Latin and Greek Roots
More than half of the words in the English language have Latin or Greek roots – this is especially true in content areas such as science and technology. Starting in Grade 5, students encounter about 10,000 new words in their reading. An effective strategy for word comprehension and vocabulary building is to become familiar with frequently-used roots. This helps students to more quickly decipher the meaning of unfamiliar words.
Many ELL students’ first language is based in Latin, so teaching roots helps them connect new English vocabulary to words in their native language. Research also indicates that struggling readers benefit from a focus on learning Greek and Latin roots.
Common Core State Standards Related to Latin and Greek Roots
Use common, grade-appropriate Greek and Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word (e.g., telegraph, photograph, autograph).
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases by using context clues, analyzing meaningful word parts, and consulting general and specialized reference materials, as appropriate.
Latin Root “cept”: concept, reception, deception, susceptible, perception, intercept, misconception, exceptional, receptive, perceptive
Latin Root “corp”: corporation, corporeal, corps, corpse, incorporate, corpus, corpulent, corpuscle, corporal, corset
Latin Root “cred”: incredible, credit, accredited, credentials, credible, credence, incredulous, creed, discredit, credulous, credo
Latin Root “dic”: dictate, predict, dictation, dictionary, indicate, contradict, verdict, edict, abdicate, dictator, dedicate, diction, indict, jurisdiction, predicate, vindicate
Latin Root “duc”: conduct, productive, induction, deduction, aqueduct, abduct, educate, introduce, seduce, ductile, conducive, conductor, induct
Latin Root “flect/flex”: flexible, reflective, reflexive, inflection, deflect, reflex, reflector, flex, genuflect
Latin Root “frag/frac”: fracture, fragment, fraction, refract, infraction, fragile, frail, fractal, diffraction
Latin Root “ject”: reject, eject, injection, dejected, object, projectile, subject, trajectory, project, objective
Latin Root “lum/luc”: luminous, luminary, illuminated, lucid, lumen, translucent, illustrate, illustrious, bioluminescence, luster, lackluster
Latin Root “man”: manufacture, manual, manipulate, manifest, manicure, emancipate, maneuver, mandate, manage, manuscript
Latin Root “ped”: pedal, pedestrian, pedestal, peddler, pedicure, centipede, impede, orthopedist, pedometer, biped
Latin Root “pel/pul”: compel, expel, propel, propeller, repellent, pulsate, repulsive, impulse, compulsion, pellet, dispel
Latin Root “pend”: pendant, pendulum, suspend, pending, depend, appendage, appendix, dependent, expend, impending, propensity, stipend
Latin Root “sens/sent”: sensation, sentiment, sentient, dissension, consensus, sensory, sensible, insensitive, sentinel, resent, consent, assent, scent, sense, sensuous, sentry, sensitive
Latin Root “tract”: traction, tractor, contract, attractive, retraction, abstract, distract, extract, subtract, intractable, attract, protract
Latin Root “vers/vert”: adversary, controversy, diversion, subvert, convert, converse, reversible, vertex, vertebra, diverse, traverse, conversation, inverse, versus, avert
Latin Root “voc”: vocal, revoke, provoke, evoke, invocation, evocative, advocate, vocation, equivocal, vocabulary
Latin Roots “viv” and “mort”: revive, survive, vivacious, vivid, convivial, immortal, mortality, mortician, mortified, mortuary
Greek Root “ast”: aster, asterisk, asteroid, astronomy, astronaut, astrology, astronomical, disaster
Greek Root “cycl”: unicycle, bicycle, cyclone, cyclic, cycle, recycle, cyclical, encyclopedia
Greek Root “dem”: democracy, demography, epidemic, endemic, demagogue, demographic, pandemic, epidemiology
Greek Root “gen”: genesis, genetics, eugenics, genealogy, generate, genetic, antigen, pathogen, generation, genocide, progeny, genes, degenerate, congenital, gender
Greek Root “hydr”: dehydrate, hydrant, hydraulic, hydrogen, hydra, hydrate, hydrology, hydroplane, hydroponics, hydrangea
Greek Root “phon”: phonograph, phonetic, symphony, homophone, euphonious, telephone, microphone, phonics, cacophony, phoneme
Greek Root “poli”: metropolis, police, politics, megalopolis, acropolis, cosmopolitan, political, policy
Greek Roots “gram” & “graph”: telegram, diagram, grammar, epigram, monogram, program, anagram, graph, graphic, autograph, photography, graphite, biography, paragraph, bibliography, calligraphy, choreographer, seismograph
Greek Roots “opt” & “scop”: optician, optometrist, optic, optical, microscope, telescope, periscope, stethoscope, scope, horoscope
Greek Roots “therm” & “meter”: thermometer, thermal, thermostat, thermos, thermodynamics, exothermic, hypothermia, centimeter, diameter, meter, barometer
VocabularySpellingCity.com provides word lists, printables, and interactive games and activities that give students the opportunity to practice using Latin and Greek Roots as clues to form words.
Try SillyBulls with the Latin Root “ject” list.