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.

Table 22.2: OTHER GREEK VERBS AND THEIR DERIVATIVES
VERB ROOT (English meaning) ENGLISH DERIVATIVES
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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§136. Greek Verb Roots and English Derivatives by Peter Smith (Estate) is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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