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Words With Latin Roots

English Vocabulary Derived From Latin and Greek


Words. We all use them. Whether we identify as logophiles (word lovers) or suffer from logorrhea (talking too much) or rely on a thesaurus to energize our writing, we depend on words. Although English has its own native vocabulary, it has also imported words from many other languages. The classical languages, Greek and Latin, play a starring role in technical vocabularies. Even in daily life, Latin rears its lovely head as the root of English words. Here are articles from this site on the classical elements of our language and words. You'll find confusing pairs of words and abbreviations, word import lists, a word of the day, and some basics on translation.

    Latin Borrowings

  • Latin Words in English I
    English has lots of words of Latin origin. Some of these words are changed to make them more like other English words -- mostly by changing the ending (e.g., 'office' from the Latin officium), but other Latin words are kept intact in English. Of these words, there are some that remain unfamiliar and are generally italicized to show that they are foreign, but there are others that are used with nothing to set them apart as imported from Latin. You may not even be aware that they are from Latin. Here are some such words and abbreviations.
  • Latin Words in English II
    (See preceding.)
  • Borrowings in English FAQ
    Did it enter the English language directly from Latin or via French?
  • On Translating Latin Into English
    Whether you want to translate a short English phrase into Latin or a Latin phrase into English, you can not just plug the words into a dictionary and expect an accurate result. You can't with most modern languages, but the lack of a one-to-one correspondence is even greater for Latin and English.
  • Latin Religious Words in English
    If you want to say that the prospects are bleak, you could say "it doesn't augur well." Augur is used as a verb in this English sentence, with no particular religious connotation. In ancient Rome, an augur was a religious figure who observed natural phenomena, like the presence and location to left or right of birds, to determine whether the prospects were good or bad for a proposed venture. Find out about more such words.
  • Confusing Pairs

  • The Meaning of Confusing Pairs of Greek and Latin Roots
    Pairs and triplets of similar Greek and Latin roots.
  • Affect vs. Effect
    To distinguish affect from effect you need more than the motto if affect, it's a verb and if it's effect, it's a noun. Here's some further help.
  • I.e. vs. e.g.
    It's pretty simple to figure out when to use which, but you need to know what the Latin abbreviations stand for.
  • Word of the Day

  • Word of the Day
    These words are not necessarily the words you need to know to score well on the SAT/GRE. Some words of the day are not directly based on Latin or Greek, but instead came into English via a Romance language. Their roots are still classical, though.
  • Roots and More

  • Where Do You Add the Endings to Latin Words
    Latin declensions and conjugations require that you add endings to Latin root words. Here is some basic information on what to look for.
  • Word Derivations - Greek and Latin Bases
    Here is a chart that shows common word bases and sample words built from them. All the words are formed from two bases on this list. The first form in the chart, which is bolded, is the word base; the next form, in italics, is the Greek or Latin, followed by its English translation.
  • Quiz on Word Derivations - Greek and Latin Bases
    Find out how well you've learned the Greek and Latin bases from the preceding article with this little multiple guess quiz.
  • A Little Etymology
    If you recognize the parts, you'll understand the whole: learn the Greek and Latin roots, the prefixes and affixes.
  • Etymology - English Words with Latin Prefixes
    A look at Latin prepositions and their use in English as prefixes.
  • Finally, for those of you who want a book on Latin and Greek word roots:

  • Review of Words and Ideas
    In Words and Ideas, editor William J. Dominik has created an introductory classical culture curriculum within the context of a vocabulary builder and beginning etymology textbook.

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