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Dictionary > Indo-European Roots

    Here's a quick overview with translations. For family, examples and more check the details.
  • *dem-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    building, home
    (Notable English members of this root are the words around the Latin domestic including words like "madame" and also the word "timber")
    Value:
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  • *preu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    hoping, jumping
    (Notable English members of this family are "frog" and "frolic". Root is not 100% certain.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)kek-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    jump, make a quick move
    (There are no English members that I could find. )
    Value:
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  • *(s)kel-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    cutting
    (Notable English members of this family are shelf, shield, skill, half, scale and a few others.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)keng-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    crooked, angled, having a limp
    (The one member of this family I could find in the sources was "shank".)
    Value:
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  • *(s)kep-, *(s)kop-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    splitting, cutting with sharp tool
    (Notable English members of this root are "scab", "to shave", "shape" and "scapula". And possibly also "scoop", though Etymolonline.com mentions two conflicting origin stories there.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)ker-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    bending, turning, moving around
    (One of multiple roots that are about turning. Notable English members of this family are curve, range, rank, search, shrink, crown and shrink.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)ker-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    cutting, slicing
    (Notable English members of this family are "share, "shear", "shore", "shirt", "short", "sharp", "screen", "score", "scrabble" and the words around "carni-" and more.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)kerb-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    turning, bending inward, shrivelling up
    (Notable English member of this root is "shrimp".)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *(s)keu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    covering, veiling
    (Notable English members of this family are hide, hoard, house, hut, huddle and also sky and obscure and some others.)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *(s)krei-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    sieving, discriminating
    (Most notable English members of this family go back to the Latin "cernere" which meant "to sift". It's the origin of words like certain, concert, excrete and secret. Other members are crisis, crime and critical. )
    Value:
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  • *(s)lei-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    slime, gliding
    (Notable family members in English are slick, slime, lime (stone), slip, slight and delete.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)leu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    gliding, slipping in/out
    (Notable English members of that family are "lubricant" and its relatives and "sleeve". The verb "to slip" is not related etymologically.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)ne-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    sewing, spinning (twirling together threads)
    (Notable English members of this family are "needle" and via a variant of the root also "the net", "node", "nexus" and "connect".)
    Value:
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  • *(s)neu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    tendon, sinew
    (This root is the origin of the Greek "neuro-". The Greeks thought tendons and nerves are similar in kind and used the same word. Later, the term focused on nerves only.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)p(h)er-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    strewing, spraying, scattering small particles.
    (Notable English members of this family are "spray", "sprout" and "spread" and probably also "sperm" and "spore". Sources don't mention this connection directly, but the Greek ancestor for sperm and spore is also mentioned in context of this root.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)pen-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    drawing (in length), stretching, spinning
    (Notable English members of this family are "span", "spider" and the various words around "pend" (depend, suspend, expensive...) which is the Latin base for "hanging".)
    Value:
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  • *(s)per-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    pole, spear
    (Notable English members of this family are "the spear", "the spar" and "spear-mint".)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *(s)plei-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    splitting, splicing
    (Notable English members of this family are "split", "splice" and "flint".)
    Value:
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  • *(s)teg-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    covering
    (Notable English members of the family are "deck", "protect", "detect", "thatch" and "tile".)
    Value:
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  • *(s)ter-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    stiff
    (This family is surprisingly broad with members like stern, stark, starch, stereo, torpedo, stare and even start and startle.)
    Value:
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  • *(s)teu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    to thrust forth, to push, to knock
    (Notable English members of this family are "steep", "step-" as in "stepbrother", "stupid" and "to study". Many etymologists also connect "to stop" and "stuff" here, but I should mention that that connection is contested by some.)
    Value:
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  • *(unknown)
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    .
    (For some words, their origin is pretty much completely obscure. I added this entry to group them up somewhere.)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *aik-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    possess, be master of
    (Notable English members of this root are owe, own, freight and ought.)
    Value:
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  • *aiw-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    vital force, long life
    (Notable English members of this root are "ever", "age", "every", "each", "eon", "eternal", "never" and "Ayurvedic".)
    Value:
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  • *al-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    to grow, to nourish
    (Notable English members of this family are "old", "world", "adolescent", "adult", "elder" and "altitude".)
    Value:
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  • *ambhi-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    around, from both sides
    (The root is a combination of the root *ant- (front, forehead) and *bho, which meant "both". Besides words with "ambi-" it is also the origin of "both" and "by", "be-" and "about".)
    Value:
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  • *ant-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    front, forehead, what's ahead
    (Notable English members are "end", "until", "answer" and all words with "anti" and many with "ad-")
    Value:
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  • *apo-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    away, off
    (Notable English members of this family are of, off, after, apology, apocalypse and apostrophe. Check the entry for more details.)
    Value:
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  • *ar(ə)-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    fitting together
    (Notable English members of that root are "arm", "art", "article" anything with the Latin based "order" and "artho-")
    Value:
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  • *aug-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    increase
    (Notable English members of this family are "to wax (become", "waist", author", "augment", "August" and "auction".)
    Value:
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  • *bat-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    good
    (This is a Germanic root that has no certain Indo-European ancestors. It's the origin of "better" and "best" which have taken the place where "gooder" and "goodest" should have been. )
    Value: coming soon
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  • *bhago-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    beech tree
    (Notable English members of this family are "beech", "book" and )
    Value:
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  • *bheid-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    to split
    (The Germanic branch focused on the fields of biting and woodwork. Notable English members of the family are "boat", "bite", "bitter" and "bit" and also the Latin based "fission" and "pita" and "pizza".)
    Value:
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  • *bhel-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    swelling, inflating, bulging
    (Notable English members are ball, boulder, blood, bloom and the Latin branch around flora.)
    Value:
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  • *bhel- (1)
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    shining, burning, flashing
    (Notable English members of this family are "bleak", "bleach", "blank", "flame", "blind", "blue", "blend" and "blond")
    Value:
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  • *bhendh-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    binding
    (Notable English members of this family are to bend, to bind, band, bandana, bond, bundle and ribbon.)
    Value:
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  • *bher(ə)-, *bhreu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    boiling, bubbling, burning
    (Notable English members of this family are braze, bread, brew, broth, brood, ferment, fervor and Brazil.)
    Value:
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  • *bher-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    carry, bear children
    (Besides the words revolving on birth, it is also the root of English words like offer, differ, suffer and transfer that all kind of tie in with bearing. )
    Value:
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  • *bheu-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    be, existing, growing
    (Notable English members of this family are "to be", "build", "neighbor" (near-builder), "bustle", all the words with "phys-" in them and last but not least ... boomer.)
    Value:
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  • *bheudh-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    be awake, be aware, make aware
    (Notable English members of this family are "to bid", "forbid", "bode" and also "Buddha".)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *bheug(h)-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    bending, giving way, fleeing
    (Notable English members of the root are "bow" and "bagel" as well as the Latin branch around "fugitive" with words like "centrifuge" or "refuge".)
    Value:
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  • *bhreg-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    breaking
    (Notable English members of this family are "to break", "to breach", "brick", "brake" and "Brexit"... well...maybe not the last one ;). Other members come from the branch around fracture with words like frail and fragment. )
    Value:
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  • *bhrug-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    to enjoy, to use
    (Notable English members of this family are "to brook", "fruit", "frugal" and "function".)
    Value:
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  • *braidi-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    wide, not narrow
    (This is a Germanic root that has no known connections outside of Germanic languages. The main English offspring is "broad".)
    Value:
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  • *dā(i)-, *di-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    divide
    (Notable English members of this root are "time", "deal", "demon", "democracy", "tide" and everyone's favorite word of the early 2020s: "pandemic". (PTSD activates).)
    Value:
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  • *daga-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    day
    (This is a Germanic root where the Indo-European connections are uncertain and debated. It's probably NOT related to the Latin branch around "dia", even though it appears like it is.)
    Value: coming soon
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  • *deik-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    showing, telling
    (Notable English members of this rather large family are token, indict, dictionary, judge, judiciary, dictate, verdict, dire and index. All words revolve around "showing, telling" in some way.)
    Value:
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  • *del-
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    long, length
    (Notable English members of this family are "long" and the Latin based family around "long-" with words like "longitude" or "elongate".)
    Value:
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  • *del- (2)
    (Indo-European Root)
    1.
    telling, counting
    (Notable English members of this family are "to tell", "tale", "teller" and "talk".)
    Value:
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