Sometimes it is Greek GRE Vocabulary: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots

This week, “It’s Not GREek!” is taking a break from its regular spotlighting of GRE vocabulary words to talk about some important prefixes.  Knowing these prefixes will help you break down unfamiliar words and make educated guesses about their meaning, leading to even higher scores on test day.

Similar Greek and Latin Prefixes

A nearly complete list of Greek and Latin prefixes and roots in English can be found here.  If you have all the time in the world, memorizing these certainly won’t hurt your score, but realistically, nobody has that kind of time. Instead, let’s look at some key Greek and Latin prefixes:

Prefix: “apo” (Greek) and “ab/a/abs” (Latin)
Meaning: “away from.”
Examples: aberration, abnegate, abscond, apostate

Prefix: “amphi” (Greek) and “ambi” (Latin)
Meaning: “around,” “on both sides”
Examples: ambient, amphichroic, amphilogism,

Prefix: “ec/ex” (Greek) and “ex/e/ef” (Latin)
Meaning: “out of”
Examples: exculpate, expurgate, extirpate, extrude, effervesce

Prefix: “endo/ento” (Greek) and “intra/intro” (Latin)
Meaning: “inside”
Examples: endemic, intrinsic

Prefix: “pro” (Greek and Latin)
Meaning: “advancing or projecting forward or outward”
Examples: prolix, propound, probity, propinquity

Sample Sentence:

Due to its aberration from its normal state of probity, the weekly column was expurgated from the paper for its vulgar content.

Remember, while prefixes, suffixes and roots are useful tools to help you guess vocabulary words you do not know, there is still no substitute for memorizing your vocabulary.  So keep reviewing those flash cards!!

Miss last week’s “Sometimes it is Greek?” Check it out here. Want more GRE vocabulary? Click here for the free TestMasters GRE vocabulary list with over 2,000 words!

2 Responses to “Sometimes it is Greek GRE Vocabulary: Prefixes, Suffixes, and Roots”


  • I really appreciate that I got more and more knowledge while reading about the roots of words. I am thankful to you sir. I graduated with a BA in 2012. Whenever you publish any NEW GRE roots posts, please send them to my email .

    • Dear Imran,

      Thanks for your kind words. We are currently working on getting a subscribe button. In the meantime you can follow us on facebook or twitter.

      Best,
      Calvin

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