Latin Language Blog

200 Latin Roots to Improve Your Vocabulary Posted by on Apr 9, 2014 in Latin Language


Whenever learning a new language, students are often overwhelmed by the fact that they must study the grammar and vocabulary. Vocabulary can be tough for anyone, but especially for those learning a new language for the first time or one like Latin which not spoken. However, the vocabulary in Latin should be easier since Latin is integrated into many modern languages: French, Italian, Spanish, English, etc.

Here is a wonderful list of the most basic roots any Latin learner should know! This list is also helpful to anyone wishing to improve their vocabulary along with test taking skills. So, if you are studying for the GRE, MCAT, LSAT, or even the SATs; this is a great chart for you to study, make flash cared and improve your ability to dissect words to discover their meanings!

ab-, a-, abs- away from, without abnormal, absent, abstain, avert
acu- sharp acupuncture, acute,
ad-, a-, ac-, af-, ag-, al-, ap-, ar-, as-, at-  movement to or toward; in addition to accept, adapt, affect, aggression, approximate, ascend
ag-, act- do act, agent
am-, amat- love amatory, amorous
ambi- both sides ambidextrous, ambivalent
ann-, -enn- year, yearly anniversary, annual, millennium
ante-, anti- before, against antebellum,antediluvian anticipate,
aqu- water aquamarine, aquarium, aqueduct
audi- to hear, hearing audio, auditorium, audible
aug-, auct- grow, increase augment, augend,
bell- war antebellum, bellicose, belligent
ben- good, well benefit, benevolent
bi- two bicycle, binoculars, binary
brev- short, brief abbreviation, brevity,
cad-, -cid-, cas- fall cadence, accident, case
caed-, -cid-, caes-, -cis cut scissor, incision, incisor
cand- glowing, brilliant, shiny candle, incandescent, candor,
cap-, -cip-, capt-, -cept- take, hold capture, captive, recipient,
capit-, -cipit- head capital, precipitation, decapitation
carn- flesh carnal, carnivore
carp- wrist carpal tunnel syndrome, carpal
cav- hollow cavity, cave
ced-, cess- go proceed, procession, succession,
celer- quick(ly) celerity, acceleration
cent- 100 century, cent,
ceter- other “et cetera” = “and the rest, others”
circum- around circumference, circumnavigate,
clar- clear, distinct clarity, declare
con-, co-, col-, com-, cor- together community, coalesce, conjoined,
corn- horn cornucopia, unicorn
cred- believe, trust credulous, credit, incredible
curr-, curs- run current (river), cursive
de- away from descend, dementia
dent- tooth, teeth dental, dentures
dict- speak, say dictate, predict, dictionary
doc-, doct- teach doctor, doctrine
duc-, duct- lead conduct, produce, abduct,
dur- hard durable, obdurate, duress
ed-, es- eat edible, obesity
ego- I, myself, the self egocentric, ego
err- stray error, aberration
extrem- outer most extreme, extremities,
fac-, -fic-, fact, -fect- make, do manufacture, factory,
fer- carry, bear transfer
fin- end finish, finite
form- shape form, formation, conform, deformity
fort- strong fort, fortification
frang-, -fring-, fract-, frag- break fracture, fragment, infringe
fug-, fugit- flee fugitive, refuge
fund-, fus- pour fusion, profuse, profusion, transfusion
gen- race, kind genes, genetics
glob- sphere globe, global
grad-, -gred-, gress- walk, step, go transgress, gradations, regress
grand- grand, big grandiose, grandeur
graph- write, draw telegraph, graphite,
grat- thankful, pleased gratitude, gratuity, grateful,ingrate
grav- heavy grave, aggravation
hab-, -hib-, habit-, -hibit- have habit, inhibit, prohibition,
hom- same homogeneous
hospit- host hospitality, hospital
ign- fire, firey ignite, igneous rocks, ignition
in- (1), im- in, on invite, incur, immitate
in- (2), il-, im-, ir- not, un, no impossible, irrational, inappropriate, illegal
inter- between intermission, intersection
intra-intro- within intramural, introspection
irasc-, irat- be or grow angry irate, irascible
is-, iso- equal isometric, isosceles triangle
jac- lie adjacent
ject- throw eject, reject
janu- door, begin janitor, january
jus-, jur- law jury, justice
juven- youthful juvenal
labor- work labor, collaboration
lacer- tear laceration
lact- milk lactate, lactose
lamin- layer laminate
larv- mask larva,
lax- not tense relax, laxative, lax,
leg- send legate, relegate
lev- lift, hold elevate, lever, levitation
liber- free liberty, liberation
libr- book library, librarian
lig- bind ligament
lingu- language, tonigue bilingual, linguistics,
liter- letter literal, literacy,obliterate
loqu-, locut- speak, speech colloqual, eloquent,
luc- light, bright lucent, lucid, Lucifer (bearer of Light)
lumin- light luminous
lun- moon lunar, lunatic
magn- large magnitude, magnanimous
manu- hand manual, manufacture
man- stay permanent, remanence,
medi-, -midi middle middle, medieval, median
merc- reward, wages, hire mercenaries, mercantile
min- small minute, minority
moll- soft mollify, emollient
morph- shape morph, morphology
mov-, mot- move, motion motive, motivation, movie, motor,
mult- many multiple, multiply, multitude
nasc-, nat- born natal, native, nascent
necr- dead necrophilia, necropolis
noct- night nocturnal
nu- nod innuendo
nunci- announce pronunciation, enunciation
ob-, o-, oc-, of-, og-, op-, os- against obstinate, obstreperous, occur, offend, omit, oppose, ostentatious
oct- 8 octagon, octopus,
-oid -like asteroid (like a star)
-onym name antonym, pseudonym
orn- decorate ornament, ornate
oss- bone ossification
ov- egg ovum
pac- peace pacifism
pal- stake impale
pand-, pans- spread pandemic
pasc-, past- feed repast
pati-, pass feel, suffer patience,passive
pauc- few paucal, paucity,
pecun- money pecuniary
ped- feet quadruped, pedal
pell-, puls- drive propellant,repellent
pen- almost peninsula, penultimate, penumbra
pent- 5 pentagon
per- through permeate, persistence, pervade
pessim- worst pessimistic
pet- strive towards appetite, competition
pil- hair depilatory, epilator
ping-, pict- paint depiction, picture
phon- sound microphone
plas- mould plastic
plac-, -plic- please placid,
plan- flat explanation, planar, plane
plaud-, -plod-, plaus-, -plos- approve, clap, applaud explosion, implode, plaudits, plausible
plur- more plural, surplus
pole-, poli- city metropolis, politics
pon-, posit- put component, position, postpone
prehend-, prend-, prehens- grasps prehensile, comprehend
prem-, -prim-, press- press pressure
prim- first primary, primeval, primitive
priv- separate deprivation, privilege
pro- forward procrastinate, propulsion, produce
propri- property, ownership appropriate, property, propriety
prot- first protoplasm, prototype
proxim- nearest proximity
pub- sexually mature pubescent, pubic
pugn- fight pugnacious, repugnant
pung-, punct- prick puncture, pungent
puni- punish punishment, impunity, punitive
purg- cleanse expurgate, purge
qui- quiet quiet, requiem
quot- how many, how great quotient
rad-, ras- scrape abrade, erasure
reg-, -rig-, rect- straight direct, erect
retro- backward, past retrospect, retro,
rid-, ris- laugh ridiculous, ridicule, derision
rod-, ros- gnaw erosion, rodent
rog- ask interrogation, derogatory
rump-, rupt- break eruption, rupture, interrupt
sacr-, secr- holy sacred, sacrosanct
scand-, -scend-, scans-, -scens- climb ascend, descend, transcend
scop-, scept look, examine telescope, microscope
sec-, sect-, seg- cut dissect, section, segment,
sed-, -sid-, sess- sit reside, supesede
serv- save, serve conserve, serve, servitude
sign- sign design, signal, signature
sol- alone desolate, solitude
spec-, -spic-, spect- look, see speculation, suspicious
st- stand stasis, stable, station
stingu-, stinct- apart distinguish, exstinct
stru-, struct- build construe, structure
sub-, su-, suf-, sug-, sup-, sus- under submarine, suppress,
tac-, -tic- be silent reticent, tacit
tang-, -ting-, tact-, tag- touch tangible, tactile
tempor- time temporal, temporary
tend-, tens- stretch extenuate, tension
termin- end, boundary terminal, terminate
terr- earth terra, terrain, subterranean
test- bear witness testimony, testament
tex-, text- weave (literal or words) textile, subtext, context, texture
tim- be afraid timid, timorous
torn-, tourn- turn, rotate tournament, tornado
tot- whole, all total, totality
trans-, tra-, tran- carry transport, transfer
traum- wound trauma, traumatic
tri- three triangle, trivia
trin- three of each trinity, trinary
ultim- farthest ultimate
un- one unicorn, unicycle
urb- city suburban, urban,
ut-, us- use use, utility
vad-, vas- go evade, pervasive
vag- wander vagabond
ven-, vent- come circumvent, convention
ver- true, truth aver, veracious, verify, verisimilitude, verity
vi- way via, deviate
vid-, vis- see visual, vivid, video
vinc-, vict- conquer victory, victor
vit- life vital
viv- live vivid, survive
voc- voice vocal, invocation,
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About the Author: Brittany Britanniae

Hello There! Please feel free to ask me anything about Latin Grammar, Syntax, or the Ancient World.


  1. joseph:

    very helpful thanks and I shared this on FB as well.

  2. Samantha:

    Thank you super helpful

  3. Charlotte Heaume:

    Brilliant. Many thanks

  4. Bruce:

    Brittany, this is a very interesting web page. I studied linguistics, and Latin is a fascinating subject to know.