Prefixes & Suffixes A-D

Prefixes & Suffixes: P – Z

pale/o

ancient

 

paleontology – study of ancient fossils; paleography – the study of ancient forms of writing; Paleolithic – period of the Stone Age.

pan

all, any, everyone

 

panacea – a cure for all diseases or problems; panorama – an all-around view; pantheism – the worship of all gods; pandemic – affecting all.

para

beside, beyond, abnormal,
assistant

 

parasite – an organism that lives on and off another living being; parallel – alongside and always an equal distance apart; paragraph – a portion of a writtenn document that presents a distinct idea.

para

protection from

 

parachute – protection from falling; parasol – an umbrella used to protect from the sun; 

pater,
patr/i

father

 

paternal – relating to fathers; paternity – fatherhood; patriarch – a man who rules a group.

path

feeling, emotion

 

antipathy – a feeling of great dislike; apathy – a lack of feeling or interest; empathy – ability to understand another’s feelings.

ped

child

 

Pediatrics, pedaphile

ped/i/e

foot, feet

 

pedal – a lever pushed by the foot; pedestrian – one who walks; pedicure – cosmetic treatment of feet and toes.

pel

drive, force

 

compel – to force someone to act; expel – to drive someone out of a place; repel – to force back.

pent/a

five

 

pentagon – shape having 5 angles and 5 sides, pentagram – a five-pointed star formerly used as a symbolic figure in magic; pentathlon – an athletic contest that includes five events.

pept,
peps

digestion

 

dyspepsia – abnormal digestion; peptic – aiding digestion; pepsin – a digestive enzyme.

per

through, throughout

 

permanent – lasting throughout all time; permeate – to spread throughout; persist – to continue for a long time; perennial – lasting through many years.

peri

around, enclosing

 

periodontal – pertaining to bone and tissue around a tooth; peripheral – lying outside of the center;  perimeter – the outer boundary of an area.

phag/e

to eat

 

esophagus – muscular tube that carries food to the stomach; anthropophagy or sarcophagy – cannibalism; xylophagous – feeding on wood.

phil/o

love, friend

 

philanthropist – one who loves humanity;  philology – the love of words; philosophy – the love of wisdom; bibliophil – loving books.

phon/o
/e/y

sound

 

cacophony – loud, unpleasant sounds; microphone – a device that records and amplifies sound; phonetic – relating to human speech sounds.

phot/o

light

 

photogenic – caused by light; photograph – image made on light-sensitive film; photon – the smallest possible unit of light.

phyll/o

leaf

 

chlorophyll – a group of green pigments found in leaves; phyllotaxis – the arrangement of leaves on a stem; phyllite – a rock that forms sheets, similar to slate.

phys

nature, medicine, the body

 

physical – relating to the body; physician – a doctor; physique – nature and shape of one’s body.

phyt/o/e

plant, to grow

 

epiphyte – a plant growing independently on the surface of another; hydrophyte – a plant that grows only in water; neophyte – a beginner, especially a person recently converted to a new belief.

plas/t/m

to form, development,
forming cells

 

protoplasm – something that is the first made or formed, also the living portion of a cell; plastic – able to be formed, especially when warm; plaster – a mixture of lime, sand and water that forms a smooth solid covering for walls.

pneum/o

breathing, lung, air, spirit

 

pneumonia – inflammation of the lungs; pneumatic – using the force of air; dyspnea – difficulty breathing.

pod/e

foot

 

podiatrist – a doctor for the feet; podium – a small platform to stand on; tripod – a stand or frame with 3 legs.

poli

city

 

metropolis – a large city; police – people who work for the government to maintain order in a city; politics – actions of a government or political party.

poly

many, more than one

 

polychrome – with many colors; polyglot – a person fluent in many languages; polygon – shape with 3 or more straight sides.

pon

place, put

 

opponent – a person who places him/herself against an action, idea, etc.; postpone – to put off doing something.

pop

people

 

popular – appealing to a lot of people; population – all of the people who live in a particular area; populist – a supporter of the rights of people.

port

carry

 

export – to carry goods out of a place to another; portable – able to be carried; porter – a person who carries luggage.

pos

place, put

 

deposit – to place or drop something; expose to place out into the open for all to see; position – the place where someone is.

post

after, behind

 

posthumous – after someone’s death; postpone – to delay something;  postscript – an addition to an already completed document.

pre

earlier, before, in front of

 

preamble – a part in front of a formal document; prepare – to get ready in advance; prediction – a statement foretelling the future.

pro

before, in front of,
for, forward

 

prognosis – a prediction of what will happen; prologue – a passage before the main part; prophet – a person who foretells the future.

prot/o

primitive, first, chief

 

prototype – the first of a kind; proton – on of the very basic parts of an atom; protocol – a first draft from which a document is prepared.

pseud/o

wrong,false

 

pseudonym – a fictitious name; pseudoscience – theories presumed without proof of a scientific nature; pseudopregnancy – a false pregnancy.

psych/o

mind, mental

 

psyche – the human spirit or soul; psychic – relating to the human mind or someone who has supernatural mental abilities; psychology – the study of the mind.

pugn/a,
pung 

to fight

 

pugnacious – having a quarrelsome or aggressive nature; repugnant – distasteful, offensive or revolting; pungent – piercing.

pul

urge

 

compulsion – a very strong urge; expulsion – to someone out; impulsive – having a spontaneous urge to do something.

purg

clean

 

purge – remove anything undesirable; purgatory – according to Roman Catholics a place where souls must clean themselves of sin; expurgate – remove objectionable passages from a publication.

put

think

 

computer – an electronic thinking device; dispute – to disagree with what another person thinks; input – contribution of one’s thinking.

pyr/o

fire, heat

 

pyrotechnics – the art of making fireworks; pyrometer – a thermometer for measuring high temperature; pyretic – relating to or producing fever.

quad/r/ri

four

 

quadrant – open space with buildings on 4 sides; quadrennium – period of 4 years; quadruped – a 4-footed animal.

quart

fourth

 

quarter – one fourth; quart – a fourth of a gallon; quartet – a musical composition or group involving 4 voices or instruments.

quin/t

five, fifth

 

quintett – a composition for 5 voices or instruments; quintessence – pure essence, based on the ancient philosophy that there was a fifth element that was present in all things; quintuple – fivefold.

radic, 
radix

root

 

eradicate – pull out at the roots; radical – fundamental, looking at things from a drastic point of view; radish – an edible root of the mustard family.

radio

radiation, ray

 

radioactive – emitting radiation; radiologist – someone diagnosing or treating via radiation.

ram/i

branch

 

ramification – the resulting consequence of a decision; ramify – to spread or branch out; ramus – a branchlike part.

re

again, back, backward

 

rebound -to spring back again; rewind – to wind something backward; reaction: a response; recognize: to identify someone or something seen before.

reg

guide, rule

 

regent – a person who rules on behalf of a king or queen; regime – a government that rules; regulate – to apply a rule.

retro

backward, back

 

retroactive – relating to something in the past; retrogress – to go back to an earlier condition; retrospect – the remembering of past events.

rhin/o

nose

 

rhinoceros – a species of animals with a big horn on the snout; rhinoplasty – surgery of the nose; rhinovirus – viruses that are causing the common cold.

rhod/o

red

 

rhododendron – a flower with red/pink flowers; rhodium – an element which produces a red solution; rhodopsin – a purple pigment in the retina that is needed for vision.

rid

laugh

 

deride – to make fun of someone; ridicule – to make fun or mock; ridiculous – silly, causing laughter.

rrh/ea
/oea/ag

flow, discharge

 

diarrhea – abnormally excessive bowl movement; hemorrhage – heavy blood flow; catarrh – inflammation of a mucous membrane, especially the nose and throat.

rub

red

 

ruby – deep red color and a precious stone of the same color; rubella – measles; bilirubin – reddish pigment in bile.

rupt

break, burst

 

bankrupt – unable to pay because you’re "broke"; interrupt – to break into a conversation or event, to disturb; rupture – a break in something.

san

health

 

sane – mentally healthy; sanitary – relating to cleanliness and health; sanitation – maintenance of public health and cleanliness.

scend

climb, go

 

ascend – to climb upward; crescendo – a climbing up of the volume of music; descend – to go or climb down.

sci

know

 

conscience – sense of knowing right from wrong; conscious – knowing what is happening; omniscient – knowing everything.

scler/o

hard

 

arteriosclerosis – hardening of the arterial walls;  multiple sclerosis – disease which causes the tissue of the brain and spinal cord to harden; sclerometer – instrument for measuring hardness.

scop/e/y

see, examine, observe

 

microscope – a device used to see tiny things; periscope – a seeing instrument on a submarine; telescope – a device used to see over a distance.

scrib,
script

write, written

 

inscribe – to write letters or words on a surface; scribe – a person who writes out documents; describe – to represent with words or pictures.

se

apart

 

secede – to formally break away from; seclude – to keep away from; serum – a liquid isolated out of another.

sect

cut

 

dissect – to cut apart piece by piece; intersection – the place or point where two things cross each other; bisect – to cut into two equal parts.

self

of, for, or by itself

 

self-discipline – the ability to discipline yourself; self-respect – respect for yourself; selfish concerned only with your own interests.

semi

half, partial

 

semiannual – every half year; semicircle – half a circle; semiconscious  – partly conscious; semiannual – every half of a year.

sept/i

seven

 

September – this used to be the seventh month in the Roman calendar; septet – a group of seven musicians; septuagenarian – a person in his/her seventies.

serv

save, keep

 

conserve – to save or keep something safe; preserve – to save something; reservation – a place kept for a person.

sex

six

 

sextet or sextette – a composition or group of six, sextuple – sixfold; sexagenarian – person in his/her sixties.

sol

alone

 

desolate – lonely, dismal, gloomy; solitary – done alone, by yourself; solo – a performance done by one person alone.

sol

sun

 

solar – involving the sun; parasol – umbrella protecting from the sun; solarium – a room where one is exposed to sun light.

somn/I

sleep

 

insomnia – inability to fall asleep; somniloquy – talking in your sleep; somnolent – feeling sleepy.

son

sound

 

consonant – a speech sound; sonorous – producing loud, full, rich sounds; supersonic – faster than sound; unison – as one voice.  

soph

wise

 

philosopher – a wise person; sophisticated – wise about the ways of the world; sophism – a clever but misleading argument.

spec/t,
spic

see, look

 

circumspect – cautious, looking all around; retrospective – a looking back at past things; spectator – a person who sees an event.

sphere

ball

 

biosphere – the whole round surface of the earth; hemisphere – half the earth spherically shaped like a ball.

spir

breathe

 

inspire – to stimulate or animate; transpire – to give of vapor with waste product through the skin or a membrane; spirit – invisible life force.

sta

stand

 

stable – standing steady and firm; stagnant – standing still, not moving; stationary – at a standstill, fixed.

stell

star

 

constellation – a group of stars that forms a pattern; interstellar – between the stars; stellar – relating to stars.

struct

build

 

construct – to build; destruction – the act of destroying something that was built; structure – something built; infrastructure – underlying framework of a system.

sub

under, lower than,
inferior to

 

submarine – an underwater boat; submerge – to put underwater; substandard – inferior to accepted standards.

sum

highest

 

sum – the combined total of everything; summation – the total, highest amount; summit the highest point or top.

super

higher in quality
or quantity

 

Super bowl – the final annual football game; superior – above average, better in quality; supersonic – faster than the speed of sound.

sy/m
/n/l/s

together, with, same

 

symmetry -similarity in size, form or arrangement; synergy – the combined effect; synchronize – to cause to occur at the same time.

tact, tang

touch

 

contact – a state in which two things touch; tactile – relating to the sense of touch; tangible – able to be touched; intact – with nothing missing.

tax/o

arrangement

 

syntax – the systematic arrangement of words; taxonomy – the science of classification; ataxia – loss of the ability to coordinate muscle action.

techno

technique, skill

 

technology – the practical application of knowledge; technocracy – rule of technology; technologically – characterized by technology.

tel/e/o

far, distant, complete

 

telephone – a device to talk to a distant person; telescope – a device to view distant objects; television – a device to receive pictures from afar; telecommuting – working remotely, bridging the distance via virtual devices.

temp/or

time

 

contemporary – existing at the same time; temporal – relating to time; temporary – lasting for a limited time.

term/ina

end, limit

 

determine – to find something out at the end of an investigation; terminate – to end; exterminate – to destroy or get rid of completely.

terr/a/i

land, earth

 

extraterrestrial – existing outside the earth; terrain – ground or land; territory – an area of land.

tetra

four

 

tetrapod – having 4 legs; tetrarchy – government by 4 rulers; tetrose – a monosaccharide with four carbon atoms.

the/o

god

 

monotheism – belief in one god; polytheism – worshiping more than one god; theology – the study of religion, god, etc.

therm/o

heat

 

thermal – relating to heat; thermos – an insulated jar that keeps heat in; thermostat – a device that controls heat.

tort

twist

 

contortion – a twisted shape or position; distort – to alter the shape or condition of; retort – reply in a manner that is supposed to change the effect of something previously said.

tox

poison

 

detoxification –  the process of removing poisons; toxic – poisonous; toxicology – the study of poisons; intoxicated – influenced by drugs.

tract

pull, drag

 

attract – to pull objects nearer; distract – to drag attention away from something; tractor – a motor vehicle that pulls things.

trans

across,beyond, through

 

transcontinental – across the continent; transfer – to move from one place to another; transport – to carry something across a space.

tri

three, once in every three,
third

 

triangle – a figure with 3 sides and 3 angles; triathlon – an athletic contest with 3 events; tricycle – a 3-wheeI vehicle with pedals.

ultra

beyond, extreme, more than

 

ultrahigh – extremely high; ultramodern – more modern than anything else; ultrasonic – sound waves beyond human hearing.

un

not,opposite of, lacking

 

unabridged – not shortened; unfair – opposite of fair; unfriendly – lacking friendliness.

uni

one, single

 

unicycle – a vehicle with one wheel; unilateral – decided by only one person or nation; unique – the only one of its kind; unison – as one voice.

urb

city

 

suburb – residential area on the edge of a city; urban – relating to a city; urbanology – the study of city life.

vac

empty

 

evacuate – to empty a dangerous place; vacant – empty, not occupied; vacation – a time without work.

ven/t

come

 

circumvent – to go around or bypass restrictions; convention – a gathering or assembly of people with a common interest; intervene –   to come between.

ver/I

truth

 

veracious – truthful, honest; veracity – the truth; verify – to make sure that something is true.

verb

word

 

verbalize – to put into words; adverb – a word relating to a verb; proverb – a short saying that expresses a well-known truth.

vers,
vert

turn

 

reverse – to turn around; introvert – being turned towards the inside; version – a variation of an original; controversy – a conversation in which positions are turned against each other.

vice

acting in place of,
next in rank

 

vice-president – the person next in rank to the president

vid

see

 

evident clearly seen

vince,
vic

conquer

 

convince – to win someone over; invincible – not able to be conquered; victory – the conquest of an enemy.

vis, vid

see

 

vision – the ability to see; envision – to picture in the mind; evident – clearly visible.

viv/i
vit

live, life

 

revival – the act of bringing back to life; vital – pertaining to live; vivacious – high-spirited and full of life.

voc/i

voice, call

 

advocate – to speak in favor of; equivocate – to use misleading language that could be interpreted two different ways; vocalize – to produce with your voice.

vol/i/u

wish, will

 

benevolent – showing good will and kindness; volition – the act of making a choice or decision, voluntary – resulting from your own free will.

vor,
vour

eat

 

carnivorous – meat-eating; voracious – desiring or eating food in great quantities; devour – to eat quickly.

xen/o

foreign

 

xenophobic – afraid of foreigners; xenogenesis – the creation of offspring that is completely different from either parent; xenophile – attracted to foreigners.

xer/o/I

dry

 

xerophyte – a plant that grows in dry climate; xerography – a dry photocopying process; xeric – requiring small amounts of moisture.

zo/o

animal life

 

zoology – study of animals; zooid – resembling an animal; zooplankton – minute floating aquatic animals.

zyg/o

pair

 

zygote – a cell formed by the union of two gametes and the organism developing from that; zygomorphic – pertaining to organisms that can be divided into symmetrical halves along one axis only.
 

Written by The UnNovelist
The Unnovelist