English root words have their basic roots from Greek and Latin language. The English root words are a combination of basic words and additional prefixes and suffixes. English root words form a basis of the new word. English root words are parts upon which complete words are built. This usually happens by adding prefixes and suffixes to the word as already mentioned. Now what are prefixes and suffixes?
- Prefix: An affix that is added before word
- Suffix: An affix that is added at the end of the word
Before you ask, an affix refers to an addition to a stem word (a stem is a part of the word) in order to modify its meaning or create a new word.
Let’s take up an example to understand how root words in English work. Have you heard of the word Oligarchy? It means rule of a few. It is derived from a combination of Greek Root Words:
- Oligos which means few
- Archy which means rule
These two root words combine to give us Oligarchy (rule of a few.)
Now we can extend this learning and add some more words based on the root ‘archy’:
- Anarchy: A total absence of rule or government.
- Monarchy: State ruled over by a single person, as a king or queen.
- Patriarchy: Form of society in which the Father or Male is head of the family or tribe.
- Hierarchy: Body of rulers or officials grouped in ranks.
- Matriarchy: Form of society in which the Mother or Female is head of the family.
You can see from the above example that English root words are a powerful method to learn multiple words at the same time.
English Root words and their Meanings
The most frequently used English root words are listed below:
1. Root Word: pan
Words: pandemic, panacea, panorama
2. Root Word: thei
Words: pantheist, atheist
3. Root Word: logy
Meaning of the English root word: study of something
Words: theology, biology, anthopology
4. Root Word: cert
Words: certain, certify
5. Root Word: carnio
Words: craniotomy, carniology
6. Root Word: max
Words: maxima, maximum
7. Root Word: min
Words: minimal, minimize
8. Root Word: medi
Words: medieval, medium
9. Root Word: meta
Words: metamorphosis, metastasis
10. Root Word: tox
Words: Toxic, Intoxicated, detox
11. Root Word: man
Words: manual, manuscript
12. Root Word: poly
Words: Polyglot, Polygamy, Polyandry
13. Root Word: Mono
Words: Monogamy, Monorail, Monotonous
14. Root Word: Somni
Words: Insomnia, Somniloquy
15. Root Word: Soli
Words: Solitude, Solitary
We hope that this article helped you learn about the common English root words and how to learn these to know, retain and understand new words.
Complete List of Articles in this Series
- English Root Words and their Meanings
- 30 Must Know Greek Root Words
- Learn 30 Latin Root Words
- Detailed List of Root Words
- Enhance your Learning with Root Word Dictionary
- Learn Through Root Word Examples
- 15 Must Know Root Words in English
- An Extensive Roots Words List
- Learn Various Roots of Words to Improve Vocabulary
- How to use Word Roots to Improve Vocabulary?
- How to use Root Words to Improve Vocabulary?