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Word Roots

Word Roots are a powerful method to unpack the meaning of the words by getting at the core or root of the word.

There are three basic types of Word Roots:

Here are a few examples of how you can guess meanings using Word Roots:


You might think to yourself: "I know 'pre' from words like preface, prehistory, preexisting." In all these cases, it seems to mean 'before'. Then you might tackle the ending. '-tion' shows up in a lot of nouns, like inhibition, position, relation. You can assume you're dealing with a noun.
So you've figured out you're dealing with a noun that means: disposed before. Or rather, disposed to in advance.

That's right. A predisposition is a previous inclination, tendency, or propensity.


"An omnivore eats everything and someone who is omniscient knows everything. Omni must mean all or everything.

The potency of something refers to its strength, and someone who is impotent lacks strength or power. Therefore, potent must mean strength or power."

From here, you can figure out that: omni + potent = all powerful.

Click on the following links for a list of Word Roots:

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