Frankenwords: Words with Roots from Different Languages

Words derived from more than one language are called "hybrid words." Many hybrid words in English have a combination of Latin and Greek roots, but you'll also find other interesting combinations in the list below.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. monoculture
    the act or practice of growing only one type of crop
    But experts say it is likely to reflect the insect situation in places like North America, where monoculture and pesticide use are widespread.New York Times (Dec 4, 2017)
    monos (Greek: "single") + cultura (Latin: "cultivating")
  2. dysfunction
    any disturbance in the working of an organ or body part
    These findings tally with brain-imaging studies suggesting dysfunction of some regions in insomnia, and with animal studies implicating these cells in sleep regulation.Scientific American (Mar 12, 2019)
    dys- (Greek: "bad") + functionem (Latin: "performance")
  3. claustrophobia
    a morbid fear of being closed in a confined space
    I suffer from claustrophobia: simply being in an elevator sets my teeth on edge.The New Yorker (Apr 17, 2017)
    claustrum (Latin: "bolting, closing") + -phobia (Greek: "fear")
  4. neonatal
    relating to the infant during the first month after birth
    The University of Pittsburgh Medical Center says the young patients are in the Children’s Hospital neonatal intensive care unit.Washington Times (Jul 1, 2019)
    neos (Greek: "new") + natalis (Latin: "of birth")
  5. neuroscience
    the scientific study of the nervous system and the brain
    The finding that some people in a coma show signs of consciousness was transformative for neuroscience, says Seth.Nature (Jul 23, 2019)
    neur- (Greek: "of nerves") + scientia (Latin: "knowledge")
  6. petroleum
    a dark oil consisting mainly of hydrocarbons
    Oils are powerful fuels, but the high price of refined petroleum, the oil generally preferred, precludes its widespread use for many purposes for which it is suitable.Various
    petra (Greek: "rock") + oleum (Latin: "oil")
  7. sociopath
    a person with an antisocial personality disorder
    But unless you're dealing with an actual psychopath or sociopath, it's virtually impossible for a human being to not connect on some level if the person is being patient and genuine.Salon (Jul 6, 2019)
    socius (Latin: "companion") + pathos (Greek: "suffering")
  8. bureaucracy
    a government administered primarily by nonelective officials
    It’s impossible for federal, state and local bureaucracies to move in sync in such a short period for several reasons.Washington Times (Aug 12, 2019)
    bureau (French: "writing desk") + -kratia (Greek: "power of")
  9. speedometer
    a meter fixed to a vehicle that measures and displays its speed
    The cab’s speedometer never dipped below ninety-five the whole way through the Mojave Desert.The Lightning Thief
    spod (Old Saxon: "success") + metron (Greek: "a measure")
  10. genocide
    systematic killing of a racial or cultural group
    The museum focuses on stereotypes, prejudice, genocide, the history of intolerance.The Freedom Writers Diary
    genos (Greek: "race, kind") + -cida (Latin: "killer, cutter")
  11. automobile
    a motor vehicle with four wheels
    In 1898 General Motors lacked the capital to hire salesmen for its new automobiles, so it sold franchises to prospective car dealers, giving them exclusive rights to certain territories.Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal
    autos (Greek: "self") + mobilis (Latin: "movable")
  12. television
    an electronic device that receives television signals and displays them on a screen
    My mother is standing in front of the television, listening to the news anchor.The Sky at Our Feet
    tele (Greek: "afar") + visionem (Latin: "sight")
  13. sociology
    the study and classification of human societies
    In doing so he is not committed, however, to belief in or use of any particular form of what is known as the science of society or sociology.Linebarger, Paul Myron Anthony
    socius (Latin: "companion") + -logie (Greek: "speaking")
  14. merriment
    activities that are enjoyable or amusing
    It was a merry night and he was joyful to be there in the warmth and merriment, keeping festival with his companions.A Wizard of Earthsea
    myrge (Old English: "pleasing") + mentum (Latin: suffix forming nouns to indicate an action)
  15. talkative
    friendly and open and willing to communicate
    June was funny like that, talkative and loud in class, but at lunch and during gym, she got quiet.Ivy Aberdeen’s Letter to the World
    talken, tale (Middle English: "story") + -ativus (Latin: "of or related to")
  16. electrocution
    execution by electricity
    Downed or broken power lines also may pose electrocution hazards.Washington Times (Mar 23, 2019)
    elektro- (Greek: "amber") + execut- (Latin: "carry out")
  17. hypertension
    a disorder in which blood pressure remains abnormally high
    Common among patients are chronic ailments like diabetes and hypertension.Washington Times (Jul 20, 2019)
    hyper (Greek: "to excess") + tensionem (Latin: "a stretching")
  18. bigamy
    the offense of marrying someone while you have a spouse
    Being married to more than one person, or bigamy, is illegal across the United States.Fox News (Feb 6, 2019)
    bi- (Latin: "double") + gamos (Greek: "marrying")
  19. meritocracy
    a social system in which power goes to superior intellects
    Their scores functioned as a currency of merit for a nation that aspired to meritocracy.Washington Post (May 31, 2019)
    meritus (Latin: "earning") + -kratia (Greek: "power")
  20. biodegradable
    capable of being decomposed
    Nestle was developing new paper-based materials and biodegradable polymers that are also recyclable.Reuters (Jan 15, 2019)
    bio (Greek: "life") + de- (Latin: "down") + gradi (Latin: "walk") + -abilis (Latin: "capable of")
  21. dehydrate
    remove water from
    “We dehydrate a lot of berries for granola and trail mixes.”Washington Post (Aug 12, 2019)
    de- (Latin: "down, away") + hydr- (Greek: "water")
  22. carbohydrate
    an essential component of living cells and source of energy
    There are innumerable plant-animal combinations, mostly in the sea, where the green plant cells provide carbohydrate and oxygen for the animal and receive a share of energy in return.The Lives of a Cell
    carbo (Latin: "carbon") + hydr- (Greek: "water")
  23. amorally
    without regard for the distinction between right and wrong
    A few weeks ago, I wrote about how it's fruitless to expect corporations to be moral – they are dumbly, amorally acquisitive.The Guardian (May 1, 2010)
    a- (Greek: "without") + moralis (Latin: "proper behavior")
  24. autochthonous
    originating where it is found
    He also grows about 30 other vegetables or herbs for Mr. Alija, from the autochthonous to the exotic.New York Times (Jun 8, 2016)
    autokhton (Greek: "native") + -ous (Old French) from -osus (Latin: "having, full of")
  25. eponymous
    relating to a name derived from a person
    He is best known for his outspokenness and his role in crafting the eponymous Dodd-Frank Act, which sought to regulate the financial industry after the crash last decade.The New Yorker (Jul 17, 2019)
    eponym (Greek: "giving one's name") + -ous (Old French) from -osus (Latin: "having, full of")
Created on August 13, 2019 (updated August 16, 2019)

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