Common Latin Root Words

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13489

Expanding your academic vocabulary becomes much easier when you are familiar with root words. They're like vocabulary building bricks! This lesson focuses on some of the most common Latin roots.


Comprehension, Grammar

English / Language Arts
learning style
personality style
Lion, Otter
Grade Level
Middle School (6-8)
Lesson Type
Skill Sharpener

Lesson Plan - Get It!

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Close your eyes and picture a huge tree in your mind. Think of the roots, the trunk, the branches, and the leaves.

The structure of trees has a lot in common with words!

In language, there are roots or word parts that can be used like building blocks to make other words.

Many of our root parts come from Latin and Greek. In this lesson, you'll learn about common Latin roots.

tree with roots

  • Ready to dive in?
  • What word part do these words have in common: inscribe, prescription, manuscript, postscript, describe?

All of these words have a form of scribe / script.

  • What do each of those words mean?

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  • Based on these definitions, what do you think the root scribe / script might mean?

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The root scribe / script means to write.

When you see this root used in a word, you'll know what it means even if you're unfamiliar with the specific word as a whole.

Give this drag-and-drop interactive a try to see how well you can identify words that share a root.

Drag each word and drop it in the space for each root.

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  • Based on the words associated with each root, can you guess what each root might mean?

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The table below includes many common Latin roots and their meanings. Check your guess on the drag-and-drop activity as you review these roots.

Latin Root Meaning
  1. ambi
  • both
  1. aqua
  • water
  1. aud
  • to hear
  1. bene
  • good
  1. brev
  • short
  1. cent
  • hundred
  1. circum
  • round / around
  1. dict
  • to say
  1. form
  • shape
  1. fort
  • strength
  1. ject
  • to throw
  1. jud / jur / just
  • to judge / law
  1. log
  • thought
  1. mal
  • bad
  1. mater
  • mother
  1. mort
  • death
  1. multi
  • many
  1. omni
  • all
  1. pac
  • peace
  1. pater
  • father
  1. port
  • carry
  1. scrib / script
  • write
  1. sens / sent
  • to sense / to feel
  1. struct
  • to build
  1. terr
  • earth / land
  1. vid / vis
  • to see
  1. voc
  • voice / to call


  • Feel like you have a good grasp on these roots?

Click through to the Got It? section to find out!

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