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Greek and Latin Root Words in the English Language

Grade 8
Aug 16, 2023

The root is the most basic part of a word that cannot be further divided into more meaningful elements. Many words in the English language are based on Greek & Latin word roots.

Roots part of usually find their origin in Latin or Greek language.

A root word can be in/at:

  • The front
  • The middle
  • The end of a word

We attach prefixes, suffixes, or other modifiers to the root words which slightly change their meaning.



Scrib or script = to write

Describe, prescription

Parts of a Word

Root- contains the core meaning of the word.

We know that words are broken into parts that help us figure out their meaning:

  1. Root- Contains the core meaning of the word.
  2. Prefix- Placed at the beginning of a word to change its meaning.
  3. The suffix- Placed at the end of a word to change its meaning.

Affixes are added to the root to create a new word.


The Latin root “ject” means “throw”.

So, the project can mean “to throw forward”.

English words can have all three parts:

prefix + root + suffix

ab + duct + ed

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

Therefore, abducted means “pulled or lead away from”.

Example: The soldier was abducted by masked gunmen.

Word                                     Meaning

  1. Geology                      Earth study/study of the earth
  2. Telegraph                    Distance writing/writing that travels far
  3. Tricycle                        Three wheels
  4. Asocial                          Not being companionable /not wanting to join others

Importance of Greek and Latin Root Words

Knowing and using Greek and Latin word roots can help you figure out the meaning of words you don’t recognize.

This will make you a better reader and writer.

Now let’s discuss some of the root words, their meanings, and examples:

  1. A/An-

Meaning: not, without


Abyss- without a bottom

Achromatic- without color

  • Bi- Meaning: two


Bicycle- a vehicle on two wheels propelled by peddles

Biannual – happening twice a year

  • Cent(i)- Meaning: one hundred


Centimeter – 1/100 of a meter

Century – 100 years

  • -Less

Meaning: without


Worthless- without value

Meaningless- having no meaning or significance

  • Sub-

Meaning: under


Submerge – to put underwater

Substandard – inferior to accepted standards

  • Bene-

Meaning: good


Beneficial – producing a good effect

Benevolent – showing kindness or goodwill

  • -Or/-er/-ist

Meaning: a person who


Advisor- a person who advises others

Abductor- a person who kidnaps someone

Teacher- one who teaches.

Violinist – one who plays the violin

  • Re-

Meaning: again


Rebound -to spring back again

Rewind – to wind something backward

  • Spec-

Meaning: to see or look


Retrospective – a looking back at past things

Spectator – a person who sees an event

Spectacles- glasses

Greek and Latin Root Words


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