What are Root Words in English?

Prefixes and suffixes are added to many basic words to create new words in the English language. These basic words to which affixes (prefixes and suffixes) are added are called root words because they form the basis of a new word. For example,

the word lovely consists of the word love and the suffix -ly

Root words and base words are often used interchangeably. These two concepts are related to one another but are not the same.

Words in the English language that stand alone and can be combined with affixes (prefixes and suffixes) are called base words.  The Latin or Greek origin of a word that cannot stand on its own is called the root of that word. The basic part of a Greek or Latin word that is not independent may also be referred to as just “root.”

Here’s a list of independently existing root words👇🏾

Root WordMeaningExample
actto move or doactor
ambibothambidextrous
antiopposite or againstantisocial
aquawateraquarium
archchief, primary or firstarchetype
astrostarsastrophysics
audhearaudience
autoselfautomatic
benegood or wellbenefit
bitwicebiannual
biolifebiology
cardioheartcardiovascular
carnfleshcarnivorous
chlorogreenchlorophyll
chronotimechronology
corpbodycorporate
cryptto hidecryptography
dermskindermatology
dictsaydictate
facto dofaculty
genbirthgenetics
heptsevenheptagon
isoequalisobar
judlawjudgement
lumlightluminous
metermeasurethermometer
microsmallmicroscope
multimanymultilingual
novnewnovice
osteoboneosteoporosis
portcarrytransport
quadfourquadrilateral
sectcut apartsectional
senoldsenior
sentto feelsensation
telefartelevision
vinceconquerconvince
voreto eatomnivore

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