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Common Prefixes, Suffixes and Roots

Compiled by Alice Thomas

The 20 Most Common Prefixes in Academic Texts



1. un-

not; opposite

uncover, unlock, unsafe

2. re-

again; back

rewrite, reread, return, im-, ir-, i

not; into

incorrect, insert, inexpensive, illegal, irregular, inability

4. dis-

not, away, apart, negative

disagree, discord, discomfort, discontent, distrust

5. en-, em-

cause to

enjoy, endure, enlighten, entail

6. non-


nonsense, nonverbal, nonstick, nonspecific

7. in-, im-

in, into, not

invade, implant, imperfect, immoral, inedible, incapable

8. over-

too much

overload, overdo, overact, overboard, overdose

9. mis-


misjudge, misinterpret, misguided, mismatch, misplace

10. sub-


submarine, subtext, substandard, subsitute, subversive

11. pre-


preview, pretest, prevent, preplan

12. inter-

between, among

interstate, international, intermission, intermingle, interface

13 fore-


foreshadow, foresight, foreseeable, forecast, foreground

14. de-, dis-

opposite of, not

depose, detour, dehydrated, decaffeinated, discord, discomfort, disengage

15. trans-

across; move between

transatlantic, transcend, transfer, transact, transport

16. super-


supersonic, superstar, supernatural, superstore

17. semi-


semicircle, semiprecious, semicolon, semifinal

18. anti-


antifreeze, antithesis, antitrust, antidote, antisocial

19. mid-


midterm, Midwest, midstream, midway, midnight

20. under-

too little; not enough

underfed, underdog, underestimate, underage

Ranked by Carroll et al (1971) and applied to third grade research by White, Sowell and Yanagihara (1989)


proceed. unicorn Center for Development and Learning ● www. postdate pro- forward. anterior be- to. antecedent. paralegal poly- many. committee. concur. single universe. copilot. col- together. polyester post- after. prior to project. hyperthermia mal- bad. posterior. telegraph. transport uni- one. completely belittle. multigrain. much polygon. homogenize. diameter. alongside parparofessional. commit. unicycle.cdl. concert. com-. befriend. through diagonal. bejeweled bene- good. behind postwar. con-. transact. malnuitrition micro- small microscopic. multiple para- beside. excavate. collide. from expel. transcend. collaborate. well beneficial. about circumference. hypercritical. move between transatlantic. exhale homo- same. warm thermostat. earlier. benediction. television therm- heat. maladjusted. colleague dia- across. above. homophone hyper- over. benefit. ● learn@cdl. much multiply. benevolent circum- around. evil malicious. retrogression tele- distant telephone. hypervenilate. excessive hyperactive. backward retroactive. transfer. progress retro- back.Other Common Prefixes Prefix Meaning Examples ante- before antebellum. thermal trans- across. alike homonym. microbiology. with cooperate. circumvent ● (504) 840-9786 2 . diagnostic ex- out. microwave multi- many.

octogenarian. quartile penta- quin- 5 pentameter. sextuplet. semiannual. monogamy.  millisecond. multiply. quarterly. triple tetra- quadri-. polymer. monograph. bicycle. pentagon. quadrangle. decem- 10 decade. quartet. decibel hemi- semi- half poly- multi- many hecto- cent-. triangle. semifinal. polynomial. multilingual. duo. decimal. quadruple. octopus. septi- 7 heptagon.  mille-­‐ 1000 kilogram. binoculars. heptagon. centurion. heptameter.Common Number Prefixes Greek Latin Meaning Examples monotone. triumvirate. bimonthly. polygamy. multiple Center for Development and Learning ● www. du-. tripod. semicolon.  millennium hemisphere. unicorn biology. decalogue. semester. sextagenarian hepta- ● learn@cdl. cente- 100 cent.cdl. centenary. polyester. centipede. hexameter. ● (504) 840-9786 3 . octant ennea- novem- 9 novena deca-. universe.  kilobyte. quarter. dichotomy. bilingual. monopoly. octahedron. semisweet polygon. monotheism. sextet. semicircle. triathlon. decahedron. multivitamin. septuagenarian octo- octa-. oct- 8 octagon. uniform. deci-. duel mono- uni- 1 di- bi-. quart- 4 tetrameter. duo- 2 tri- tri- 3 tricycle. multitude. quadrilateral. monologue. quadriplegic. duet. quintuplet. monochrome. quintuplicate hexa- sext- 6 hexagon. decagon. centennial. binary. cent kilo- milli-­‐. triad. multifaceted. quintet.  milligram. monomial.

Common Suffixes Suffix Meaning Examples -s. amendments. politely. what/that/which trainer. helped -ing present tense in the present walking. classify -ize. pragmatism. magnify. condemnation Center for Development and Learning ● www. to become hypnotize.cdl. happily. ruminate -en verb become. realism. cadence -dom noun place or state of being freedom. magician. Catholicism. romanticize -ly adverb how something is quickly. technician. criticize. feudalism. frighten. demonstrate. conclusion. specialist. -ian. -fy verb make or become terrify. easily. sanity. harshness. action. fasten. biologist. resentment. decadence. clarity. wishes. toaster. engineer. abruptly -acy noun state or quality privacy. tighten. straighten -ify. publicist. -eer noun one who. -or. curiosity. governor. civilize. literally. transition. teacher. procrastinate. fiefdom. eradicate. verify. literacy. mentor. helping -ate verb become complicate. responsibility -ment noun condition of argument. ● learn@cdl. prefixes -ed past tense in the past walked. contentment. ● (504) 840-9786 4 . jumped. secretly. belief communism. -sion. rectify. librarian. to make enlighten. rigidity. velocity. -ence noun state or quality of maintenance. openness. -tion noun state of being. occupancy. saliency. wisdom. loosen. vanity. pioneer -ism noun doctrine. socialism. coincidence. polarize. -es plural more than one hotels. modernize. honesty. pragmatist -ity. eminence. capitalism -ist noun one who chemist. kingdom. barely. act concession. erosion. boredom. happiness. italicise. heighten. jumping. pianist. nonchalantly. -ise verb to make. dentist. fertilize. democracy. romanticist. socialist. -ist. dominance. -ty noun quality of veracity. placate. cleanliness. apartment. brighten. martyrdom -er. rationalize. vision. judgment. hesitate. basement -ness noun state of being heaviness. rapidly -ance. buoyancy. invitation. Buddhism. survivor. laxity. chastise. orator. carefully. dampen. clarify. racism. prominence. categorize. majestically. carelessness -ion. dignify.

predictable. pilgrimage -hood noun condition of being neighborhood. -ible adjective able to be. group of leadership. mineralogy. selfless -y. rehearsal -ious. one who glossary. -al. powerless. furious. companionship. full of. terrible. having nutritious. social. childhood -ary noun place for. -ical adjective. condition. full of ● (504) 840-9786 5 . volcanic. foggy. regional. capable of comfortable. relentless. pudgy. milky. ownership. responsive. eventful. shiny. manly. refusal. historical. library. fruitless. visible -ful adjective notable for. act in a way that sleazy. sensible. proposal. territorial. cordial. ecology -age noun result of an action marriage. somewhat like creative. edible. collection of. logical. comical. wonderful. beautiful. -ly adjective characterized by. -ous adjective characterized by. hateful.cdl. likable. citizenship. curly. enjoyable. fatal. curious. secretary. noun pertaining to. colorful. caustic. bottomless. positive. selfish. funny. dignitary -ship noun art or skill of. risky. heavenly Center for Development and Learning ● www. worthy of. ● learn@cdl. childish. spatial. falsehood. prosperous -ish adjective having the quality of fiendish. friendship -able. resentful -ic. pretentious. worthless. negative. inventive -less adjective without endless. fearful. incredible. magical. boyish -ive adjective having the nature of. -ial. portentous.Common Suffixes (continued) o-logy noun study of biology. festive. sudsy. relating to energetic. crazy. historic. rank.

dict speak. incorporate. autocrat. astrology. chronicle. automobile. aquaculture. endemic. geometry. diction. homophone hydro water Greek hydroplane. injection. dem the people Greek democracy. dormouse geo earth Greek geology. credulous. inject. telegraph. dormer. aquatic aud hearing Latin audio. credentials. corporeal. tell Latin dictate. asterisk biblio book Greek ● learn@cdl. auditorium. anachronism cide to kill. aqueduct. astronomer. corpulence cred to believe Latin credit. geography.cdl. photograph. to draw Greek autograph. bibliophile. biology. audition.Common Latin and Greek Roots Root Meaning Origin Examples aqua water Greek aquarium. autonomy astro star Greek astronomy. alike Greek homonym. chronology. astrophysics. a killer Latin homocide. bibliophobia. biography. genocide corp body Latin corpse. biotic. pandemic dic. geopolitical graph to write. dictation. chronic. hydroelectric. audiovisual. verdict. antibiotic. inaudible auto self Greek autograph. dormitory. hydrogen ject throw Latin reject. suicide. corps. aquamarine. biometrics chron time Greek synchronize. predict. biblioklept bio life Greek biography. project. geographer. lithograph homo same. contradict. benediction. astronaut. geologist. dictator. bibliography. projection Center for Development and Learning ● www. demogogue. demography. ● (504) 840-9786 6 . deject. autobiography. autobiography. dehydrate. bionic. incredible demo. edict dorm sleep Latin dormant. corporation. homogenize.

org ● learn@cdl. pathology. macroclimate.Common Latin and Greek Roots (continued) junct to join Latin junction. transmission. minute. Philip phobia fear. photosynthesis. barometer. rupture. report psycho mind. megaphone. technology. centimeter. optometry. numerology. mythology luna moon Latin lunar. philharmonic. microphone. photometer. psychic. spectator. emissary pathetic. empathy. astrology. minority mit. anthropology. minuscule. pedal. emit. inspector. portage. logy study Greek geology. transmit. missile. arachnophobia phono sound Greek phonograph. friendship Greek philosopher. antipathy. geometry. telescope. phony. peddle. minimize. prospect scope look at Greek microscope. pedometer philia love. pedicure. telephoto. peddler. diameter. biology. phonogram. lunacy. intense dislike Greek claustrophobia. telepathy. periscope. mini. transport. photosensitive port carry Latin port. apathy. thermometer. ● (504) 840-9786 7 . corrupt spect see Latin respect. microcosm mega.cdl. remit. kaleidoscope mission. macroevolution min small. microscope. philanthropist. Philadelphia. minimum. xenophobic. voltammeter micro small Greek microscopic. portable. symmetry. lunatic. psychology. xylophone photo light Greek phonograph. psychologist rupt to break Latin disrupt. permit. sympathy. telephone. adjunct. zoology. submission. psychotropic. juncture logos. little Latin minimal. large Greek megaphone. symphony. transportation. macro great. sociopath Center for Development and Learning ● www. interrupt. suffering Greek ped foot Latin pedestrian. mental Greek psychology. interlunar meter measure Greek meter. spectacles. megatons. mis send Latin path feeling. inspection. megalopolis. euphony. megalith. miniature.

zoogeography. reconstruction. subterranean. extraterrestrial.Common Latin and Greek Roots (continued) script to write Latin scribble. invert. manuscript. thermal tele distant Greek telephone. telethon terra land Latin terrarium. instrument. ● learn@cdl. divert zoo animal Greek zoology. solarium. telescope. destruct. solstice.cdl. versatile. instrumental therm heat. convert. destruction. construction. Mediterranean ● (504) 840-9786 8 . telepathy. vers to turn Latin reverse. solar system. instruction. zootoxin Center for Development and Learning ● www. parasol struct build. television. telegraph. telephoto. warm Greek thermostat. prescription sol sun Latin solar. infrastructure. construe. terra firma vert. form Latin instruct. terrain.

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