Root Words: Definition and List of Root Words with Meanings

Root words! You may have come across the phrase root word whilst researching the English language and learning it. But what is a root word and how is it used? There are so many grammatical elements in both written and spoken English that it can seem daunting to even consider learning a new element. However, in this article, we are going to make learning about root words a lot easier by looking at exactly what they are and then taking a look at some examples of how they can be used.

Root Words

Root Word Definition

What is The Root Word?

In simple terms, a root word is a word that does not have a prefix or a suffix attached to it but can have one added in order to modify the meaning of the word. Many root words in the English language are of a Latin or Greek origin.

Root Words Examples

Root Words List

We are now going to take a look at some examples of root words that are commonly seen in the English language. We will also take a look at some of the suffixes and prefixes which can be added to these root words in order to modify or amend their meanings. This first list of root words are words which can be used alone or with a prefix or suffix added on.

  • Normal – this word means standard. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; abnormal, paranormal, normalise.
  • Might – this word refers to strength. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; almighty, mightily.
  • Education – this word refers to learning. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; educational, educationally.
  • Legal – this word refers to the law. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; legally, legality, legalise.
  • Mature – this word refers to age. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; maturity, immature, immaturity.
  • Behave – this word refers to the actions of a person. Some of the suffixes and prefixes which can be added are as follows; misbehave, behaving, behaviour.
  • Fiction – this word refers to made-up details. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; fictional, non-fiction.
  • Dress – this verb refers to adding and removing clothes. Some prefixes and suffixes that can be added are as follows; undress, dressing, dressed.
  • Happy – this word refers to a positive emotion. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; happily, happiest, unhappy.
  • Rational – a word referring to a sensible notion or choice. Some prefixes and suffixes that can be added are as follows; irrational, rationally, rationalise.
  • Fellow – this word refers to men. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; fellowship.
  • Freeze – a word which refers to very cold. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added to this word are; freezing, antifreeze.
  • Act– this word refers to an action or doing. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added to this word are as follows; acting, action, actor.
  • Ego – this word refers to the first person. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; egoist, egocentric.
  • Form – this word refers to the shape of something. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; conform, formula, reform.
  • Phobia – this word relates to fear. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; arachnophobia, claustrophobia.

This next selection of root words are words which need a prefix or suffix added on to create a word. These words usually derive from another language to make a new word in English.

  • Bene – this word refers to good. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; benevolent, benefactor.
  • Astro – this word means stars. Some of the prefixes or suffixes that can be added are as follows; astronomy, astrophysics, astrology.
  • Lingual – this word means language or relating to language. Some of the prefixes or suffixes that can be added are as follows; bilingual, multilingual.
  • Acri – this word means bitter. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; acrimonious, acrid.
  • Auto – this word refers to self. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; automatic autonomous, autocrat.
  • Aud – this word refers to hearing and sound. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; audible, audio.
  • Corp – this word refers to a body. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; corporation, corporal, corpse.
  • Cred – this word refers to a belief. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; credible, credit, credibility.
  • Gen – this word refers to birth. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; generation, genetic.
  • Meter – this word is a measurement reference. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; kilometer, millimeter.
  • Micro – this word means small. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; microwave, microbiology, microbe.
  • Port – this word refers to carrying. Some prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; portable, transport, porter.
  • Sen – this word means old. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; senile, senator.
  • Tele -this word refers to far. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; television, teleport, telegraph.
  • Hypno -this word refers to sleep. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; hypnotherapy, hypnosis, hypnotism.
  • Intra – this word means within something. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; intravenous, intrapersonal.
  • Mal – this word means bad. Some of the prefixes and suffixes which can be added are as follows; malnutrition, malfunction, malice.

Conclusion

We have learnt in this article that a root word is a word to which a prefix or suffix can be added. By doing this, we are able to modify the meaning of the word. There are two different types of the root word, ones which can be used either alone or with an affix, and those which require an affix in order to function as a proper word.

Root Words Infographic

Root Words Infographic 1

Root Words: List of Important Root Words and Their Meanings

Root Words Infographic 2

Root Words

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