Chapter 22: Greek Verbs and their Derivatives

§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.


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Greek and Latin Roots: Part II - Greek Copyright © 2016 by Peter Smith (Estate) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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