Skip to main content
Humanities LibreTexts

8.3: §136. Greek Verb Roots and English Derivatives

  • Page ID
  • \( \newcommand{\vecs}[1]{\overset { \scriptstyle \rightharpoonup} {\mathbf{#1}} } \) \( \newcommand{\vecd}[1]{\overset{-\!-\!\rightharpoonup}{\vphantom{a}\smash {#1}}} \)\(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \(\newcommand{\id}{\mathrm{id}}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\) \( \newcommand{\kernel}{\mathrm{null}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\range}{\mathrm{range}\,}\) \( \newcommand{\RealPart}{\mathrm{Re}}\) \( \newcommand{\ImaginaryPart}{\mathrm{Im}}\) \( \newcommand{\Argument}{\mathrm{Arg}}\) \( \newcommand{\norm}[1]{\| #1 \|}\) \( \newcommand{\inner}[2]{\langle #1, #2 \rangle}\) \( \newcommand{\Span}{\mathrm{span}}\)\(\newcommand{\AA}{\unicode[.8,0]{x212B}}\)

    §136. Greek Verb Roots and English Derivatives

    This section will consist of a series of Greek verb roots, presented in tabular form. Try to relate each verb’s original meaning to the semantic force of its English derivatives—the connection may not always be apparent. Don’t be surprised if a Greek verb has more than one root form; often these are different ABLAUT grades, as in English swim, swam, swum.

    gen-,[1] genē-, gon- (be born) genesis, dysgenesis, genetic, gene, eugenics, gonad, gonorrhoea, cosmogony, theogony, oxygen, hydrogen, pathogen(ic), carcinogen(ic), parthenogenesis (< παρθενος, “virgin”)
    path-, pathē- (suffer, feel) pathos, pathetic, sympathy, empathy, apathy, apathetic, antipathy, antipathetic(al), pathology, psychopath, etc.
    pher-, phor-, (bear, carry) periphery, euphoria, dysphoria, semaphore, phosphorus, phosphorescence (form?)
    leg-, log-, (speak; gather) -logy (-λογια, §110), dialect, dialectic, eclectic, dialogue (διαλογος > L dialogus), monologue, prologue, epilogue, apology, eulogy, anthology
    graph-, gram- (write) -graph and -graphia (-γραφος, -γραφια, §110); gram, anagram, diagram, epigram, program(me), programmatic, telegram, grammatical, grammar
    skop-, skep- (watch, examine) -scope and -scopia (-σκοπος, -σκοπια, §110); sceptic (skeptic), scepticism, episcopal, bishop < ἐπισκοπος (“overseer”)
    trop- (turn) trope, tropic(al), tropism, heliotrope
    stroph-, streph- (turn, twist) strophe, antistrophe, apostrophe, catastrophe, streptococcus
    stol- (send) apostle, apostolic, epistle, diastole
    kryp-, kryph- (hide) crypt (κρυπ-τος), cryptic (κρυπ-τικος), apocryphal cryptogram
    phy- (grow) neophyte; G φυσις = L natura; physics, physical, metaphysical, physio-
    aisthē- (feel, perceive) aesthete, (a)esthetic, anaesthetic, anaesthesia
    agōg- (lead) synagogue, demagogue (δημ-αγωγος), pedagogue
    ball-, bol-, blē- (throw) ballistics (via Latin), symbol, problem, emblem, hyperbole, hyperbola, parabola, parable, diabolic(al), anabolism, embolism, metabolism
    pha-, phē- (speak) aphasia, dysphasia, euphemism, dysphemism, prophet (προφητης > L prophēta), prophetic, prophecy (προφητεια), prophesy, blaspheme
    pha(i)n, pha- (show, appear) phase, emphasis, emphatic, phenomenon (pl. -a), epiphany, theophany, diaphanous, phantasy (fantasy and fantastic show Latinized spelling)
    hora-, op(t)– (see) optic (ὀπ-τικος), synopsis, synoptic, autopsy, biopsy, optometrist, optician (hybrid), panorama, cyclorama, diorama
    rheu-, rho-, rheo- (flow) rheum, rheumatic, rheumatoid, rheostat, catarrh, diarrhoea (diarrhea), gonorrhoea
    tak- (arrange) syntax (συνταξις < *sun-tak-sis), tactic(al), tactician, taxidermy


    1. cf. Latin gen-, as in genusgenerisprogeny and progenitor are Latin derivatives.

    This page titled 8.3: §136. Greek Verb Roots and English Derivatives is shared under a CC BY license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Peter L. Smith (BCCampus) .

    • Was this article helpful?