Common Latin Roots That Can Help Expand Your Vocabulary Image

While Latin is now considered a dead language, its traces can be found in many of the words we use every single day.

Studying the most common Latin roots can help you to understand words you might never have used or even heard before, a skill that can be incredibly helpful in everyday life. 

What Is a Root Word?

A root word is a word that can form the base for a number of other words with the addition of prefixes (letters before the root) or suffixes (letters after the root).

Latin root words are words that used to stand alone in the Latin language. While you likely won’t hear someone speaking Latin on the streets these days, its roots can be found in many of the words you use every day. 

Latin RootDefinitionExample
ambibothambiguous, ambidextrous
aquawateraquarium, aquamarine
audto hearaudience, audible
benegoodbenefactor, benevolent
centone hundredcentury, percent
circumaroundcircumference, circumstance
contra/counteragainstcontradict, encounter
dictto saydictation, dictator
duc/ductto leadconduct, induce
facto do; to makefactory, manufacture
formshapeconform, reform
fortstrengthfortitude, fortress
fractto breakfracture, fraction
jectthrowprojection, rejection
judjudgejudicial, prejudice
malbadmalevolent, malefactor
matermothermaterial, maternity
mitto sendtransmit, admit
mortdeathmortal, mortician
multimanymultimedia, multiple
paterfatherpaternal, paternity
portto carryportable, transportation
ruptto breakbankrupt, disruption
scrib/scribeto writeinscription, prescribe
sect/secto cutbisect, section
sentto feel; to sendconsent, resent
spectto lookinspection, spectator
structto builddestruction, restructure
vid/visto seevideo, televise
vocvoice; to callvocalize, advocate

Do All Words Have a Root?

Not all words have prefixes and suffixes to indicate changes to a root or base word.

However, many English words can be traced back to either Latin or Greek roots, which is why studying them can be so helpful when it comes to understanding your own language.

Build Your Vocabulary

A broad vocabulary can make you both a better writer and a more effective communicator. Understanding Latin roots can help you to expand your vocabulary, and using a vocabulary builder app is a great way to start.

If you want to flex those brain muscles right now by learning a few new words, check out our list of 25 weird English words that we’d bet you’ve never heard of!

How do you like to build your vocabulary? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

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