Vocabulary Lists

Morphology & Roots

Let There Be Light: Lum and Luc

Here's a bright idea: learn these words that contain the roots lum and luc, which come from the Latin word lux and lumen, meaning "light."
10 Words

Against All Odds: Contra and Counter

Learn these words that contain the roots contra or counter, meaning "against" or "opposite."
15 Words

It's About Time: Chron and Temp

Take the time to learn these words that contain either the Latin root temp or the Greek root chron, both of which mean "time."
18 Words

To Thine Own Self Be True: Auto

Learn these list of words that contain the Greek root auto, meaning "self."
15 Words

Write On!: Graph and Gram

Practice this vocabulary list and explore words that contain the Greek roots graph ("write/writing") and gram ("written thing").
25 Words

Take the Bad with the Good: Bene and Mal

Learn this list of words containing the common word roots bene ("good") and mal ("bad").
20 Words

All You Need is Love: Amor and Phil

Do you want to know what love is? Cozy up to these 14 words derived from the Latin root amor and Greek root phil.
14 Words

Words from Gaelic

Here we present 15 words that passed through Gaelic on their way to English. Some are stereotypically Gaelic, like bog and clan, but others may be a surprise, like words as common as loop or as colorful as curmudgeon. For more words from the Emerald Isle, read the article: Beyond Shamrocks and Leprechauns
15 Words

Some Obscure Eponyms

When something is named after a person or a place or a company, we call that name an eponym. If you know anyone who says "Get me a Kleenex" instead of "Get me a tissue," they are using an eponym every time they have to sneeze. Eponyms are everywhere- in science, medicine, the arts. This list focuses on words that are historically eponyms but are so common that their history of deriving from names has been obscured. In this list, the history of eponyms you didn't realize were eponyms is revealed.
20 Words

Power Prefix #1: anti-

Learn these words beginning with the power prefix "anti" (meaning "against," "in opposition to," or "opposite of"). More Power Prefix lists: con-, fore-, inter-, mis-, pre-, sub-, super-, trans-, and uni-! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
10 Words

Latin Love, Vol I: sci

The root of this "knowledge" word tree usually appears as "sci." Its most famous branch is the word "science." More Latin Love, Volume I lists: vocare, portare, struere, and via! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
10 Words

Body Parts: Corpus

Know your body through this list. For more dissections of words with Latin and Greek anatomy, check out these lists: corpus, caput, ora, os, dens, gaster, neuron, manus, ped, podos, derma, carnem, os, cor, kardia, psyche
13 Words

We the People: Civis

Work your way through these lists focused on Greek and Latin roots representing people and the social units they form: genus, ethnos, demos, populus, socius, civis, anthropos
10 Words

Latin Root "sub" Words

Learn these words beginning with the power prefix "sub-" (meaning "below" or "under"). More Power Prefix lists: anti-, con-, fore-, inter-, mis-, pre-, super-, trans-, and uni-! ELA Common Core State Standard: "Use common, grade-appropriate Greek or Latin affixes and roots as clues to the meaning of a word."
10 Words

Around and Around: Circum

Make the rounds with these lists of prefixes that all have to do with things that go around: circum, ambi, peri
10 Words

It Takes Two: Bi

Learn these prefixes that can make you think twice about the words they form: bi, di, diplo
10 Words

We the People: Anthropos

Work your way through these lists focused on Greek and Latin roots representing people and the social units they form: genus, ethnos, demos, populus, socius, civis, anthropos
10 Words

The Universe: Cosmos

The ancients believed that the universe, or the cosmos, was composed of five basic elements: earth, air, fire, water, and sky. (When advances in technology revealed more elements that were much smaller, these classical five were reclassified as states of matter--solid, liquid, gas, and plasma.) The ancient words for these elements show up in our language today, through Greek and Latin roots for earth (terra, geo), water (hydor, aqua), fire (ignis, pyr), and words from the sky including air (aer, ventus, aither), star (astron), and sun (sol). Find words from cosmos here, then check out lists from other Greek and Latin word-forming elements: cosmos, terra, geo, hydor, aqua, ignis, pyr, aer, ventus, aither, astron, sol
12 Words

Power Suffix: -fy

Learn these words that contain the suffix "-fy", which means "to make into."
13 Words

Power Prefix: ex-

Learn these ten words containing the prefix "ex-" -- meaning "out" or "up."
10 Words

Power Prefix: pro

Learn these ten words with the prefix pro-, meaning "to go forth"or "put forth."
10 Words

More English Words that Derive from Indigenous Languages of the Americas

Here are 15 more common English words whose roots come from indigenous languages of the Americas. The fate of the people who spoke these languages varies greatly, from tribes lost to history that we only know about through records of other tribes -- to the Guarani, whose language at last count had over 4 million speakers in Paraguay. All of these peoples, whatever their current status, have contributed their ideas and their perspectives through the English words below. Many of these terms have to do with animals and foods to be found in nature, but the Algonquian roots of "tuxedo" may come as a surprise! Read on below for tales of many more English words from indigenous sources.
15 Words

English Words Derived from Hindi

There are many words that exist in English whose origin on the Indian subcontinent is clear. Words like chutney and yoga are part of everyday life for many people in the English-speaking world, and they encounter these words in an Eastern context. But the influence of Hindi on English spreads far beyond that sitar seen in the guitar shop or the documentary on the 1960s. Words completely removed from that milieu -- like cot , jungle and pundit -- are Hindi in origin as well. Here are 15 English words of Hindi origin and their etymologies.
15 Words

Negatives with "in"

All the words below have the prefix "in-" meaning "not," as their first element. The problem is that even though many of the words have negative senses in Modern English, their positive counterparts have fallen out of use, or existed only in Latin. These words may have been part of a pair, once upon a time, but their partners are no more. Through the illustrative sentences and the linguistic tidbits below, we have tried to make the history of these negative words with "in-" clearer and hopefully easier to remember.
16 Words

English Words Derived from Yiddish

Yiddish is an amalgam of German, Russian, Hebrew and many other languages that has persevered even though the fate of the people who speak it has been consistently in danger for centuries. The fact that English, the most popular language on the planet, contains words that are recognizably derived from Yiddish is something of a linguistic miracle, considering many of the 13 million native speakers of Yiddish were wiped out during World War II. Many of these 15 words may be familiar, but the routes they took to get to English, and the literal meanings of many of them, are surprising. Here are 15 common English words derived from Yiddish.
15 Words

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