Explore English Words Derived from Latin-Greek Origins

A program of Latin-Greek cross references that will enhance your English-vocabulary skills and word studies!

Experience the wonder of vocabulary words by focusing
on the Latin and Greek prefixes, roots, and suffixes
used in English vocabulary.


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Latin and Greek are significant elements in the understanding of English vocabulary.

If you have never studied Latin or Greek, the contents of this site can provide information that will repair this serious weakness in your command of English. If you were to learn fewer than three hundred selected Latin and Greek word elements (prefixes, roots, and suffixes), you would gain a new knowledge and understanding of thousands of English words, both common and not so common, derived from these two classical languages.

The basic importance of Latin in English can hardly be exaggerated. It is safe to say that more than half the words we use in our daily talk come to us from or through Latin, and the spelling of these words and their accurate use is immeasurably helped by the knowledge of their origins.

For hundreds of years after the fall of the Roman Empire, Latin was used throughout Europe as the language of education and knowledge. European scholars wrote their works in it and educated men correspoonded in Latin with other educated men of their own or different nationalities. As late as the end of Queen Elizabeth’s reign, Francis Bacon wrote his scientific works in Latin, although he was considered to be one of the most accurate and precise writers of English that the English language had ever produced. In fact, the writing of works in Latin in order to secure an international audience continued up into the eighteenth century.

The fact that Latin was the language of the educated accounts for the fact that practically any term we use connected with knowledge or any of the arts, or with religion or education, is of Latin origin. The terse primitive words in English that refer to the home, the family, or the farm are mostly from the Anglo-Saxon, but even here there is an important Latin influence.

We must remember that the Romans were in Britain for nearly 400 years and left a strong impression on the local speech, so that the Anglo-Saxons, when they arrived, picked up and incorporated a great many Latin words into their own language.

Not only did Latin come into English directly and through the medium of Anglo-Saxon, but it came in a copious stream through French. When William the Conqueror defeated the English at Senlac, in 1066, and established a Norman aristocracy in England; French became the language of the court and the landed proprietors and of the upper classes in general, and French is itself a language of almost pure Latin origin.

If it is your desire to really improve your English-language skills, then the more Latin and Greek elements you learn, the greater will be your proficiency with English words.

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English words for a Modern Age, especially those from Latin Greek sources or etymologies (prefixes, roots, suffixes) with cross reference searches

The more words you know, the more clearly and powerfully you will think...and the more ideas you will invite into your mind.

—Wilfred Funk

Flying Scarab Link for information about vocabulary words and definitions with cross reference searches from English words This ancient Egyptian hieroglyph, a flying scarab, will present an e-mail form so you can ask questions or send comments about anything related to this site.

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Word Explorations was set up on July 19, 1998.

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