Common Greek Root Words

Contributor: Allison Crews. Lesson ID: 13518

Many words have common word parts, and from those parts (known as roots), many other words bloom. In this lesson, you'll learn about common Greek roots to improve your academic vocabulary.


Comprehension, Writing

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

Lesson Plan - Get It!

Audio: Image - Button Play
Image - Lession Started Image - Button Start
  • Have you ever heard of phobias before?

Some common ones include claustrophobia, arachnophobia, acrophobia, and hydrophobia.

  • Do you know what -phobia means?

meerkats thinking

Phobia is a Greek root that means fear.

  • Can you guess what fear these phobias are?

Image - Video

You may have guessed some of these common phobias based on the prefix (word part at the beginning of the word).

For example, hydro means water. This is a widespread Greek root used in words like hydration, hydraulic, and hydroelectric.

This lesson will help you recognize common Greek roots and expand your academic vocabulary!

You just saw examples of words with a common root.

Imagine root words as tree roots. From those roots, the tree grows branches and branches of different words.

When decoding words you've never encountered before (or don't know the meaning of), having a strong knowledge of word roots can help you figure out at least an idea of the word's meaning.

Knowing word roots also helps to expand your academic vocabulary, which makes reading information texts much easier.

Before diving into the list of common Greek roots in this lesson, see how well you can identify words that share a common root.

Drag each of the words below into the box with its root word.

Image - Video

  • How did you do?
  • Were you able to accurately identify the correct shard root for each of the words?

you did it

Take a look at the word groups above again.

  • Can you guess what the roots might mean?

Keep reading to see if your guesses are correct!

The 12 words in that practice exercise share four common roots. Countless words share roots, and many of them come from Greek and Latin.

Here is a list of 25 common Greek roots.

Greek Root Meaning
  1. anthrop
  • human, humanity
  1. anti
  • against, opposing
  1. aqua
  • water
  1. auto
  • self
  1. bio
  • life
  1. chron
  • time
  1. dem
  • people
  1. dys
  • bad, difficult, ill
  1. eth
  • custom, habit
  1. gno
  • know
  1. graph
  • write
  1. hetero
  • different
  1. homo
  • same
  1. hypo
  • below, beneath
  1. hyper
  • over, in excess
  1. logy
  • study of
  1. morph
  • form, shape
  1. nym
  • name
  1. phon
  • sound
  1. photo
  • light, see
  1. pseudo
  • false
  1. psycho
  • soul, spirit
  1. scope
  • viewing instrument
  1. tele
  • far off
  1. therm
  • heat


  • Were you close?


If you feel as wise as Athena about these Greek roots, click through to Got It? and test your knowledge!

Image - Button Next