List of Latin words with English derivatives

From Academic Kids

This is a list of Latin words with derivatives in English (and other modern languages).

Note that ancient orthography did not distinguish between i and j or between u and v. Many modern works distinguish u from v but not i from j. In this article both distinctions are shown as they are helpful when tracing the origin of English words. See also Latin spelling and pronunciation.
Contents

Nouns and adjectives

The citation form for nouns (the one normally shown in Latin dictionaries) is the nominative singular, but this typically does not exhibit the root form from which English derivatives from Latin nouns are generally derived.

Latin Nouns and Adjectives
Citation form Root form Meaning English Derivative
aliusalio-<td>otheralien
bonus
– melior
– optimus
bono-
– melior-
– optimo-
good
– better
– best
bonus
ameliorate
optimist
bōsbov-cowbovine
caniscan-dogcanine
civisciv-citizencivil
civilian
diēsdiē-daydiet
dominusdomino-lorddominion
domusdomu-housedomestic
fēminafēmina-womanfeminine
homōhomin-man (human being)hominid
lexlēg-lawlegal
lūnalūna-moonlunar
lupuslup-wolflupine
magnus
– mājor
– maximus
magno-
– mājor-
– maximo-
big
– bigger
– biggest
magnitude
major
maximum
maremar-seamarine
mātermātr-mothermatron
maternal
nihil, nīlnihilnothingnil
nihilism
onusoner-loadexonerate
onus
opusoper-workoperation
paterpatr-fatherpatron
paternal
rexrēg-kingregal
rūsrūr-farmrural
rustic
terraterra-landterrestrial
urbsurb-cityurban
villavilla-country housevillage
villa
virviro-man (male person)virile
vīrusvīro-slime, poisonvirus
viral

Verbs

The citation form for verbs is the first person singular, present indicative active, for instance sum meaning I am. English derivatives from Latin verbs are generally based on the present stem or the past stem. Many Latin verbs change the vowel of the first paragraph when combined with a preposition, as shown in the examples given below starting with a hyphen. For instance the word capiō (take) when combined with the preposition in gives the compound verb incipiō. In some cases the compound forms show features lost from the simple verb, for instance the initial consonant cluster gn was simplified in the Latin verb gnōscō just as the k is no longer pronounced in the English equivalent know.

Latin Verbs
Citation form Present stem Perfect stem Meaning Typical derivative
agōag-āct-doagent, action
audiōaud-aud-hearaudible
capiō
-cipiō
capi-
-cipi-
capt-
-cept-
takecapable, captive
recipient, reception
cēdōcēd-cess-yield, departrecede, recession
claudō
-clūdō
claud-
-clūd-
claus-
-clūs-
closeconclude, conclusive
faciō
-ficiō
faci-
-fici-
fact-
-fect-
makeefficient, effective
ferōfer-lāt-bringreference, relation
fīgōfīg-fīx-fixcrucifixion
fingōfing-fictfashion, inventfiction
gradior
-gredior
gradi-
-gredi-
gress-
-gress-
stepingredient, progressive
jaciō
-(j)iciō
jaci-
(j)ici-
jact-
-ject-
throwprojectile
lūdōlūd-lūs-playcollude, collusion
mergōmerg-mers-dipemerge, immerse
mittōmitt-mīs-sendcommit, missive
nōscō
-gnōscō
nōsc-
-gnōsc-
nōt-
-gnōt-, -gnit-
knownotable
cognitive
pōnōpōn-posit-putcomponent; position
premōprem-press-pushpressure, oppress
rumpōrump-rupt-breakrupture
scrībōscrīb-scrīpt-writescripture
sumes-fut-beessence, future
vertōvert-vers-turnreverse
videōvidē-vīs-seevision
volvōvolv-volūt-rollrevolve, revolution

Prepositions used to form compound words

Latin Preposition
Latin word Meaning Compound Form
ā, abfromab-
adup to, nearad-, ac-, ar-, al-
antebeforeante-
cumwith, togethercon-, coll-
down from, aboutde-
ē, exout ofex, e-, ec-
inin, intoin-, ill-
interbetweeninter-, intell-
juxtānear, close tojuxtā
obtowardsob-, occ-
praebeforeprae-(pre-)
reagainre-, red-
seaway fromsē-
prōin front of, on behalf ofprō-
postafter, behindpost-
subundersub-, sus-, succ-
superabove, on top ofsuper-
trānsacrosstrāns-

Some examples of compound words

The boundary between the prefix and verb is sometimes unclear to English speakers unfamiliar with linguistics and Latin. For example, for a long time, "descend" (de- + scend) was thought to be made of des- and cend, hence it was also spelled dis- and dys-.

Due to assimilation, the roots of some of the English verbs listed here are difficult to recognize. For example, ad- + ludo ("play") results in allude rather than *adlude. On the other hand, once a learner knows the rule they are less likely to make spelling mistakes: that the word aggressive is spelt with gg is due to the fact that it derives from ad + gredior, with -dg-, as it is more difficult to pronounce, having been turned into the easier -gg- (so that *agressive must be considered wrong).

  fero mitto pono premo scribo volvo
a(b)- ablative --- --- --- --- ---
ad- --- admit
admission
--- --- ascribe ---
con- confer
conference
collation
commit
commission
compose
composition
compress
compression
conscribe
conscription
convoluted
convolution
de- defer
deference
--- deponent
depose
deposition
depress
depression
describe
description
devolve
devolution
e(x)- --- emit
emission
exponent
expose
exposition
express
expression
--- evolve
evolution
in- infer
inference
--- impose impress
impression
inscribe
inscription
involve
involvement
inter- interfere
interference
intermittent interpose --- --- ---
iuxta- --- --- juxtapose
juxtaposition
--- --- ---
ob- offer omit
omission
oppose
opposition
oppress
oppression
--- ---
prae- prefer
preference
--- preposition --- prescribe
prescription
---
pro- --- --- propenent
propose
proposal
--- proscribe
proscription
---
re- refer
relate
remit
remission
repose repress
repression
--- revolve
revolver, revolution
se- --- --- --- --- --- ---
sub- suffer submit
submission
suppose
supposition
suppress
suppression
subscribe
subscription
---
trans- transfer
translate
transmit
transmission
transpose
transposition
--- transcribe
transcription
---

Other parts of speech

Latin wordmeaning
cur?why?
etand
inin, on
ishe, that
idit, that
quiswho
quidwhat

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