Which English words come from the Greek

Do you know the origin of the English language? 16 English words with amazing origins

What if we told you that there is a way to learn multiple English words at the same time?

All you have to do is learn a little English word and - bang! - do you know two, three or ten new words. Wow!

No, it's not magic. All you have to do is yourself origin of a word and his definition to look at.

The origin a word is the language from which it originally comes. In English there is lots Words that originally came from other languages. Some have changed over the years, while others have pretty much stayed the same. When you learn a word, you should also know its origin!

But how can you use it to double or triple your English vocabulary learning?

When a foreign word is incorporated into English, it often takes many new forms in the English language. This is a new English word with other English words and these combinations create many more new words. However, these combinations all relate to the original word! If you know the original word, you will understand all the combinations.

The more origins and original meanings you know, the more you will see how these words are used and reused in English.

With just one extra step in the vocabulary learning process - learning the word origins - you can improve your overall understanding of English. Isn't that just a dream?

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English is always evolving

Last December, the Oxford English Dictionary added 500 new words and phrases to its dictionary. Not 500 words for the entire year - the English language has only changed in three 500 officially recognized words and expressions expanded!

English is a living language. That means it is constantly evolving and changing. Many things affect the English language and its development, but no matter how new or old a word is, you can probably trace it back to a source word or the moment it was added to the language.

Whether it's the word fleek is (synonym for "nice", from 2003) or fleet (which means fleet, from 1200), most of the English words came from other countries.

Some words are borrowed from other languages ​​and turned into English words with little or no change, such as the Italian words Pizza and zucchini. Other words have undergone much more changes and are barely recognizable, like the Latin word pax, that too peace in English became.

No matter how different a word is from its origin, knowing where it came from can help you learn English.

How Learning Word Origins Can Improve Your English

When you learn a new word, do you also remember to learn the different forms and tenses? After all, it's not enough just to learn the word “to see” when you want to talk about something you saw last week. You have to be able to say "to see" in different forms and times, such as "I see", "I saw", "I'm going to see" and "you've seen". You can apply the same idea to word origins.

When you learn the origin of one word, you may see it in another word. In this case, you can have a basic understanding of the new word.

For example, look at these words:




Do you notice anything similar about them? They all contain "trans "which is a Latin word and means "over" or "through". Well, even if you don't know the full meaning of the words, you can assume that it's about to go beyond something.

Now look at the original meanings of the other Word parts to:

port - wear

To “transport something” means something by a room too wear. For example, a bus can transport people from one city to another. An airplane can transport people from one country to another.

Gress - walk

"Totransgress " means to exceed, for example a limit or a law.

Action - to do

A "transaction " usually has to do with a trade or exchange. For example, if you are paying for a shirt at a cashier, it is a transaction.

You can probably use this information to figure out what the words mean. Look how much we knew before you even thought about opening a dictionary? All thanks to the origin of the word!

Stems, prefixes and suffixes

English words are often formed from stems, with prefixes and suffixes added.

A prefix is added at the beginning of a word. The "bi" in "bicycle " is a prefix and means "two" (because there are two wheels).

A suffix is added at the end of the word. The "less " in "endless " is a suffix that means "without" (therefore means "endless " also "without end").

If you remove all prefixes and suffixes from a word, the root of the word remains, the part of the word that gives the word its main meaning. The words "cycle " and "end" in the above words are stems.

Various prefixes and suffixes are added to a word stem to change their meaning and create new words. For example, the root word "hand" to "U.Nhand" become (let go), "handout (Handouts or alms) or even "handsome (good looking).

All three words have different meanings, but they are all in one way or another by the root word "hand" related. At least the first two words are, but what does "handsome " With "hand" to do? Long ago the word was used to mean "easy to use". It later became a term used to express appreciation for someone.

Understanding roots and origins in this way will make it easier to understand new words and even why they mean what they mean. The next time you see a word that "hand" contains, you are one step closer to understanding it before you even have to look it up.

Below you will only find 16 words. From these 16 words, you will learn the meaning of more than 30 other words! Once you know the origin of each word, you will notice it in other words as well.

Much of the roots in English come from Latin and Greek. Even English words that come from other languages ​​like French or German have their origins in Latin anyway - so they were first Latin, then French or German, and then became English.

Many of the words on this list went through a few languages ​​before arriving in English, but for this post we will only focus on one main origin.

In the “Related Words” section you will find a selection of the other words that you can learn along with their origins, but there are many more. Most related words are broken down into their own origins, defined, and then highlighted in parentheses.

For example, when you use the words “together (sym) " see, do you know that the root word "sym " "Together", that means "together" means. Very easily!

And now we come to the words!


1. Phone

Importance: A telephone ("phone ") is a device that you use to communicate with people remotely.

Origin: The English word "phone " is actually an abbreviation for "telephone "what of the Greek words for sound ("phon") and far away ("Tele") comes.

Related words: Homephone ("homophones") Are words that are the same ("homo") sound ("phon"), but be spelled differently, such as “hear” and “here”. If you like to hear beautiful things, then you will be a symphony ("symphony") Like when many instruments play together ("Sym"), about a nice sound ("phon") to createin the best case.

2. Hyper

Importance: Someone, who "hyper " is is very energetic and lively.

Origin:Hyper " is actually an abbreviation of the word "hyperactive", Which is the meaning of the Greek word" over "or" beyond " ("Hyper") and the Latin word for "something that is done" ("Act") united.

Related words: If someone tells you that they are so hungry that they could eat a horse, you know they are an exaggeration ("hyperboles") Used - he stretches the truth, throws ("bole ") a little too far ("hyper ") out. No matter how exciting the exaggeration is, try not to hyperventilate ("hyperventilate“)! That means too fast ("Hyper") to breathe ("Ventilate"), so that one gets dizzy.

3. Sync

Importance: When some things happen at the same time or in the same way, they are synchronous (“in sync"). This word is an abbreviation for the word "synchronize ", but it's only used as a verb these days (your phone apps and devices may be synced to make sure your files are all up to date).

Origin:Sync " comes from a Greek word that means "to be together" ("Sym" or "syn ").

Related words: Synopsis“Means the summary of something like a film or a play. There is a possibility for everyone to summarize ("syn ") of seeing something ("Opsis"). “Synopsis” and “summary” are synonyms, which are words that have a common ("Syn") Have a meaning, but have a different sound or name ("Onym") to have.

Stay away from a piece in which, according to the summary, the actors only move their lips to the singing ("lip-sync“) Because they don't really sing themselves.

4. Air

Importance: Air ("Air") is all around us. It is the invisible gas that creates our atmosphere. We couldn't breathe without air!

Origin: The word "air " went through a few languages ​​before it hit English, but it probably comes from the Greek word "aer "which means "to blow" or "to breathe". One can actually find words in which both "aer " as well as "air " occurs.

Related words: An airplane ("airplane“) Is a relatively flat object ("plans"), that through the air ("air“) Flies. Airplanes are aerodynamic ("aerodynamic“), Which means that they are air ("Aer") use them to propel their flight ("Dynamic") To provide. Don't forget to look down when you're on an airplane, as aerial photos ("aerial views “) are really wonderful!


5. Dense

Importance:Dense " means "dense" or "very thick". For example, fog can be so thick that you can no longer see anything.

Origin:Dense " comes from the Latin word for "fat" ("Densus").

Related words: You can use condensation ("condensation“) See when evaporated water molecules join together ("Con") and condense ("Dens"), so that drops arise. Density ("density“) Is the measure of how thick / dense ("Dens") something is like people or things in a room.

6. Finish

Importance:"Finish" means to end something.

Origin:Finish" comes from the Latin word "finis " what "end" means. In many words this is to "fin“Shortened.

Related words: You have probably defined a lot of vocabulary while learning English ("define“) Must, which means you looked up what the words mean. It can be said that you put an end to your ignorance! Don't worry, there is a limited ("finite") Number of English words beginning with"ite " end, which means that something has a limit or an end ("Fin"). When English is infinite ("infinite") or without ("in") Limits, we would have to learn forever!

7. Shape

Importance: The shape of something is the shape. As a verb means "to form " shape something.

Origin: The word comes from the Latin words for form ("Forma") and the verb for "to shape"("Formare").

Related words: In many professions and schools, people need one uniform wear what clothes the same ("University") Art ("shape") is. If there are no strict rules about what to wear, then the clothes are informal ("informal") or without ("in") a specific shape ("shape").

8. Letter

Importance: A letter ("letter ") is a symbol that represents a sound in a language, such as a, b, c, or the rest of the alphabet. A letter (also "letter ") is a message that you write or send to someone. E-mails are digital letters!

Origin: In Latin the letter "littera " and the parts "lit " and "liter" this word occurs in many English words.

Related words: If you read a lot, then you are well-read ("literate“). You probably read literature too ("literature") And hopefully don't take fiction too literally ("literally"). All of these words are stems from "liter", but their suffixes make them well-read (literate), something that exists (liternature) and something literal (literally).

9th part

Importance: A part ("part") is part of a whole, something that is not complete. In the verb form means"To part" separate or take away something.

Origin: This word comes from the Latin word "partire " or "partiri "which means “separate” or “share with others”.

Related words: Someone who is impartial / neutral ("impartial“) Is, has none ("in the") Opinion about something. You may not care if you are in a house or Apartment live An apartment is the result ("Ment") the division of a building into smaller units ("part"). Wherever you live, stay in a safe area - you don't want your family in a dangerous situation ("jeopardy“) Bring - according to the original definition it means an evenly divided ("part") game ("Jeo").

10. Voice

Importance: Your voice ("Voice") gives a sound to what you say.

Origin: The Latin word for voice is "vox"And the word for" call "is"vocare ". These two related words are the origin of a number of English words related to language or voice. They usually contain the root word "voc " or "vok ".

Related words: A lawyer ("advocate“) Is someone who calls others ("Voc"), To him ("Ate") to help support a case or person. Even someone who means well could provoke someone who disagrees. To provoke someone ("provoke") Means to move someone forward ("Per") To call ("vok“) And to challenge him in a way that would normally upset him.

Old Norse

11. Loft

Importance: A loft is a room directly under the roof of a building. The loft in a house is typically used as storage, but lofts are also rented out as normally smaller living spaces.

Origin: The old Norse word for air or sky was "lopt ", in English was "loft " out of it.

Related words: Aloft“Is up in ("A") the air ("Loft"). If something is very high up, one says it is high ("lofty"), Which is the adjective form of"loft " is. In the same way, is someone who "lofty " is a very high one ("Loft") Opinion of yourself what makes you proud or conceited.


12. Question

Importance: A question ("question ") to ask means to want to know more about something. A question mark appears after questions ("question mark").

Origin: Originally from Latin, the English language borrowed the old French word "question " and never returned it. The word means "to ask" or "to seek" and shows itself in different ways, from "quire " to "quest ". This stem can be difficult to spot as it alternates between the French and Latin versions of the word.

Related words: In some fantasy books, the main characters go on an adventure trip or a long and difficult search for something ("quest"). Perhaps you are interested in murder mystery books in which investigations are often carried out ("inquest“) Or an official investigation ("Quest") to ("in") a suspicious death of a person takes place. If these books sound interesting to you, you can inquire about them in your local library ("inquire“).

13. Peace

Importance: Peace ("Peace") is a calm state of being. It means the absence of wars or troubles. Peace is a wonderful thing!

Origin: The Latin word "pax " and the old French word "pais " both mean “peace and use English words both as prefixes and suffixes. Can you think of any other words that say "pac " or "peas " included (just not the "peas" to eat, that's another word).

Related words: Pacify“Literally means someone calmer ("Pac") do ("Ify"), so calm down. You can also appease someone ("appease“).

14. Liberty

Importance:Liberty " means freedom. The Statue of Liberty in New York is a symbol of freedom.

Origin: Another originally Latin word that finds its way via the old French word "liberete", Usually to"lib“Abbreviated, found in English.

Related words: A liberator ("liberator“) Is a person ("Ator"), who frees others from a situation like slavery, prison, or a bad leader ("Lib"). To free oneself means to be open to change, i. H. liberal become - someone with a personality ("Al"), the open ("Lib") for new ideas or ways of thinking.


15. Gusto

Importance: This means something with gusto (“with gusto“) To do and really enjoy it.

Origin: The Italian word "gusto" actually means taste and comes from the Latin word for taste "gustus ".

Related words: You will not do anything with enthusiasm if you find it disgusting ("disgusting“) Find - literally without ("Dis") taste ("Gust").


16. Check

Importance:"Check" means checking something. For example, you check that you have everything with you before you go to work in the morning. "Check“Can also mean slowing down or stopping something.

Origin: The word "check " has an interesting story, it has moved from language to language and its meaning changed a little each time. The word is originally from Persian, then it migrated into Arabic, where it meant "king". In the course of time it was used in chess and defined as "control". Eventually the word meaning changed to what it is today. So much history in such a little word!

Related words: Not checking something (“leaving something unchecked“) Means something without ("U.N") Limits or control ("Check") allow. For example, if you let weeds grow unchecked in your garden, they will spread everywhere. The word "check“Alone refers to an invoice. A "raincheck“Used to be a card given to people when an event had to be canceled due to rain. Today “raincheck” means to postpone something to another point in time.


The more roots and origins you know, the easier it will be to learn new words.

Don't stop learning at this point! Can you think of any other words that have related roots?

Also use FluentU to make it even easier for you. You can use FluentU on the website with your computer or tablet, or even better, download the FluentU app from the iTunes store or the Google Play store.

There are always new words to discover and now you know exactly what to look for!

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