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Greek and Latin Words – Why are They Important?

Sep 6, 2022
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Greek and Latin Words 

Look at the picture given below and then mentally connect the image to a Latin root word. 

Greek and Latin Words  water, aqua

Wow!!!! 

You have guessed it correctly 

“Water, …aqua!”  

This is a picture of water pouring from a faucet.  

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You have looked at the picture and thought and said, 

“Water, …aqua!”  

Here we have associated “the water” with the Latin root aqua.  

common word Roots

Greek and Latin word roots are used to ‘determine the meaning of words.’  

What are Greek and Latin roots? Greek and Latin roots are word parts that have meaning. They are the basic blocks of thousands of English words.  

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Here are some examples: Beneficial, malicious, amorous, aquifer, multitude, immigration. All these words contain Latin roots and there are many more. 

Why Greek and Latin root words are important? 

  1. The knowledge of word roots and their meaning is important and useful because it provides the skill to decode the meaning of unfamiliar words in a variety of situations. 

Know abstract, derived roots and affixes from Greek and Latin and this knowledge can be used to analyze the meaning of complex words. 

  1. Words into parts that help us figure out their meaning: 
  1. Prefixes: 

-ful      

joyful 

-ly       

sadly 

-ness    

kindness 

  1. Suffixes: 

un-    undo  

re-     refill 

pro-   for, forward 

Prefixes are at the beginning of words. 

pre- means before 

fix   

means attach, repair  

A root which is a set of letters that have meaning that the most basic form. 

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

bicycle
  1. An example of a prefix is ______ which means ______.    

How do word parts like prefixes and suffixes help us _______?   

Example: 

The Latin root ject means “throw”. 

So, project can mean “to throw forward”. 

An example of a prefix is ______ which means ______.    

How do word parts like prefixes and suffixes help us _______?   

Example: 

The Latin root ject means “throw”. 

So, project can mean “to throw forward”. 

Now lets us discuss some important aspects of Greek and Latin root words. 

  1. A root can be at the front, middle or end of a word. 

Words in the English language are based on Greek & Latin word roots. 

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” 

i.e., The Commander was abducted by masked gunmen. 

Here is another example: 

(Root word in the middle) 

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

Word                                                               Meaning 

Geology           Earth study / study of the earth 

Telegraph     Distance writing / writing that travels far 

Tricycle       Three wheels 

Asocial       Not being companionable /  not wanting to join others 

  1. 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. That is why it is important to know how to use Greek and Latin word roots. 

Prefix + root + suffix 

1. Retrospective 

Retro = backwards 

spect = look 

-ive = having quality of 

“quality of looking backward”  

Example: History is a retrospective way of looking at life. 

2. Empathy 

Em- = having  

pathy = feeling 

So, it means: 

“having feeling”  

The soldier had empathy for the refugees. 

PRACTICE: 

Complete the following: 

  1. Biology 

Bio = _______________________ 

-logy = ___________________________ 

Therefore, it means: 

_________________________________________ 

How did we know biology meant ‘the study of life? 

____________________________________________- 

Frame: We knew that biology meant ‘the study of life 

Here is the answer!!!!  

  1. Biology 

Bio = life 

-logy = study of 

Therefore, it means: 

“The study of life” 

How did we know biology meant ‘the study of life?’ 

Frame: We knew that biology meant ‘the study of life’. 

  1. Complete the following: 

Astrology 

Astro = __________ 

-logy = _______________ 

Therefore, it means: 

_____________________________________ 

How did I determine the meaning of astrology? 

Frame: We determined the meaning of astrology by using prefixes. 

Here is the answer!!!! 

2. Astrology 

Astro = stars 

-logy = study of 

Therefore,  it means: 

“The study of stars” 

How did I determine the meaning of astrology? 

Frame: We determined the meaning of astrology by using prefixes. 

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