Word Roots and Meaning D – J

There are hundreds of words in English that have roots in Latin and Greek, a lot of these words are similar to words in French, Italian and Spanish. Knowing the meanings of these word roots can help you guess the meanings of words you don’t know.

Many of these words are found most often in formal and academic English.

A root can be found in the beginning, middle or end of a word.




dec, deca (Latin)


decade, decimal, December, decilitre, decibel

demo (Greek)


democracy, demonstration, demagogue, endemic, epidemic

dent, dont (Latin)


dental, Dentist, dentures, orthodontic

derm (Greek)


dermatology, dermatitis, hypodermic, taxidermy

dict (Latin)

speak, say

dictionary, dictation, dictator, edict, predict, dictum, diction

domin (Latin)


dominate, dominion, domineer, predominance, dominant

duc, duct (Latin)


conduct, deduct, introduction, conducive, deductible

fac, fic, fect (Latin)

make, do

factory, fiction, defect, benefactor, faculty, fact, de facto

frater (Latin)


fraternity, fraternisation, fratricide, fraternal

gen (Latin)

born, produced

gender, generation, genealogy

geo (Greek)

earth, ground

geography, geology, geothermal, geopolitics

gloss, glot (Greek)


glossary, polyglot

gram, graph (Greek)


telegram, graphic, graphology, autobiography, paragraph

gress, grad (Latin)


digress, grade, progress, transgress, congress, regress

hydra (Greek)


hydroelectric, hydration, hydrogen, dehydrate, hydraulic

ject (Latin)


reject, subject, eject, object, projector

jud (Latin)


adjudicate, judicial, judgement, misjudge, prejudice


The suffix ‘cracy’ is from Greek, it means ‘rule’ or ‘ruler’, so what do the following words mean?

democracy: ‘These elections marked the country’s progress towards democracy‘.

autocracy (auto = one): ‘He runs the company like an autocracy, he never listens to advice’.

theocracy (theo = God): ‘The country seems to be turning into a fundamentalist theocracy, the separation of church and state is eroding every day’.

aristocracy (aristo = best): ‘The English aristocracy of the 19th century cared little for the problems of the poor.’

kleptocracy (klepto = steal): ‘The country is largely run by a kleptocracy which diverts billions from the public purse into the hands of the party members’.

mediocracy (medi = middle): ‘There are very few talented or idealistic people in government these days, we’re being governed by a mediocracy’.


The suffixes ‘ible’ and ‘able’ mean ‘able to be’, so what do you think these words mean?

deductible (de = away): ‘Childcare isn’t cheap but it is tax deductible‘.

fixable: ‘She tripped over and broke it but I think it’s fixable‘.

drinkable: ‘You need to purify the water to make it drinkable‘.

excusable: ‘She’s stopped seeing him, the things he said to her were inexcusable‘.

changeable: ‘You should pack an umbrella and sunglasses, the weather is very changeable‘.

avoidable: ‘Poverty and poor nutrition contributes to thousands of avoidable deaths’.


The suffix ‘cide’ is from Latin, it means ‘kill’ or ‘killer’, so what do you think these words mean?

fratricide: ‘The story of Cain and Abel is the first reported case of fratricide‘.

homicide (homo = person): ‘He was found guilty of homicide and jailed for 30 years’.


The root word ‘therm’ is from Greek, it means ‘heat’, so what do you think ‘geothermal’ means? ‘About 70% of Iceland’s energy needs are from geothermal sources’.


The suffix ‘ology’ means ‘subject of study’, so what do you think ‘graphology’ means? ‘She claims graphology is a pseudoscience and shouldn’t be used in criminal cases’.


The prefix ‘pre’ means ‘before’, so what do you think ‘prejudice’ means? ‘I love her paintings but then I am prejudiced because I’m her mother’.

Check your ideas in the dictionary.