Latin word roots in biology

A

  • a(n)- without
  • ab- away from
  • abduc- lead from
  • acanth- prickle
  • acer- without horns
  • acetabul- vinegar cup
  • aceto- acid
  • acin- cluster of grapes
  • acri- acrid, sharp
  • acro- summit, top
  • actin- ray
  • acust- of hearing
  • ad- towards
  • adipo- fat
  • adventit- coming to
  • aegopod- goat-foot
  • aestiv- summer
  • affer- carrying to
  • agrest- rural, wild
  • agro(st)- field
  • al(i)- wing
  • alb- white
  • allant- sausage
  • allium garlic
  • alopec- fox
  • altissim- tall
  • alve- pit, socket
  • ambly- blunt
  • ambul- walk
  • ammo- sand
  • amnio- fetal envelope
  • amoeb- change
  • amphi- both
  • amplex- clasping
  • ampulla- flask
  • amygdala- almond shaped organ
  • amyl- starch
  • an- without
  • ana- up, back, again
  • anatol- east
  • Anagallis- delightful
  • anchus- bend, bay
  • andr- male
  • anemo- wind
  • angi- vessel
  • angul- angle
  • angusti- narrow
  • ankylo- stiff jointed
  • annu- annual
  • anomo- lawless, irregular
  • anser- geese
  • ante- before
  • antho- flower
  • anthro- human
  • anti- against, opposite
  • antr- cave
  • apo- separate, from
  • aqua- water
  • aguilin- eagle-beaked
  • arach- spider
  • arbor- tree
  • arc- arch
  • arch(ae/i)- ancient
  • arct(i/o)- north, bear
  • are- space
  • areni- sandy
  • arg(en/lyr)- silver
  • arthro- joint
  • artic- jointed
  • artio- even-numbered
  • arundin- reed-like
  • asc- sac
  • asper- rough
  • aspid- shield
  • ast(e)r- star
  • astrag- dice (originally a knuckle bone)
  • ater, atra- black
  • Atlas= a Titan(mythical giant) who supported the world on his shoulders
  • atr(ium)- vestibule
  • Atropos= one of the Fates who cut the thread of life
  • aur- ear, gold
  • austral- southern
  • auto- self
  • aux- grow
  • avi- bird
  • axi- axis
  • azyg- unpaired baca- small berry

B

  • baccatus- berried
  • baena- walking
  • balan- acorn
  • barb- beard
  • basi- at the bottom
  • bat(is) skate, ray
  • bdella- sucker
  • bell- pretty
  • bi- two
  • bi(ola)- life
  • blast- germ
  • bore- north
  • botry- small bunch of grapes
  • bov- ox
  • brachi- arm
  • brachy- short
  • brady- slow
  • branch- gill
  • brevi- short
  • brizo- to nod
  • bromo- oats, broom, shadow
  • bronch- windpipe
  • bucca- mouth cavity
  • bulbos- bulbous
  • bulla- bubble, flask
  • bullat- wrinkled
  • buno- hill
  • bursa- pouch, purse

C

  • caduci- temporary
  • caec- blind
  • caerul- sky blue
  • caespit- tufted
  • calam- reed, aspen
  • calc- stone
  • calli- beautiful
  • callos callous
  • calor- heat
  • calyx cup, chalice
  • camp- field
  • campanula bell
  • cani- dog
  • cap(it)- head
  • capill- hair
  • capsella- small box
  • card- heart
  • carin- keel
  • cam- flesh
  • carotid- producing stupor
  • carp- seed, wrist
  • cary- nut
  • cata- down
  • cauda- tail
  • cav- hollow
  • centi- hundred
  • ceph(al)- head
  • cera(s)(t)- horn
  • cerc- horns, lobes, short tail
  • cerebro- brain
  • cerv- neck
  • ch(e)ir- hand
  • chaero- to please
  • chaet- bristle
  • chamae- on ground
  • chel- turtle
  • cheno- goose
  • chiasm- crossing
  • chil- lip
  • chlamy- outer garment
  • chlor- green
  • choan- funnel
  • chondr- cartilage
  • chord- cord
  • chorion membrane
  • chrom- colour
  • chrys- golden
  • chyl- fluid
  • chym- juice
  • cili- eyelash
  • ciner- ashen, grey
  • cipit- head
  • circum- around
  • cirr- tentacle (originally curl)
  • cl(e)ist- closed
  • clad- branch
  • clast- broken
  • clav- key
  • cleid- key
  • cleithr- bar, key
  • clin- bed, recline
  • cloaca sewer
  • coccus berry, grain
  • cochl- shell
  • coel- hollow
  • col(on) large intestine
  • coll- neck
  • collat- borne together
  • columella little column
  • com- with
  • commis- sent out
  • communis- colonial
  • commutat- changed
  • compact- compact
  • compress- flattened
  • con- with
  • conch- shell
  • condyl- knuckle
  • cono- cone
  • contra- opposite
  • convolvo- to entwine
  • copro- dung
  • cora(xlg)- raven
  • corb- basket
  • cord- heart
  • corium- leather
  • corn- horn
  • coron- crown
  • corp- body
  • cort- bark
  • cost- rib
  • cotyl- cup
  • crani- skull
  • crass- thick
  • crep- shoe
  • cribi- sieve
  • cric- ring
  • crispus curled
  • crist- crest
  • crosso- fringe, tassel
  • cru(rals)- shank
  • cruci- cross-like
  • crypt- hidden
  • cten- comb
  • cune-wedge
  • cusp- lance, point
  • cuti- skin
  • cyan- blue
  • cycl- circular
  • cyno- dog
  • cyst- capsule
  • cyt- cell

D

  • dactyl- finger
  • dasy- shaggy
  • deci- ten
  • decid- falling off
  • decuss- cross banding
  • deka- ten
  • delph- womb
  • delphis- dolphin
  • demi- half
  • dendr- tree
  • dent- tooth
  • derm- skin
  • dero- persisting
  • desmo- band
  • deut- second
  • dextro- right
  • di(a)- two
  • dia- through
  • didym- twin
  • digit- finger
  • dino- terrible
  • diplo- double
  • dipso- thirst
  • dissect- deeply cut
  • dodeca- twelve
  • don't- tooth
  • dors- back
  • drom- quick running
  • dubi- doubtful
  • dulci- sweet
  • duo- two
  • dur- hard

E

  • echino- spiny
  • echis- viper
  • eco- house
  • ecto- outside
  • effer- carrying away
  • effusus- loosely spreading
  • ejacul- throw out
  • elasmo- plate, flat
  • elat- tall
  • -ell- diminutive
  • embio- living
  • embol- thrown in
  • endo- inside
  • engy- narrow
  • ensi- sword
  • entolenter- inside
  • eo- dawn, east
  • epi- upon
  • equi- horse, equal
  • erect- upright
  • erythr- red
  • esculent- edible
  • ethm- sieve
  • eu- well, very
  • eury- wide
  • ex- out of
  • exiguus- slender
  • exo- outside
  • extens- draw out
  • extra- beyond
  • extrins- coming from

F

  • fab- bean
  • falc- sickle-shaped
  • fallax- false
  • fasc(ic)- bundle
  • fatuus- foolish, useless
  • feli- cat
  • fer- carry
  • ficar- fig-like
  • fil- thread
  • fistul- hollow, tube
  • flacc- flabby
  • flav- yellow
  • flexu- wavy
  • flocculus- lock of wool
  • fluitans- floating
  • foen- hay
  • foetid- foul smelling
  • foli- leaf
  • fontan- fountain
  • foramen- opening
  • fornix- vault
  • fovea- shallow round depression
  • fruticans- shrubby
  • fund- to pour
  • furc(ul)- fork

G

  • gal- milk
  • gale- weasel
  • gall- of France
  • gangli- knot
  • gano- shining
  • gast(e)r- stomach, pouch
  • gemin- twins
  • gemm- bud
  • genu- knee, joint
  • geranium- crane
  • gerro- shield
  • gladi- sword
  • glen- socket
  • glia- glue
  • glom(er)- half of yam
  • glo(ss/tt)- tongue
  • glut- sticky
  • gl(uly)c- sweet
  • glypt- carved, engraved
  • gnaph- wool
  • gnath- jaw
  • goni- angle
  • gono- seed
  • gracil- slender
  • gram- of grass
  • gymn- naked
  • gyn- woman
  • gyr- turning

H

  • haem- blood
  • hal- salty
  • hallu(x/ci)- big toe
  • hamat- hook
  • haplo- single, simple
  • hasta(t)- spear-tip shape
  • hect- hundred
  • heira- hawk
  • helios- sun
  • helminth- worm
  • helo- wart
  • hemi- half
  • hepa(r/t)- liver
  • hepta- seven
  • hetero- different
  • hex- six
  • hibem- winter
  • hippo- horse
  • hirsut- hairy
  • hispid- bristly
  • histri- actor
  • holo- complete, whole
  • homo- man, same
  • homal- flat
  • hormon- that which excites
  • hortens- of gardens
  • humus- ground
  • hyal- glassy
  • hydr- water
  • hyemal- winter
  • hyo- U-shaped
  • hyper- above
  • hypo- beneath

I

  • ichthy- fish
  • -ida- like
  • -idae- ending of zoological family names
  • ileum- twisted
  • impar- unpaired
  • in- in, not
  • -in- diminutive
  • -inae- ending of zoological sub-family names
  • incarnat- flesh coloured
  • incis- cutting in
  • incus- anvil
  • inermis- unarmed
  • inflexis- rigid
  • infra- under
  • inter- between
  • intra- within
  • iod- violet
  • -iola- diminutive
  • iris- rainbow
  • iso- equal
  • iter- passage

J

  • jug- yoked together
  • jungoljunc- to bind

K

  • ket- ketone
  • kilo- thousand

L

  • labi- lips
  • labyrinth- tortuous passage
  • lacer- torn
  • lacrim- tears
  • lact- milk
  • lacuna- space
  • laevo- left
  • lagena- flask
  • lamella- leaf, layer
  • lan(at)- wool
  • lanceol(at)- lance-shaped
  • lati- broad
  • lecith- egg yolk
  • lemm- skin, husk
  • lens- lentil, bean
  • leo(n)- lion
  • lepid- scale
  • lepto- slender
  • leuc- white
  • levator- lifter
  • lign- wood
  • ligul- strap-shaped
  • lin- line
  • ling- tongue
  • lip- fat
  • lith- stone
  • log(y)- discourse
  • loph- crest
  • lumen- cavity
  • luna- moon
  • lupus wolf
  • lute- yellow
  • lymph- clear water
  • lysis- loosen

M

  • macr- large
  • macula- spot
  • magni- large
  • maj- greater
  • mala- cheek
  • malleus- hammer, mallet
  • mamma- breast
  • mandib- lower jaw
  • manu- hand
  • maritim- of the sea
  • marsupium- pouch
  • masseter- chewer
  • mast- nipple
  • mat(e)ri- mother
  • maxi- large
  • maxill- jaw
  • maxim- greatest
  • meatus- passage
  • medi- medium
  • medull- marrow
  • mega- large
  • mel(l)i- honey
  • melan- black
  • menin(x,g)- membrane
  • meno- moon
  • mer- part
  • meso- middle
  • meta- after
  • micro- small
  • milli- thousand
  • min- smaller
  • minim- smallest
  • mirabile- wonderful
  • miss- sent
  • mito- thread
  • mixi- mingle
  • moll- soft
  • monil- string of beads
  • mono- one
  • montan- of mountains
  • morph- form
  • motor- mover
  • multi- many
  • mural- walls
  • muri- mouse
  • myo- muscle, mouse
  • myri- countless
  • myx- mucous
  • myz- sucker

N

  • na(rls)- nose
  • necro- dead
  • necto- swimming
  • nema- hair
  • nemoral- in woods
  • neo- new
  • nephr- kidney
  • neur- nerve
  • nictitat- winking
  • nigr- black
  • non- not
  • nona- nine
  • noth- spurious
  • notho- southern
  • noto- back, south
  • nu(clx)- nut
  • nuch- back of neck
  • nucle- little nut
  • nud- naked
  • nulli- none
  • nutans- noddi

O

  • obtect- concealed
  • obturat- closed
  • obtusi- blunt
  • occiden- Western
  • occip- back of head
  • oct- eight
  • odont- tooth
  • odor- fragrant
  • oecious- house of
  • oed- swollen
  • oen- wine
  • oesoph- gullet
  • officinal- used in medicine
  • -oid- like
  • olecran- skull of elbow
  • oleo- oily
  • olfact- smelling
  • oligo- few
  • oliva- olive
  • omaso- paunch
  • oment- fat skin
  • omm- eye
  • omo- shoulder
  • omphalo- navel
  • onto- existing
  • oo- egg
  • op(t)- eye
  • operculum- little cover
  • ophi- snake
  • ophthalmo- eye
  • opistho- behind
  • opoter- either
  • or- mouth
  • orbi- circle
  • orch- testicle
  • oriental- Eastern
  • ornith- bird
  • ortho- straight
  • os(ti)- mouth
  • os(s/t)- bone
  • ostrac shell
  • ot- ear
  • ovi- sheep
  • ovo- egg
  • oxys, oxus- sharp, pointed

P

  • pachy- thick
  • palae- old
  • palli(um)- mantle
  • pallid- pale
  • palustri- in marshes
  • pan- ali
  • par(a)- near
  • parie- wall
  • parvi- little
  • patella- small dish
  • patens- spreading
  • pect(or)- chest
  • pectin- comb-like
  • ped- foot, child
  • pellucid- shining through
  • pene- almost
  • pent- five
  • per(i)- through, beyond
  • peregrin- foreign
  • peri- around
  • persic- peach
  • petr- rock
  • phaeo- dark
  • phag- eat
  • phalan(g/x)- close formation of troops
  • phalar- shining
  • phanero- visible
  • pher- carry
  • phil- love
  • phloe- tree bark
  • phor- carry
  • pho(s/to)- light
  • phragm- fence
  • phren- diaphragm, mind
  • phyl- tribe
  • phyll- leaf
  • physa- bladder
  • physio- nature
  • phyto- plant
  • pil- hair
  • pinea- pine cone
  • pinnat- feather-shaped
  • pisum- pea
  • pisc- fish
  • plac- plate, tablet
  • plagio- oblique
  • plan- flat
  • platy- flat, broad
  • plec(o/t)- twist, pluck
  • plesio- near
  • pleth- full
  • pleur- side
  • plex- interwoven
  • plica- fold
  • plum- feather
  • pneu(mo/st)- air, lung
  • pod- foot
  • pogo- beard
  • polio- grey
  • polit- polished
  • poll(ex)- thumb
  • poly- many
  • pons- bridge
  • porc- pig
  • porphyr- purple
  • porta- gate
  • post- after
  • potam- river
  • potero- drinking cup
  • praeco- early
  • pratens- in meadows
  • pre- before
  • prim- first
  • pro- in front of
  • proct- anus
  • procumbens- lying flat
  • profund- deep
  • proliger- bear offspring
  • prom- first
  • proso- front
  • prostratus- lying flat
  • prot- first
  • prunus- plum
  • psamma- sand
  • pseud- false
  • psycho- mind
  • psychro- cold
  • pter- wing, fern
  • ptyal- sahva
  • pubescens- downy
  • pubi- sexually mature
  • pulmo- lung
  • pungens- pungent
  • pusill- very small
  • pygo- rump
  • pyl- gate
  • pyo- pus
  • pyro- heat, fire
  • pyrus- pear

Q

  • quadr- four
  • quarter- four
  • quin(t/que)- five

R

  • rach- spine
  • radi- root
  • ram- branching
  • ran- frog
  • rapa- turnip
  • raph- seam
  • rect- straight
  • reflex- bent back
  • ren- kidney
  • repens- crawling
  • reptans- crawling
  • retic- network
  • retina- little net
  • retro- behind, backward
  • rhabd- rod
  • rhach- spine
  • rhage- tear, rent
  • rhin- nose, snout
  • rhiz- root
  • rhodo- red
  • rhynch- snout
  • -rrh- flow
  • rode- gnaw
  • rogos- wrinkled
  • rostr- beak, prow
  • rota- tum, wheel
  • rub(e)r- red
  • rumen- throat

S

  • sacchar- sugar
  • saccul- little sac
  • sacr- sacred
  • sagitta- arrow
  • sal- salt
  • sanguini- bloody
  • sapon- soapy
  • sarc- flesh
  • sativus- cultivated
  • saur- lizard
  • scala- ladder
  • scalene- uneven
  • scaph- anything hollow, bowl, ship
  • schizo- split
  • scler- hard
  • scop- gaze, small owl, broom, shadow
  • scut- shield
  • scyph- cup
  • seba- tallow, wax
  • sect- cut
  • segetum- in cornfields
  • selen- moon
  • sella- saddle, seat
  • semi- half
  • sept- seven, wall
  • ser(olu)- any body fluid
  • serot- late
  • serrat- saw-toothed
  • set- hair
  • sex- six
  • simi- monkey
  • sinus- hollow, bay
  • sipho- tube
  • sol- sun
  • soma- body
  • somni- sleep
  • specios- showy
  • sperm- seed
  • sphen- wedge
  • sphinct- closing
  • spinos- spiny
  • spondyl- vertebra
  • squalid- squalid
  • squam- scale
  • squarros- spreading at tips
  • stae(rlt)- fat
  • sta(silt)- standing
  • steg- covering
  • stell- star
  • steno- narrow
  • stereo- solid
  • steril- sterile
  • stern- breastbone
  • stom- mouth
  • strat- layer
  • strept- twisted
  • strictus- upright, stiff
  • strigos- having stiff bristles
  • stroph- turning
  • styl- column
  • sub- below
  • sucr- sugar
  • sulc- furrow
  • super- beyond
  • supin- lying back
  • supra- above
  • sutur- seam
  • sym- with
  • syn- with
  • syrin(glx)- pipe
  • sys- with

T

  • tachy- fast
  • tact- touch
  • taenia- ribbon
  • talus- ankle
  • tapetum- carpet
  • tard- late
  • tarsus- ankle
  • tect- covered
  • tegmen- covering
  • tel (e/o)- far, end
  • teleo- complete
  • temno- cut
  • tenacul- holding
  • tentor- spread like a tent
  • tenuis- slender
  • ter(ti)- three
  • teres- round
  • tetr- four
  • textilis- of textiles
  • thalam- chamber, bed
  • thalass- sea
  • theca- case
  • thel- nipple, female
  • therm- heat
  • thero- breast, mammal
  • thyreo- large shield
  • tinctori- of dyes
  • torn- cut
  • tomentos- densely woolly
  • torpe- numb
  • toxo- arrow, dart
  • trab- beam
  • trachy- rough
  • trago- goat
  • trans- across
  • trapez- four sided, table
  • trema- hole
  • tremulans- trembling
  • tri- three
  • trich- hair
  • trivialis- trivial
  • troch- wheel
  • trop- turning
  • troph- feed
  • tussi- cough

U

  • uliginosus- in marshes
  • -ul- diminutive
  • ulo- wooly
  • ultra- above
  • umbilic- navel
  • un- one
  • unc- hook
  • ungui- nail, claw
  • ungul- hoof, claw
  • urens- bum
  • uro- tail
  • urs- of bears
  • utricul- little skin bag
  • uv(ela)- grapes

V

  • vagina- sheath
  • vagus- wandering
  • vas- vessel
  • velum- veil
  • ven- vein
  • ventr- belly
  • verd- green
  • veris- true
  • verm- worm
  • vern- spring
  • versi- various
  • vesic- blister
  • vesper- evening, western
  • vill- shaggy hair, velvet
  • virens- green
  • visc- organs of body cavity
  • vita- life
  • vitell- yolk
  • vitr- glass
  • vora- devour
  • vulgaris- common
  • vulp- fox

X

  • xanth- yellow
  • xen- stranger
  • xer- dry
  • xiphi- sword
  • xyl- wood

Z

  • zo- animal
  • zon- girdle
  • zyg- yoke

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