Continuing in our series of study and writing tips, we offer you this article on common Greek and Latin word roots. All of us have wondered at some point in life, Wouldn’t it be nice to have a simple way to gauge what a new, difficult word mean without consulting a dictionary every time?

Making mnemonics is useful once you’ve encountered and learned the word; they will certainly help you remember what the word means. But an effective way to anticipate (i.e., guess) what a strange word might mean is to learn word roots. For example, we can guess that most words that begin with the prefix anti- will mean not or against (x).

Let’s take a look at one of our favorite word roots: belli-, bell-.


By learning that belli- and bell- are Latin roots for war and fighting, we can conveniently group common test words such as bellicose, belligerent, and antebellum together and master them in one fell swoop.

Let’s look at one other word root we particularly like: loc-, loq-.


Many words that contain loc- and loq- (or loqu-) appear on standardized tests—and in all kinds of writing. The next time you encounter a strange word that contains that root, you can infer that it must have something to do with speech, words, and talking.

Whether you’re a teacher or a student (in class or of life), word roots will make your life a lot easier.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of links to other common word roots. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but it’s a good starting point.

1. GREG (group)

2. EU (good)

3. SOMN (sleep)

4. PHIL (love)

5. PUG (fight)

6. MUT (change)

7. TORT (turn)

8. LUC (light)

9. RUPT (break)

10. DOL (pain)

11. VOR / VOUR (eat)

12. PAN (all)

13. FOLI (leaf)

14. LEV (light, i.e., not heavy)

15. FID (faith)

16. CULP (blame)

17. CORP (body)

18. CIS (cut)

19. CHRON (time)