How to Prepare for Verbal Ability and Reading Comprehension for the CAT (2014)

Part 2: Verbal Ability

Section 1: Vocabulary

Chapter 4. Roots, Prefixes, Suffixes and Foreign Words

Every word in the English language has a history. In this section, you will find that words can be understood in a better manner if you can break them down to their roots and relate them to their core meanings. Therefore, when you come across words using the same roots/prefixes or suffixes, you can relate them, thus understanding the words and the text in a more structured manner.

Besides, knowing the origins of important words often gives us clues to interpret the meaning of an entire family of words derived from them.

For example, in Latin, the word for “other” is “alter”, and a number of important words in English are built on its Latin root.

We will begin with a list of root words and their meanings and go on to the words derived from these roots.

Many a time, knowing root words helps us in guessing the probable meaning of a word. This chapter lists out root words in detail to help you hone this skill further.

GREEK ROOTS

I. Root = ‘chron’.

The Greek root “Chron” means or denotes “time”. Some of the words derived from this root are:–

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Chronology

arrangement of events in order of occurrence

2.

Chronicle

historical record

3.

Chronograph

a stop watch, that records time with great accuracy

4.

Chronic

lasting a long time (of illness)

5.

Chronometer

time piece

6.

Asynchronous

occurrence of two or more processes at different times

II. Root = ‘macro, mega’.

Greek root “macro/mega”, which means “large” or “big”. Some of the words derived from this root are:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Macroscopic

Visible to the naked eye

2.

Megalith

huge stone

3.

Mega star

very great

4.

Mega hertz

one million hertz

5.

Mega phone

instrument needed to amplify voice

6.

Megalopolis

universe, very large city containing many cities.

III. Root = ‘micro’.

Greek root “micro” means “small”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Microbe

tiny organism

2.

Microcosm

miniature representation of something

3.

Microfilm

miniature record of documents or a film

4.

Microlight

very small, light aircraft with large wings

IV. Root = ‘morph’.

The Greek root “morph” means “form”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Morphology

form and structure of an organism; study of the form

2.

Metamorphosis

change of form

3.

Morphogenesis

development of species of an organism

V. Root =‘poly’.

Greek root “poly” means “many”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Polyglot

competent in many languages

2.

Polygon

a geometrical plane figure with three or more straight lines

3.

Polynomial

used to describe a mathematical expression with more than two terms

4.

Polymath

knowledgeable in a variety of subjects.

VI. Root = ‘pan’.

Greek root “pan” means “all”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Panhuman

for all humanity

2.

Pantheism

belief that God is everything

3.

Panorama

an all round view

4.

Pantropic

found throughout the tropics.

VII. Root = ‘meter’.

Greek root “meter” means “measure”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Ammeter

device used to measure current

2.

Voltmeter

device used to measure voltage

3.

Altimeter

device that measures altitude

4.

Pedometer

instrument used to measure distance covered by walking

5.

Meteorology

scientific study of earth’s atmosphere

VIII. Root = ‘Neo’.

Greek root “neo” means “new”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Neophyte

beginner, recent convert

2.

Neologism

new word or meaning, newly coined word

3.

Neonate

a new born child.

IX. Root = ‘andr/gyn’.

Greek root “andr” means “man”.

Greek root ‘gyn’ means woman.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Androgen

male hormone

2.

Gynecoid

characteristic of a woman

3.

Polyandry

having multiple husbands

X. Root = ‘pyr’.

Greek root “pyr” means “fire”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Pyre

pile of burning material

2.

Pyrogenic

producing heat

3.

Pyromaniac

person who sets fire to things

4.

Pyrotechnics

relating to fireworks.

XI. Root = ‘astro’.

Greek root “astro” means “star”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Astronomy

science of stars

2.

Astrologer

person who practices and studies Astrology

3.

Astronaut

space traveler

XII. Root = ‘ped’.

Greek root “ped” means “child”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Pediatrician

Doctor who treats children

2.

Pedodontics

concerned with dental care and treatment of children

3.

Pedology

study of physical and mental development of children

XIII. Root = ‘soma’.

Greek root “soma” means “body”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Somato type

body type

2.

Somatic

of body

3.

Psychosomatic

physical illness which is mentally induced

4.

Somatology

study of physiology and anatomy of body

XIV. Root = ‘ideo’.

Greek root “ideo” means “idea”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Ideology

system of social beliefs

2.

Ideologue

an ideologist

3.

Ideography

use of graphical symbols to convey ideas.

XV. Root = ‘gam’.

Greek root “gam” means “marriage”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Monogamy

married to one person

2.

Bigamy

married to two people

3.

Polygamy

married to many

4.

Gamete

a specialised male or female cell

XVI. Root = ‘theo’.

Greek root “theo” means “God”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Theology

study of God or religion

2.

Theocracy

government by Gods

3.

Theomacy

battle among Gods

XVII. Root = ‘onym’.

Greek root “onym’’ means “name”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Pseudonym

pen name

2.

Antonym

word opposite in meaning

3.

Synonym

word similar in meaning

4.

Toponym

word derived from name of place

5.

Homonym

word with same spelling or sound

XVIII. Root =’path’.

Greek root “path” means “feeling”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Sympathy

compassion for someone else’s pain

2.

Empathy

feel someone else’s pain and sympathise

3.

Apathy

indifference, lack of interest or enthusiasm

XIX. Root = ’bibli’.

Greek root “bibli” means “book”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Bibliopole

book seller

2.

Bibliophile

lover of books or collector of books

3.

Bibliography

a list of books and articles consulted, book sources

4.

Bibliomania

extreme fondness or obsession for books

XX. Root = ‘soph’.

Greek root “soph” means “wisdom”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Philosophy

love of wisdom

2.

Sophist

ancient Greek philosopher

3.

Sophisticated

urbane, classy, complex

XXI. Root = ‘Misein’.

The root “misein” is a Greek root which means “to hate”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Misanthropist

one who hates mankind

2.

Misogynist

one who hates women

3.

Misogamist

one who hates marriage

XXII. Root = ‘Anthropos’.

The root “anthropos” is a Greek word meaning “mankind”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Anthropology

study of development of human race

2.

Philanthropist

one who loves mankind

XXIII. Root = ‘Phil’.

The Greek root “phil” means “to love”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Philology

love of language /words

2.

Philosophy

love of wisdom

3.

Philanthropy

love of mankind

4.

Philadelphia

city of brotherly love

5.

Philharmonic

love of music/harmony

6.

Bibliophile

lover of books

7.

Anglophile

admirer of British culture, people, etc.

8.

Philatelist

one who collects or studies stamps

XXIV. Root = ‘logy’.

The Greek root “logy” means “study of”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Anthropology

study of human race

2.

Biology

study of living things

3.

Astrology

study of the sun, moon and other planets

4.

Archaeology

study of the buildings, graves, etc. of the past

5.

Climatology

study of general weather conditions

6.

Psychology

study of human mind and behaviour

7.

Graphology

study of handwriting

8.

Gerontology

study of problems of the elderly

XXV. Root = ‘Psyche’.

The Greek root “psyche” means “mind, spirit, soul”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Psychosis

a mental disorder

2.

Psychiatrist

a mind-healer

3.

Psychotic

one who loses touch with reality

4.

Psychedelic

that which causes effect on mind

5.

Psychic

having special mental (knowing) ability

6.

Psycho kinesis

change the physical state or position of a physical object by the power of the mind

XXVI. Root = ‘archy’/’cracy’.

The Greek root “archy/cracy” means “rule by”.

Some of the words derived from this root, depicting different types of rules by people, are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Monarchy

rule by one king /queen

2.

Autocracy

government by a single person/ single group

3.

Democracy

where power is held by elected representatives

4.

Aristocracy

rule by people of high social class, e.g., royalty

5.

Theocracy

rule of gods

6.

Plutocracy

rule by the rich

7.

Anarchy

state of nature where there is no government

8.

Diarchy

dual rule

9.

Oligarchy

rule by few powerful people

10.

Patriarchy

oldest male of a family is the head

LATIN ROOTS

I. Root =’cede’,’ceed’ and ‘cess’.

All the three Latin roots mean “go” or “movement”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Precede

come before

2.

Proceeding

course of action

3.

Process

method of doing something

4.

Succeed

go ahead, be successful

5.

Proceed

go before

6.

Exceed

go ahead of

7.

Recede

go back

8.

Recession

depression in economic activity

II. Root = ‘scribe’.

Latin root “scribe” means “to write”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Prescribe

order the use of, esp. used in the context of medication

2.

Inscribe

to write or engrave words on a surface

3.

Scribble

write illegibly

4.

Describe

write in detail

5.

Proscribe

to prohibit or ban something

III. Root = ‘brev’.

Latin root “brev” means “short”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Abbreviation

short end form

2.

Brevity

briefness

3.

Breviary

summary, abridgement

IV. Root = ‘centr’.

Latin root “centr” means “center”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Centrist

one with moderate views

2.

Centrifugal

away from center

3.

Centripetal

towards center

4.

Egocentric

selfish

5.

Eccentric

unconventional in a whimsical way.

6.

Heliocentric

with the sun at the centre

V. Root = ‘later’.

Latin root “later” means “side”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Bilateral

two-sided

2.

Unilateral

one-sided

3.

Multilateral

many-sided

4.

Lateralisation

the localisation of a control centre for a particular function.

5.

Lateral

at the side

VI. Root = ‘magni’.

Latin root “magni” means “Large”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Magnify

make larger

2.

Magnitude

greatness of size

3.

Magniloquent

employing impressive words while speaking

4.

Magnificent

impressive, splendid

5.

Magnanimous

very generous, large hearted

VII. Root = ‘nihil’.

Latin root “nihil” means “nothing”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Annihilate

kill, reduce to nothing

2.

Nihilism

rejection or opposition to all authority

VIII. Root = ‘omni’.

Latin root “omni” means “all”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Omniscient

all knowing

2.

Omnipotent

all powerful

3.

Omnipresent

present everywhere

4.

Omnibus

a single book containing separate works as a collection

5.

Omnificent

with unlimited power to create

IX. Root = ‘rect’.

Latin root “rect” means “straight”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Rectify

straighten or to correct

2.

Rectitude

righteousness

3.

Rectilinear

straight line

X. Root = ‘cide’.

The Latin root “cide” means “to kill” or “cut”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Ceticide

killing of whales

2.

Mariticide

killing of husband

3.

Parricide

killing of parent (either father or mother)

4.

Filicide

killing of children

5.

Fratricide

killing of brother

6.

Patricide

killing of father

7.

Fungicide

killing of fungi

8.

Insecticide

killing of insects

9.

Uxoricide

killing of wife

10.

Tyrannicide

killing of tyrants

11.

Suicide

killing of oneself

12.

Sororocide

killing of sister

13.

Genocide

killing of races

14.

Homicide

killing of people

15.

Infanticide

killing of babies

16.

Lapicide

killing of pets

XI. Root = ‘mort’, ‘nec’.

Latin root, which means “death”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Mortal

subject of death

2.

Mortuary

place for dead bodies

3.

Necrology

list of the dead, obituary

4.

Necromancy

prediction using spirits

5.

Necropolis

city of dead, cemetry

6.

Necropsy

autopsy

7.

Mortification

deep shame and humiliation

XII. Root = ‘dorm’, ‘somn’.

Latin roots which mean “to sleep”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Dormant

asleep

2.

Insomnia

inability to sleep

3.

Somnambulist

walks in his sleep

4.

Somnambulism

sleep walking

5.

Somnolent

feeling sleepy

XIII. Root = ‘aqu’.

Latin root “aqu” means “water”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Aquatic

of the water

2.

Aquarium

container for fish

3.

Aquaculture

farming of fish and aquatic plants

XIV. Root = ‘mar’.

Latin root “mar” means “sea”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Marine

of sea

2.

Marina

small harbor

3.

Maritime

of the sea

4.

Mariner

one who sails or navigates vessels at sea

XV. Root = ‘doc’.

Latin root “doc” means “to teach”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Indoctrinate

instruct one in basics

2.

Doctrine

rule or principle

3.

Doctor

medically qualified

4.

Doctrinaire

determined to use a theory

XVI. Root = ‘luc’.

Latin root “luc” means “light”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Elucidate

make clear

2.

Lucid

clear/ transparent

3.

Pellucid

transparent

XVII. Root = ‘flect/flex’.

Latin root “flect/flex” means “to bend”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Inflect

turn

2.

Influx

inward flow

3.

Flexible

adaptable

4.

Flexography

printing using a flexible plate

5.

Genuflect

bend in a gesture of respect

XVIII. Root = ‘fract’/’frag’.

Latin root means “break”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Fracture

break

2.

Fragile

easily broken

3.

Fragment

break into small pieces

4.

Infraction

failure to obey a law or contract

XIX. Root = ‘tract/tang’.

Latin root means “touch”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Intact

untouched

2.

Tangible

real/ can be touched

3.

Intangible

cannot be seen or touched

4.

Tactile

of touch

XX. Root = ‘Loqu/locut’.

Latin root meaning “to speak”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Circumlocution

evasive speech

2.

Soliloquy

speaking alone

3.

Eloquence

persuasive speech

4.

Interlocution

conversation

5.

Somniloquy

speak in sleep

6.

Elocution

public speaking

7.

Grandiloquence

speech

8.

Colloquality

informal speaking

9.

Allocution

formal speaking

10.

Magniloquence

bombastic speech

11.

Colloquium

scholarly conference

XXI. Root = ‘bene, bone’.

Latin root meaning “good”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Beneficial

good for

2.

Bonus

premium

3.

Benefit

advantage

4.

Benevolent

kind

5.

Benefactor

somebody who helps or aids a cause

6.

Benediction

blessing, expression of approval

7.

Benign

harmless

XXII. Root = ‘mal’.

Latin root means “bad”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Malevolent

harmful, wanting to cause harm

2.

Malnutrition

lack of healthy food in a diet

3.

Malignant

evil, full of evil

4.

Malady

illness, disease

5.

Malinger

to pretend illness especially to avoid work

6.

Malediction

curse, to utter a curse

XXIII. Root = ‘cred’.

Latin root means “believe”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Credible

believable

2.

Incredulous

skeptical

3.

Incredible

astonishing, hard to believe

4.

Credential

proof to ability or trust worthiness, a certificate

5.

Credulous

ready to believe

XXIV. Root = ‘sens’, ‘sent’.

Latin root means “feeling”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Sensible

reasonable

2.

Sentiment

emotion

3.

Sensory

relating to sensation or sense organs

4.

Sensitive

acutely perceptive

5.

Sentient

conscious, capable of feeling

6.

Sensiblilia

things that can be felt or sensed

7.

Sensitise

make sensitive

XXV. Root = ‘bel’.

Latin root means “war”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Belligerent

warring

2.

Bellicose

warlike

3.

Antebellum

preceding a war

XXVI. Root = ‘cogn’, ‘sci’.

Latin roots meaning “know able to understand”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Recognize

understand

2.

Science

factual knowledge

3.

Unconscionable

morally unacceptable

4.

Conscious

able to understand

5.

Unconscious

experiencing loss of senses

XXVII. Root = ‘vor’.

Latin root “vor” means “eat”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Carnivore

flesh eater

2.

Herbivore

plant eater

3.

Frugivore

fruit eater

4.

Omnivore

who eats everything

5.

Nectarivore

nectar eater

6.

Insectivore

insect eater

7.

Graminivore

grass eater

8.

Granivore

grain eater

XXVIII. Quasi.

The combining form “Quasi” of Latin origin, is used to combine words. It means ‘resembling’ ‘or very similar to but not the real thing’. Some words of this form are—

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Quasi-judicial

semi-judicial powers resembling to those of judges or courts

2.

Quasi-dictatorship

a dictatorship hiding under another form

3.

Quasi-scientific

supposedly scientific but not backed by fact

4.

Quasi-periodic

something that is almost predictable

XXIX. Root = ‘Alter’.

The root “alter” in Latin means “other”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Altruism

the philosophy practiced by altruists

2.

Alternate

skip one and take the other

3.

Alternative

the other choice

4.

Alteration

change

5.

Altercation

a verbal dispute

6.

Alter ego

other self

7.

Altruistic

interested in the welfare of others

XXX. Root = ‘Ego’.

The root word “ego” is a Latin root, which means “I”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Egoist

excessively high opinion of oneself

2.

Egocentric

one who is excessively fixated upon his own needs, desires, etc.

3.

Egomaniac

morbidly, excessively wrapped up in oneself.

XXXI. Root = ‘Verto’.

The root “verto” is a Latin verb which means “to turn”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Introvert

to turn your thoughts inwards

2.

Extrovert

to turn your thoughts outward

3.

Ambivert

to turn your thoughts in both directions

MANIAS AND PHOBIAS

The Greek root “Phobia” means “fear” and the Greek root “mania” means a “compulsion” or “ preoccupation for”. Some of the manias and phobias as follows—

 

Word

(mania)

Meaning

(Preoccupation with)

1.

Philopatridomania

extreme home sickness

2.

Mythomania

lies

3.

Oinomania

wine

4.

Gamo mania

marriage

5.

Klepto mania

stealing

6.

Megalomania

self-greatness

7.

Gynecomania

woman

8.

Zoo mania

animals

9.

Xenomania

foreigners

10.

Phagomania

eating

11.

Pyromania

fire

12.

Pluto mania

wealth

 

Word

(Phobia)

Meaning

(Fear of __________ )

1.

Thermophobia

heat

2.

Pedophobia

children

3.

Acrophobia

heights

4.

Chronophobia

time

5.

Nyctophobia

night

6.

Theophobia

God

7.

Arachibutryphobia

peanut butter

8.

Demophobia

people

9.

Entomophobia

insects

10.

Egrophobia

work

11.

Gerontophobia

old people

12.

Necrophobia

corpses

13.

Hematophobia

blood

14.

Arachnophobia

spiders

15.

Triskaidekaphobia

fear of the number thirteen

We now move on to Prefixes and Suffixes.

PREFIXES

Prefixes are fixed before a word or a root to convey a modified version of the word or the root.

Some important Greek and Latin prefixes with a set of illustrative words are as follows:—

(1) Prefix = ‘ante’.

Latin prefix which means “before”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Antecedent

preceding

2.

Antediluvian

before the flood; ancient

3.

Antenatal

of care before birth (during pregnancy)

4.

Anterior

to the front; before

5.

Ante-meridien

before noon

(2) Prefix = ‘dia’.

Greek prefix which means “across”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Diagonal

connecting line

2.

Diaspora

the breaking up and scattering of a people; people settled far from their ancestral homelands

3.

Dialectic

art of arguing

4.

Dialect

local variety of language

5.

Diameter

straight line from side to side of figure

(3) Prefix = ‘ultra’.

Latin prefix “ultra” means “beyond”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Ultramarine

very deep in blue

2.

Ultra modern

very modern

3.

Ultra violet

beyond violet; at the violet end of spectrum

4.

Ultra sonic

sound waves beyond the range of human ear

(4) Prefix = ‘trans’.

Latin prefix which means “over, across”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Transcend

go beyond

2.

Transverse

eyeing across; at right angles

3.

Transgress

break (law)

4.

Transient

fleeting, not permanent

(5) Prefix = ‘super’.

Latin prefix which means “over, beyond”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Superior

of greater rank

2.

Supercilious

displaying arrogant pride

3.

Supernumerary

in excess of normal number

4.

Supersede

take the place of; set aside

5.

Supervise

oversee; direct; inspect

6.

Superlative

in/of highest degree or quantity

(6) Prefix = ‘Epi’.

Greek prefix, which means “over, on, of”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Epiderm

outer skin layer

2.

Epiphany

festival of the announcement of Christ’s coming.

3.

Epigraph

inscription

4.

Epicentre

focus of earthquake

(7) Prefix = ‘Hypo’.

Greek prefix, which means “under, below”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Hypocrisy

false virtue

2.

Hypodermic

below the skin

3.

Hypothesis

suggested explanation of something

4.

Hypogastric

of or related to lower median region of the abdomen

5.

Hypochondria

morbid depression without reason about one’s own health, extreme depression of mind or spirits often centered on imaginary physical ailments

(8) Prefix = ‘Hyper’.

Greek prefix, which means “over/above/excessive/abnormally high”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Hyperactivity

too much activity

2.

Hyperesthia

excessive sensory feeling

3.

Hyperbole

person prone to exaggerated speaking

4.

Hyper kinesia

excessive amount of spasms

5.

Hyperventilation

excessive breathing

6.

Hyper baric

greater than normal pressure

7.

Hyperacid

the condition of containing more than the normal amount of acid

(9) Prefix = ‘ab’.

Latin prefix, which means “from/away”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Absent

not present

2.

Abstemious

sparing in food and drink

3.

Abstraction

preoccupation

4.

Abnegate

give up, renounce

5.

Abolish

do away with

6.

Abrade

scrape away

(10) Prefix = ‘ad’.

Latin prefix, which means “to towards”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Adhere

stick to

2.

Adumbration

to suggest or disclose partially, give a vague indication

3.

Ad hoc

for a particular purpose only

4.

Ad infinitum

endlessly

5.

Ad interim

for the mean time

6.

Adjunct

added, joined

7.

Adjudge

decide, declare

8.

Adlib

improvise and speak spontaneously

9.

Adjourn

postpone temporarily

10.

Ad rem

to the point

11.

Ad valorem

according to the value

12.

Advert

turn the mind or attention towards

13.

Adulterate

make impasse by adding

14.

Adumbrate

give outline of, indicate

(11) Prefix = ‘Ambi’.

Latin prefix, which means “both sides”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Ambient

on all sides

2.

Ambiguity

obscure

3.

Ambivalent

simultaneous existence of two different opinions

4.

Ambidextrous

able to use both sides

(12) Prefix = ‘Peri’.

Greek prefix, which means “around, about”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Peripatetic

walking around

2.

Periphery

circumference

3.

Perimeter

outer boundary

4.

Perihelion

point in orbit of planet or comet nearest to sun.

(13) Prefix = ‘re’/’retro’.

Latin prefix, which means “back”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Return

go back

2.

Retrospect

look back

3.

Retroflex

curved backwards

4.

Retrograde

going backwards, reverting

5.

Retard

make slow

6.

Retort

retaliate, reply

(14) Prefix = ‘circum’.

Latin prefix, which means a “path” or “orbit”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Circumpolar

circles around the polar region

2.

Circumsolar

circles around the Sun.

3.

Circumspect

circles around the fences

4.

Circumlocation

round about or evasive speech

(15) Prefix = ‘a’/’an’.

Greek prefix, which means “without”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Anemia

blood deficiency

2.

Amoral

not moral

3.

Anaesthetic

causing loss of sensation

4.

Achromatic

without colour

5.

Anachronism

mistake of time

(16) Prefix = ‘anti’.

Greek prefix, which means “against”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Antidote

remedy

2.

Antipathy

dislike, aversion

3.

Antipyretic

effective against fever

4.

Antiseptic

preventing infection

5.

Antigen

substance stimulating production of antibodies in the world

(17) Prefix = ‘counter’, ‘contra’.

Latin prefix, which means “against”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Counterfeiter

forger

2.

Contrary

opposite

3.

Constrain

force, compel

4.

Contraband

illegal, smuggled goods

(18) Prefix = ‘dys’.

Greek prefix, which means “bad”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Dysfunctional

badly functioning

2.

Dyspepsia

indigestion

3.

Dyslexia

impaired ability to read

(19) Prefix = ‘eu’.

Greek prefix, which means “good, well”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Euphony

sweet sounding

2.

Eulogy

speech or writing in praise of

3.

Euphoria

sense of well being or elation

(20) Prefix = ‘inter’.

Latin prefix, which means “between”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Interloper

intruder

2.

Interlude

interval

3.

Intermediate

coming between

(21) Prefix = ‘meta’.

Greek prefix, means “besides/ with”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Metamorphose

transform

2.

Metathesis

transposition

3.

Metaphorical

figurative

(22) Prefix = ‘Sym/syn’

Greek prefix, which means “together”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Synergy

unified action

2.

Symmetrical

balanced

3.

Synchronise

happen at the same time

4.

Symbiotic

living together for mutual benefit

5.

Symphony

harmony of sounds

(23) Prefix = ‘be’.

Germanic prefix, which means “around/on”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Beside

by side of

2.

Bespatter

to splash with

3.

Besiege

to surround on all sides

(24) Prefix = ‘for’.

Germanic prefix, which means “apart/away”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Forbid

prohibit

2.

Forbear

cease, refrain

3.

Forlorn

forsaken, desperate

(25) Prefix = ‘mis’.

Germanic prefix, means “bad/wrong”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Mistake

error

2.

Misnomer

wrong name

3.

Mishap

minor accident

4.

Misfit

not a suitable person

(26) Prefix = ‘fore’.

Germanic prefix, which means “before”

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Foresee

indication in advance, predict

2.

Forestall

prevent

SUFFIXES

Suffixes are added to the end of a word or a root and can sometimes lead to a difference in the meaning of the original word or root. Some of the common suffixes of Greek, Latin and German origin are discussed below:

A. Latin Suffixes

(1) Suffix = ‘age’.

Latin suffix, which means “place/collection”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Personage

minister’s house

2.

Steerage

cheapest accommodation on a ship

3.

Peerage

bodies or group of peers

(2) Suffix = ‘arium’/’ary’.

Latin Suffix, which means “place”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Aquarium

place for keeping live fish

2.

Library

place for storing books

3.

Sanatorium

hospital for chronically ill

4.

Seminary

college for priests

5.

Apiary

place where bees are kept

Some Important Words derived from common Suffixes:–

(1) Suffix = ‘ist’.

It is a Greek Suffix, which denotes people who perform certain actions, are experts in certain fields or are adherents to specific beliefs.

 

Word

Specialist in

1.

Verbalist

words

2.

Purist

traditions

3.

Geneticist

heredity

4.

Arborist

Tree care

5.

Agronomist

crop production

6.

Entomologist

insects

7.

Numismatist

coins

8.

Philatelist

stamps

9.

Toxicologist

poison

10.

Semanticist

word meanings

11.

Meteorologist

weather

(2) Suffix = ‘Sis’.

It is a Greek Suffix, which means a “state of’/‘process”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Synthesis

formation of whole from different parts

2.

Osmosis

diffusion of fluids through a membrane

3.

Prognosis

forecasted recovery from illness

4.

Necrosis

death of live tissue

5.

Dialysis

separation of substances in a solution

6.

Hypnosis

physically induced sleeplike condition

7.

Metastasis

spread of disease in the body

(3) Suffix = ‘ancy’.

Latin Suffix, which means “state, action or process”, and is frequently used in words which describe ways to foretell the future.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Bibliomancy

forecasting future through biblical books

2.

Anthropomancy

forecasting through studying human entrails

3.

Cubomancy

forecasting through use of dice

4.

Osteomancy

forecasting through observing bones.

5.

Cheiromancy

forecasting by reading the palms.

6.

Graphomancy

forecasting through observing handwriting

(4) Suffix = ‘oid’.

Greek Suffix, which means “like/ shape of’’.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Hypsiloid

letter ‘v’

2.

Xiphoid

sword

3.

Scaphoid

boat

4.

Sigmoid

letter ‘c’

5.

Schizoid

split

6.

Cuboid

cube

7.

Actinoid

star

8.

Belonoid

needle

9.

Pemphigoid

bubble

10.

Ovoid

egg

11.

Helicoid

screw

12.

Beloid

arrow

(5) Suffix = ‘ent’.

Latin Suffix, which means “being/manifesting/possessing”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Truculent

aggression

2.

Imminent

pending danger

3.

Flocculent

woolliness

4.

Innocent

purity

5.

Indigent

need/poverty

6.

Intransigent

stubbornness

7.

Diligent

earnestness

8.

Effulgent

radiance

9.

Plangent

expressive sound

10.

Nocent

harm

11.

Continent

restraint

12.

Ambivalent

uncertainty

13.

Prudent

Wisdom/ judiciousness

B. Germanic Suffixes

Some important Germanic suffixes illustrated with examples, are as follows:–

(1) Suffix = ‘dom’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “state/quality”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Freedom

liberty

2.

Kingdom

state ruled by king

3.

Officialdom

state ruled by officials

4.

Dukedom

state ruled by duke

(2) Suffix = ‘ard’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “one who/characteristic of”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Dullard

stupid person

2.

Pollard

horn less animal

(3) Suffix = ‘hood’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “state/quality”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Brotherhood

alliance

2.

Widowhood

state of being a widow

(4) Suffix = ‘ling’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “having the characteristic of/minor”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Yearling

year old animal

2.

Fingerling

baby fish

(5) Suffix = ‘ness’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “condition/state”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Goodness

decency

2.

Populousness

state of large population

3.

Business

occupation

4.

Wickedness

being bad

(6) Suffix = ‘ship’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “state /rank/skill”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Penmanship

art of writing

2.

Craftsmanship

art of making crafts

3.

Township

unit of local government

4.

Musicianship

skill of a musician

(7) Suffix = ‘ful’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “full of/providing”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Healthful

promoting health

2.

Plentiful

having plenty

3.

Earful

lot of information

(8) Suffix = ‘fold’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “increased by”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Tenfold

multiplied by ten

2.

Manifold

many times

(9) Suffix = ‘ish’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “somewhat like”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Childish

child like

2.

Churlish

ill-bred, rustic

3.

Impish

imp-like, naughty

(10) Suffix = ‘wise’.

Germanic Suffix, which means “in the manner of/with regard to”.

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Dollarwise

with respect to dollars

2.

Weatherwise

with regard to weather

3.

Moneywise

with regard to money

4.

Healthwise

with respect to health

Let us now move on to words with foreign origins.

ENGLISH WORDS OF FOREIGN ORIGIN

In addition to the study of word components and roots, the diversity and complexity of English can be seen by the thousands of borrowed and intended words used today. Some of the important words borrowed from different languages are listed in this chapter.

German Words

Some important English words, which have been taken from German, are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Pumpernickel

a dark, dense, sour bread.

2.

Kindergarten

a school or class for young children.

3.

Hoodlum

a petty criminal

4.

Delicatessen

prepared food sold in a shop serving

5.

Loafers

casual leather slip-on shoe;/ imported or unusual foods; such a shop

6.

Glitch

minor hitch, lazy person

7.

Glisten

to shine

Dutch Words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Dutch are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Landscape

scenery

2.

Holster

leather case for firearm

3.

Sleigh

sledge

4.

Caboose

rail guard’s van

5.

Coleslaw

salad made with mayonnaise dressing.

6.

Boss

senior or person in charge of

7.

Cookie

biscuit

8.

Freight

commercial transport esp. railways or ship

9.

Snoop

meddle, spy on

10.

Skipper

captain of ship or team

11.

Bumpkin

rustic

12.

Bed spread

bed cover, decorative covering on bed

Japanese Words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Japanese are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Tsunami

large destructive ocean wave

2.

Hibachi

a portable barbeque

3.

Tycoon

powerful and wealthy businessman

4.

Bonsai

art of growing miniature trees

5.

Bonzai

a patriotic battle cry or shout

6.

Origami

Japanese art of paper folding

7.

Samurai

former Japanese warrior class

8.

Karate

traditional Japanese form of unarmed combat

9.

Shogun

any hereditary military commands in feudal Japan

10.

Kimono

traditional Japanese garment

African languages

Some important English words, which have been taken from African languages are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Banana

tropical plant and its fruit

2.

Daishiki

clothes

3.

Chimpanzee

an ape

4.

Samba

a Brazilian dance of African origin

5.

Yam

a root vegetable

6.

Okra

lady finger plant, a vegetable

7.

Tse-tse

two-winged biting fly

Spanish Words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Spanish are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Bolero

Spanish dance

2.

Fiesta

religious festival or celebration

3.

Primero

card game played in 16th and 17th century

4.

Tango

Latin-American or Spanish dance

5.

Ombre

card game popular in 18th century

6.

Domino

board game

7.

Quadrille

card game for four players; a French dance

8.

Spade

digging tool

9.

Monte

betting game played with cards

10.

Castanets

wooden or plastic device that makes a clicking sound when pressed by palm of hand

11.

Embargo

restricting commerce

12.

Pronto

fast

13.

Galleon

large sailing vessel

14.

Grenade

small bomb

15.

Guerrilla

independent soldiers

16.

Flotilla

group of ships

17.

Garrote

strangulation

18.

Junta

ruling group

19.

Intransigent

inflexible

20.

Machete

large, heavy knife

21.

Parade

large public procession

22.

Anchory

small savoury fish

23.

Sherry

fortified wine

24.

Tortilla

thin Mexican pan cake or chips

25.

Marinade

seasoned, flavoured liquid used to soak meat

26.

Sarsaparilla

drink made from root of plant

27.

Bravado

bluster

28.

Barbecue

an open grill or fire place

29.

Sassafras

aromatic tree whose bark has medicinal value

30.

Adobe

sun dried brick

31.

Canyon

deep valley with steep sides

32.

Arroyo

gulch

33.

Toreador

bull fighter

34.

Senorita

Miss.

35.

Senora

Mrs.

36.

Senor

Mr.

37.

Matador

Bull fighter

38.

Renegade

deserter

39.

Don

lord or gentleman

40.

Dona

title of respect for a married woman

41.

Desperado

bold, reckless criminal

42.

Albino

person deficient in pigmentation

43.

Patio

courtyard

44.

Pueblo

adobe house

45.

Hacienda

landed estate

46.

Sierra

chain of hills or mountains

47.

Vega

grassy plain

48.

Plaza

open space or square; complex of shops

49.

Esplanade

level space

50.

El Dorado

fictitious country rich in gold

51.

Rodeo

showing of cowboy skills

52.

Lariat

long, noosed rope for catching horses

53.

Bronco

untamed horse

54.

Lasso

long, noosed rope, lariat

55.

Gaucho

cowboy of South American Pampas.

Celtic words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Celtic are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Banshee

Irish fairy with a wail portending death

2.

Plaid

long cloak or shawl

3.

Shamrock

lover leaf, esp. an Irish emblem

4.

Vassal

dependant

5.

Gravel

small stones; coarse sand

6.

Truant

one absent without a leave

7.

Galore

in plenty

8.

Colleen

young Irish girl

9.

Blarney

flattering talk

10.

Bog

soft, wet ground

11.

Brogue

stout shoe; Irish accent

12.

Lawn

stretch of grass in garden; fine linen

13.

Crag

steep, rugged rock

14.

Quay

dock

15.

Loch

lake

16.

Gull

aquatic bird

17.

Javelin

light spear

18.

Tory

member of conservative party in England

19.

Clan

group of families

20.

Glengarry

a small brimless hat

Arabic words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Arabic are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Camphor

strong smelling ketone

2.

Alchemy

magic, art of converting metal into gold

3.

Garble

mix-up

4.

Henna

dye

5.

Tarragon

spice

6.

Saffron

orange/ yellow spice

7.

Lute

stringed instrument

8.

Bedouin

member of nomadic Arab race

9.

Fakir

member of Islamic religious

   

order, ascetic

10.

Sequin

small ornamental stars to be stitched on clothes

11.

Sherbet

flavoured drink

12.

Sultan

ruler of Muslim kingdom

13.

Zenith

highest point

14.

Nadir

lowest point

15.

Muezzin

crier, who summons Muslims to prayer

16.

Minaret

tall, slender tower of Mosque

17.

Almanac

yearly calendar

18.

Amber

yellowish, translucent fossil resin

19.

Alcove

recess

20.

Algebra

method of calculating

21.

Carafe

decanter

22.

Harem

women’s dwelling, one man’s wives

23.

Carat

small weight used to measure gold, etc.

24.

Cipher

secret writing

25.

Civet

strong, musky perfume

26.

Emir

an independent Islamic ruler

27.

Cotton

thread or cloth made from this plant’s seed

28.

Elixir

medicine or remedy, used by alchemists

29.

Monsoon

heavy rainfall season, rainy season

30.

Ream

large bundles of paper

Indian words

Some important English words, which have been taken from India are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Yoga

Hindu system of physical and mental exercise

2.

Tantra

religious writing

3.

Tonga

horse-drawn carriage

4.

Wallah

somebody in-charge of a certain thing

5.

Dhoti

Indian male unstitched garment wrapped on waist

6.

Avatar

incarnation

7.

Gunny

jute bag, sack

8.

Nawab

Indian nobleman in Mughal Empire

9.

Sahib

respectful form of address for men

10.

Pundit

Expert, authority, priest

11.

Guru

teacher, wise leader

12.

Sandal

type of wood

13.

Chutney

sweet and sour sauce

14.

Pachisi

board game

15.

Nirvana

heaven, freedom

16.

Myna

bird

17.

Karma

fate

18.

Dharma

code of conduct of Hindus

19.

Ginger

spice

20.

Stupa

dome-shaped structure where ashes are kept

French words

Some important English words, which have been taken from French are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Bouillon

Thin soup

2.

Praline

nut candy

3.

Potage

thick coup

4.

Absinthe

green, flavoured liqueur

5.

Cuisine

style of cooking

6.

Casserole

covered baking dish

7.

Nougat

type of candy

8.

Croquette

patty of cooked meat or fish

9.

Flambe

pour alcoholic drink on food and ignite

10.

Liqueur

flavoured alcoholic liquid

11.

Tureen

serving dish for soup

12.

Gourmet

connoisseur of wine, food, etc.

13.

Gourmand

glutton

14.

Blancmange

jelly-like dessert made with milk

15.

Serviette

table-napkin

16.

Burlesque

ludicrous parody

17.

Marquee

Sign used in a theater

18.

Roulette

game of chance

19.

Piroutte

to whirl on one foot

20.

Silhouette

outline of object against light

21.

Nuance

delicate shade of differences

22.

Precis

abstract, summary

23.

Vignette

design on a book page

24.

Critique

critical essay

25.

Coterie

social clique, exclusive group

26.

Connoisseur

critical expert of matters of art

27.

Belles-letters

aesthetic writings

28.

Memories

reward of events, autobiography

29.

Bon mot

clever saying

30.

Repartee

witty talk

31.

rapport

harmony

32.

Idee fixe

obsession

33.

Bourgeois

middle class

34.

Charlatan

faker, quack

35.

Faux pas

social blunder

36.

Genteel

element refined

37.

Largesse

generosity

38.

Gauche

socially inept

39.

Nonchalance

indifferent

40.

Raconteur

expert storyteller

41.

Avant-garde

in advance

42.

Milieu

environment

43.

Tete-a-tete

private conversation

44.

Vis-à-vis

regarding, in relation to

45.

Outre

bizarre

46.

Passe

out of date

47.

Liaison

connection

48.

Rendezvous

meeting place, appointment

49.

Joie-de vivre

enjoyment of life

50.

Eclat

success

51.

Savoir

fair

52.

Boulevard

broad avenue in a city

53.

Salon

a shop of fashion, drawing room

54.

Chateau

castle

55.

Façade

front of a building

56.

Chaise

light, open carriage

57.

Bureau

office disk

58.

Concierge

doorman

59.

Melee

a mixed fight or crowd

60.

Terrain

area of ground

61.

Saboteur

damage closer (esp. secretly)

62.

Aide-de-camp

military officer personality assisting superior

63.

Chausseur

driver

64.

Espionage

use of spice

65.

Ricochet

rebound (of bullet)

66.

Envoy

official representative

67.

Bivouac

temporary camp of soldiers

68.

Espirit de corps

feelings of pride in belonging to a group

69.

Despot

a tyrant or absolute ruler

70.

Commandant

officer in command

Italian words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Italian are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Prima donna

principle female singer in an opera

2.

Soprano

highest singing voice

3.

Crescendo

gradual increase in volume or force

4.

Bravo

well done

5.

Quartet

group of four musicians

6.

Maestro

famous conductor

7.

Mandolin

stringed musical instrument

8.

Finale

the last piece

9.

Duet

a composition for two singers

10.

Forte

to play loudly

11.

Libretts

text of long musical piece

12.

Allegro

at a quick and lively tempo; quickly

13.

Presto

to be played very fast

14.

Falsetto

high pitched singing method

15.

Virtuoso

exceptional performer

16.

Diva

women opera singer, famous lady

17.

Dilettante

dabbler in art or knowledge

18.

Bravura

great skill

19.

Tempo

music’s speed

20.

Opera

musical drama

21.

Piccolo

a very small flute-like musical instrument

22.

Coda

final section of musical piece

23.

Concerto

musical composition for soloist and orchestra

24.

Madrigal

a song with parts

25.

Balcony

a gallery

26.

Villa

country, estate

27.

Arcade

arched passageway, shops

28.

Catacomb

tomb

29.

mezzanine

lowest balcony

30.

Portico

porch

31.

Piozza

plaza

32.

Grotto

cave

33.

Corridor

hallway

34.

Pedestal

a base or support

35.

Alfresco

in the open air

36.

Lotto

game of chance

37.

Tarot

fortune telling cards

38.

Valise

small piece of luggage

39.

Garb

dress

40.

Gondola

venetian canal boat

41.

Lagoon

area which is sand banked, saltwater lake

42.

Gala

festive occasion, show

43.

Casino

place for gambling

44.

Cascade

waterfall, anything like a waterfall

45.

Gazette

official newspaper for announcements

46.

Incognito

assumed identity

47.

Parasol

sunshade, umbrella

48.

Regatta

meeting for yacht or boat races

49.

Battalion

an army group

50.

Fracas

uproar

51.

Citadel

fortress

52.

Bandit

robber

53.

Salvo

a round of artillery

54.

Vendetta

a private feud

55.

Stiletto

a small dagger with a thin blade, a heel of female shoe

56.

Cartel

alliance of political parties or business houses

57.

Tirade

long angry speech

58.

Partisan

prejudiced, adherent of a party, biased

59.

Cavalcade

procession of riders, fleet of cars

60.

Panache

dashing style

61.

Manifesto

declaration of policy by a political party

62.

Squadron

an army, navy or air force unit

63.

Ducat

a gold coin

64.

Mercantile

trade

65.

Parmesan

cheese

66.

Contra band

smuggled goods

67.

Porcelain

fine china, earthenware

68.

Frigate

old warship, corresponding to modern cruiser

69.

Skiff

small flat-bottomed boat

70.

Milliner

maker or dealer in women’s hat

71.

Settee

comfortable seat for two people

72.

Bankrupt

financially insolvent

Yiddish words

Some important English words, which have been taken from Yiddish are as follows:

 

Word

Meaning

1.

Schnapps

brandy, alcoholic drink

2.

Challah

soft egg bread

3.

Bagel

chewy roll with a hole in the middle

4.

Matzoth

unleavened bread

5.

Nosh

food, eat

6.

Kosher

permitted, clean, good (as of food)

7.

Yenta

gossip

8.

Boychik

little boy

9.

Shmo

butt of a joke

10.

Nudnick

bore

11.

noodge

nag

12.

Shiksa

non-jewish woman

13.

Maven

expert

14.

Klutz

clumsy person

15.

Chai

life

16.

Broche

blessing

17.

Mazeltov

congratulations

18.

Gesundneit

Good health

19.

Chutzpah

boldness, self confidence

20.

Bummer

annoying thing

21.

Kvetch

to grumble or complain

22.

Kibitzer

one who interferes

23.

Golem

creature of clay brought to life by magic as in legend

24.

Naches

proud pleasure

25.

Mitzva

a good deed

26.

Kine-abhora

Magical phrase to ward off evil

27.

Fen

expression of disgust

28.

Boo-boo

mistake

29.

plotz

explode

30.

Gehenna

hell

31.

Mish-mosh

confusion

32.

Bupkes

nothing

33.

Mishegoss

nonsense

34.

Phooey!

expression of disgust, contempt