

  1. Ist – Someone who does.

Stylist, Florist, Guitarist, Dentist.

  • Do you observe how knowing the meaning of the root words helps us to understand the meaning of the complete word?


  1. Tele [telephone, telegram]
  2. Dia [Diagram, Dialogue]


  1. Aqua [Aquarium]
  2. Auditus [Auditorium]

The table below defines and illustrates 25 of the most common Greek roots.

Greek roots

Latin Root Words

The table below defines and illustrates 25 of the most common Latin roots.

Latin roots

We can determine the meanings of new words we come across by understanding the meanings of the common word roots. But take care—root words can have several meanings and even different shades of meaning. Additionally, terms that appear to be identical may come from various roots.

A small number of root words can also function as whole words on their own, for example, words like photo, kinesis, chrome, port, and script. These words frequently have overlapping meanings on their own, and they can also serve as the foundations of longer, more intricate words.

Identify the Root Word in Each Word

unhappy –

immature –

handful –

dislike –

replan –

slowly –

acting –

danced –

darkness –


unhappy – happy

immature – mature

handful – hand

dislike – like

replan – plan

slowly – slow

acting – act

danced – dance

darkness – dark

Let’s practice with a few examples:

Unscramble the prefixes, root words, and suffixes listed below to create new words. Ensure that each word has a prefix, root, and suffix.

prefix, root and suffix


Your responses may differ

prefix root words









Greek and Latin Root Words


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