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Words derived from Greek

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Words derived from Greek

Word

Meaning

Notes

academy

 

One of many educational and sporting words from Greek.

acrobat

walking on tiptoe

 

alphabet

 

The names of the first two Greek letters, alpha and beta.

amazon

without breasts

A mythical tribe of warrior females.

amnesia

without memory

The letter A at the beginning of a word means "without".

anonymous

without name

 

antipodes

opposite feet

The region of the Earth below one's feet.

anthropo-

man

As in "anthropology" (study of man).

anti-

opposite

As in "antimatter".

aracno-

spider

As in "arachnophobia" (fear of spiders).

aristocrat

best ruler

One of many social and political words from Greek.

asbestos

cannot be extinguished

 

athlete

contender for prize

 

attic

 

Part of a temple.

Australia

southern

Southern hemisphere country.

auto-

self

As in "automatic".

barbarian

 

To the Greeks, foreign languages sounded like "bar bar bar".

bar-

weight

As in "barometer", measure weight (of air).

bishop

 

One of many words in the Christian religion from Greek.

buffalo

 

An animal.

bio-

life

As in "biology" (study life).

canopy

mosquito net

 

cathedral

seat

 

catholic

universal

 

cemetery

dormitory

 

ceramic

 

 

choreo-

dance

As in "chorography" (write dance).

chorus

dance

A group on a stage that sing or dance. One of many dramatical or theatrical words from Greek.

Christ

anointed

 

chrono-

time

As in "chronology" (study time).

cosmos

all, everyone

 

crocodile

 

A large reptile.

cryo-

cold

As in "cryogenics" (create cold).

crypto-

hidden

As in "cryptology" (study the hidden). The gas "Krypton" is from the same root.

cynic

dog

 

democracy

state of the people

 

dinosaur

terrible lizard

 

diploma

folded in two

 

dogma

 

 

drama

activity

 

echo

 

 

economy

manage a house

 

ego-

I

As in "egocentric" (centred on self).

Egypt

 

North African country.

epitaph

over the tomb

 

Ethiopia

hot face

East African country.

Eucharist

thanks

The Christian ceremony of giving thanks.

Exodus

going out, exit

One of the books of the Christian holy book, the Bible.

genesis

beginning

 

geo-

earth

As in "geography" (write about the Earth).

-gram

letter

As in "telegram" (far letter).

-graph

writing

As in "biography" (life writing).

gymnasium

from "gymnos", naked

Athletes were traditionally naked.

gynae-

woman

As in "gynaecology" (study woman).

gypsy

 

From the same root as "Egypt".

helicopter

spiral wing

 

helio-

sun

As in "helioscope" (see the Sun).

hemi-

half

As in "hemisphere" (half a sphere).

hero

 

 

hetero-

different

As in "heterosexual" (different sex).

hippopotamus

river horse

 

history

 

The same root as "story".

holocaust

entirely burnt

 

horizon

defining

 

hydro-

water

As in "hydrolic", worked by water.

idea

 

 

India

 

The same root as Hindi, Hindu, Indus, and Sind.

isotope

same place

 

Istanbul

in the town

City in Turkey.

kilo-

thousand

As in "kilogram" (a thousand grams).

litho-

stone

As in "lithograph" (writing on stone).

logarithm

account, addition

 

-logy

study

As in "geology" (Earth study).

marathon

 

Named after a battleground from where a messenger ran 26 miles (42 km).

mathematics

something learnt

 

martyr

witness

 

meander

From a winding river now in Turkey.

 

mechanic

machine

 

mega-

big

As in "megastore".

melody

 

 

Mesopotamia

between the rivers

Ancient region now part of Iraq.

-meter

measure

As in "thermometer" (measure heat).

method

pursuit of knowledge

 

metropolis

mother city

 

micro-

small

As in "microscope" (see small).

mime

imitator

 

monarch

one who rules alone

 

moron

stupid

 

museum

home of the muses

 

myopia

vision of a mouse

Short sighted.

myriad

ten thousand

 

mystery

secret ceremony

 

Naples

new city

City in Italy. The same root as the Palestinian city, "Nablus".

nemesis

 

 

neural

nerve

 

-nomy

laws

As in "astronomy" (star laws).

nous

mind

 

obelisk

 

 

ocean

 

The name of a sea deity.

Olympic

 

Named after Olympia and Mount Olympus in Greece.

orphan

 

 

ostracize

 

Named after pieces of pottery on which the names of people to be exiled were written.

paleo-

old

As in "paleontology", study old (fossils).

pandemonium

abode of all devils

 

panic

terror induced by the god Pan

 

panorama

full view

 

paranoia

distracted

 

-philia

friend

As in "necrophilia" (friend of death).

philo-

friend

As in "philosophy" (friend of wisdom).

-phobia

fear

As in "arachnophobia" (fear of spiders).

-phone

voice

As in "telephone" (far voice).

phono-

voice

As in "phonetics".

Phoenician

purple

Ancient people - they were famous for exporting a purple dye.

photo-

light

As in "photograph" (light writing).

Pluto

 

God of death; ninth planet.

poly-

many

As in "polygon", a many sided figure.

programme

public written notice

 

prophet

 

 

psalm

 

 

psycho-

spirit, soul

As in "psychology" (study the spirit).

pygmy

fist

Refering to something the size of a fist.

pylon

gate

 

pyramid

 

 

python

 

A large snake.

rhinoceros

horned nose

 

rhythm

 

 

sarcasm

speak bitterly

 

scene

tent, stage

 

-scope

see

As in "telescope" (see far).

seismic

shaking

 

siphon

pipe

 

skeleton

dried up

 

sporadic

scattered seeds

 

stethoscope

see the chest

 

stigma

mark

 

strategy

military general

 

sycophant

show figs

 

symphony

same sound

 

synopsis

same view

 

syntax

same arrangement

 

Syria

 

Middle East country - from the name of a tribe.

tele-

far

As in "telephone" (far voice), "telescope" (seeing far).

theater, theatre

 

 

theory

contemplation

 

therm-

heat

As in "thermometer" (measure heat).

thesaurus

treasure

 

thesis

place, position

 

thorax

chest

 

toxic

arrow

Poisoned arrows were used in warfare.

tragedy

billy goat

Theatre was originally associated with worship of the goat-like god, Pan.

treacle

 

 

tripod

three feet

 

tyrant

 

 

Uranus

 

The seventh planet.

xeno-

stranger

As in "xenophobia" (fear of strangers).

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