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.

View Common Core State Standards Related to Latin and Greek RootsClose

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.

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Latin Root “ced/cede/cess”: secede, intercede, accessible, recession, precede, antecedent, recede, exceed, proceed, concession, accede, cease, cede, concede, decease, precedent, succeed

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 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.