gre vocabulary using word roots

GRE Vocabulary: Using Word Roots

Vocabulary is tested in many ways on the GRE. During the Verbal section, your knowledge of vocabulary will be directly tested with Sentence Equivalence, Text Completion, and Reading Comprehension questions. 

Many students find GRE Verbal to be one of the most challenging sections on the test because of the breadth of vocabulary tested. Good old fashioned memorization can be an effective strategy, but it’s time-consuming and may not be the most efficient course of action, especially if you only have a month or two until your GRE test date.

[ RELATED: How to Study for the GRE in Two Months ]

Knowing word roots can help you in two major ways on the GRE. First, instead of learning one word at a time, you can learn a whole group of words that contain a certain root. They’ll be related in meaning, so if you remember one, it will be easier for you to remember others. Second, roots can often help you decode an unknown GRE word. If you recognize a familiar root, you could get a good enough grasp of the word to answer the question. 

Keep reading for a list of word roots that will give you the component parts of many typical GRE vocabulary words. This list is a starting point and a quick review, not an exhaustive guide (though it is lengthy!). Roots are given in their most common forms, with their most common or broadest definitions; often, other forms and meanings exist. Similarly, the definitions for the words given as examples may be incomplete, and other senes of those words may exist. To boost your GRE Verbal prep, get in the habit of looking up unfamiliar words in a good, current dictionary—whether on paper or on the Internet—and be sure to check their etymologies while you’re there.  

[  RELATED: Top 52 GRE Vocabulary Words ]


GRE Vocabulary: Kaplan’s Root List


A/AN: not, without

agnostic: one who believes the existence of God is not provable

amoral: neither moral nor immoral; having no relation to morality

atrophy: the wasting away of body tissue


AB: off, away from, apart, down

abdicate: to renounce or relinquish a throne

abject: cast down; degraded

abstract: conceived apart from concrete realities, specific objects, or actual instances

abstruse: hard to understand; secret, hidden


ABLE/IBLE: capable of, worthy of

changeable: able to be changed

combustible: capable of being burned; easily inflamed 


AC/ACR: sharp, bitter, sour

acerbic: sour or astringent in taste; harsh in temper

acid: something that is sharp, sour, or ill-natured

acrimonious: caustic, stinging, or bitter in nature

acumen: mental sharpness; quickness of wit


ACT/AG: to do, to drive, to force, to lead

agile: quick and well-coordinated in movement; active, lively

pedagogue: a teacher


AD: to, toward, near (often the d is dropped and the first letter to which a is prefixed is doubled.)

accede: to yield to demand; to enter office

addict: to give oneself over, as to a habit or pursuit

adjoin: to be close or in contact with


AL/ALI/ALTER: other, another

alias: an assumed name

allegory: figurative treatment of one subject under the guise of another

altruist: a person unselfishly concerned for the welfare of others


AM: love

amateur: a person who engages in an activity for pleasure rather than financial or professional gain

amity: friendship; peaceful harmony

amorous: inclined to love, esp. sexual love


AMBI/AMPHI: both, on both sides, around

ambidextrous: able to use both hands equally well

ambient: moving around freely; circulating

ambiguous: open to various interpretations


AMBL/ABUL: to go, to walk

ambulance: a vehicle equipped for carrying sick people (from a phrase meaning “walking hospital”)

ambulatory: of, pertaining to, or capable of walking

perambulator: one who makes a tour of inspection on foot


ANIM: of the life, mind, soul, breath

animosity: a feeling of ill will or enmity

equanimity: mental or emotional stability, especially under tension

magnanimous: generous in forgiving an insult or injury



annals: a record of events, esp. a yearly record

annual: of, for, or pertaining to a year; yearly

perennial: lasting for an indefinite amount of time


ANT/ANTE: before

antecedent: existing, being, or going before

antedate: precede in time

antediluvian: belonging to the period before the biblical flood; very old or old-fashioned


ANTRHO/ANDR: man, human

androgen: any substance that promotes masculine characteristics

androgynous: being both male and female

misanthrope: a person who hates humans or humanity


APO: away

apocalypse: revelation; discovery; disclosure

apogee: the highest or most distant point

apostasy: a total desertion of one’s religion, principles, party, cause, etc. 


ARCH/ARCHI/ARCHY: chief, principal, ruler

anarchy: a state or society without government or law

monarchy: a government in which the supreme power is lodged in a sovereign

oligarchy: a state or society ruled by a select group


ARD: to burn

ardent: burning; fierce; passionate

ardor: flame; passion

arson: the crime of setting property on fire


AUTO: self

autonomy: independence or freedom

autocrat: an absolute ruler


BE: about, to make, to surround, to affect (often used to transform words into transitive verbs)

belie: to misrepresent; to contradict

belittle: to make small; to make something appear smaller

bemoan: to lament; to moan for


BEL/BELL: beautiful

belle: a beautiful woman

embellish: to make beautiful; to ornament


BEN/BENE: good

benediction: act of uttering a blessing

benefit: anything advantageous to a person or thing

benign: having a kindly disposition 


BI/BIN: two

biennial: happening every two years

bilingual: able to speak one’s native language and another with equal facility

binocular: involving two eyes


BON/BOUN: good, generous

bona fide: in good faith; without fraud

bountiful: generous


BREV/BRID: short, small

abbreviate: to shorten

breviloquent: laconic; concise in one’s speech

brevity: shortness


BURS: purse, money

bursar: treasurer

bursary: treasury

disburse: to pay


CAD/CID: to fall, to happen by chance

cascade: a waterfall descending over a steep surface

coincidence: a striking occurrence of two or more events at one time, apparently by chance

recidivist: one who repeatedly relapses, as into crime


CAP/CIP/CEPT: to take, to get

capture: to take by force or stratagem

percipient: having perception; discerning; discriminating 

precept: a commandment or direction given as a rule of conduct


CAP/CAPIT/CIPIT: to head, headlong

capital: the city or town that is the official seat of government 

capitulate: to surrender unconditionally or on stipulated terms

precipice: a cliff with a vertical face



concord: agreement; peace, amity

concordance: agreement, concord, harmony

discord: lack of harmony between persons or things


CED/CEED/CESS: to go, to yield, to stop

accede: to yield to a demand; to enter office

cessation: a temporary or complete discontinuance

incessant: without stop


CELER: speed

accelerant: something used to speed up a process

celerity: speed; quickness


CERN/CERT/CRET/CRIM/CRIT: to separate, to judge, to distinguish, to decide

certitude: freedom from doubt

discrete: detached from others, separate

hypocrite: a person who pretends to have beliefs that she does not


CHROM: color

chromatic: having to do with color

chromosome: genetic material that can be studied by coloring it with dyes


CHRON: time

anachronism: something that is out-of-date or belonging to the wrong time

chronic: constant, habitual

chronometer: a highly accurate clock or watch



circuitous: roundabout, indirect

circumspect: cautious; watching all sides


CIS: to cut

exorcise: to seek to expel an evil spirit by ceremony

incisive: penetrating, cutting 


CLA/CLO/CLU: to shut, to close

claustrophobia: an abnormal fear of enclosed places

cloister: a courtyard bordered with covered walks, esp. in a religious institution

preclude: to prevent the  presence, existence, or occurrence of


CLAIM/CLAM: to shout, to cry out

clamor: a loud uproar

disclaim: to deny interest in or connection with

proclaim: to announce or declare in an official way


CLI: to lean toward

climax: the most intense point in the development of something

disinclination: aversion, distaste

Proclivity: inclination, bias


CO/COL/COM/CON: with, together

commensurate: suitable in measure, proportionate

conciliate: to placate, win over

connect: to bind or fasten together



contrary: opposed to; opposite

countermand: to retract an order



corps: a body (an organized group) of troops

corpulent: obese; having a lot of flesh

incorporation: combining into a single body


COSM: order, universe, world

cosmology: a theory of the universe as a whole 

cosmopolitan: worldly

microcosm: a small system that reflects a larger whole


COUR/CUR: running, a course

concur: to agree

cursory: going rapidly over something; hasty; superficial

incursion: a hostile entrance into a place, esp. suddenly 



accretion: an increase by natural growth

accrue: to be added a matter of periodic gain

excrescence: an outgrowth


CRED: to believe, to trust

credo: any formula of belief

credulity: willingness to believe or trust too readily


CULP: fault, blame

culpable: deserving blame or censure

inculpate: to charge with fault

mea culpa: through my fault; my fault


DAC/DOC: to teach

didactic: intended for instruction

indoctrinate: to imbue a person with learning


DE: away, off, down, completely, reversal

defame: to attack the good name or reputation of

deferential: respectful; to yield to judgment

defile: to make foul, dirty, or unclean


DEM: people

democracy: government by the people

endemic: peculiar to a particular person or locality

pandemic: general, universal


DI: day

diurnal: daily

quotidian: everyday; ordinary


DI/DIF/DIS: away from, apart, reversal, not

diffuse: to pour out and spread, as in a fluid

dilatory: inclined to delay or procrastinate

dissipate: to scatter wastefully


DIGN: worth

condign: well deserved; fitting; adequate

dignitary: a person who holds a high rank or office

disdain:  to look upon or treat with contempt


DOL: to suffer, to pain, to grieve

doleful: sorrowful, mournful 

dolorous: full of pain or sorrow, grievous

indolence: a state of being lazy or slothful


DUB: doubt

dubiety: doubtfulness

dubious: doubtful

indubitable: unquestionable 


DULC: sweet

dulcet: sweet; pleasing

dulcified: sweetened; softened

dulcimer: a musical instrument


DYS: faulty, abnormal

dysfunctional: poorly functioning

dyspepsia: impaired digestion

dystrophy: faulty or inadequate nutrition or development


E/EX: out, out of, from, former, completely

efface: to rub or wipe out; surpass, eclipse

extricate: to disentangle, release


EPI: upon

epidermis: the outer layer of the skin

epigram: a witty or pointed saying tersely expressed

epilogue: a concluding part added to a literary word


EQU: equal, even

equation: the act of making equal

iniquity: gross injustice; wickedness


ERR: to wander

errant: wandering or traveling, especially in search of adventure

erratic: deviating from the proper or usual course in conduct


ESCE: becoming

convalescent: recovering from illness

obsolescent: becoming obsolete


EU: good, well

euphemism: pleasant-sounding term for something unpleasant

euphony: pleasantness of sound


FAB/FAM: to speak

affable: friendly, courteous

defame: to attack the good name of 

ineffable: too great for description in words; that which much not be uttered


FATU: foolish

fatuity: foolishness; stupidity

fatuous: foolish; stupid

infatuated: swept up in a fit of passion impairing one’s reason


FI/FID: faith, trust

affidavit: a written statement on oath

fiduciary: of a trust; held or given in trust

infidel: disbeliever in the supposed true religion


FLU/FLUX: to flow

confluence: merging into one

effluence: flowing out of (light, electricity, etc.)

mellifluous: pleasing, musical


FULG: to shine

effulgent: shining forth 

refulgent: radiant; shining


FUS: to pour

diffuse: to spread widely or thinly

profuse: lavish, extravagant, copious

suffuse: to spread throughout or over from within


GEN: birth, creation, race, kind

congenital: existing or as such from birth 

progeny: offspring, descendants 


GNI/GNO: to know

ignoramus: a person lacking knowledge, uninformed

prognosis: to forecast, especially of disease


GRAT: pleasing

gratuity: money given for good service

ingratiate: to bring oneself into favor


GREG: flog

aggregate: a number of things considered a collective whole

egregious: remarkably bad; standing out from the crowd

gregarious: sociable; enjoying spending time with others


HAP: by chance

haphazard: at random

hapless: without luck


HER/HES: to stick

adherent: able to adhere; believer or advocate of a particular thing

coherent: logically consistent; having waves in phase and of one wavelength

inherent: involved in the constitution or essential character of something


HOL: whole

catholic: universal

holograph: a document written entirely by the person whose name it’s in

holistic: considering something as a unified whole


HYPER: over, excessive

hyperactive: excessively active

hyperbole: purposeful exaggeration for effect


HYPO: under, beneath, less than

hypochondriac: one affected by extreme depression of mind or spirits, often centered on imaginary physical ailments 

hypocritical: pretending to have beliefs one does not

hypodermic: relating to the parts beneath the skin


ICON: image, idol

iconic: being representative of a culture or movement

iconoclast: one who attacks established beliefs; one who tears down images

iconology: symbolism


IN/IM: in, into (often the m is dropped and the first letter to which i is prefixed is doubled)

incarnate: given a bodily, esp. a human, form

influx: the act of flowing in 

intrinsic: belonging to a thing by its very nature


IN/IM: not, without

indigent: poor, needy, lacking in what is needed

indolence: showing a disposition to avoid exertion; slothful

innocuous: not harmful or injurious


JECT: to throw, to throw down

abject: utterly hopeless, humiliating, or wretched

conjecture: formation of opinion on incomplete information

eject: to throw out, expel


JOC: joke

jocose: given to joking; playful

jocular: in a joking manner; funny

jocund: merry; cheerful


JUD: to judge

abjudicate: to act as a judge

judicious: having good judgment


JUR: law, to swear

abjure: to renounce an oath

adjure: to beg or command

perjury: willful lying under oath


LAUD: praise, honor

laudable: praiseworthy

laudatory: expressing praise


LAV/LAU/LU: to wash

ablution: act of cleansing

antediluvian: before the biblical flood; extremely old

deluge: a great flood of water


LEC/LEG/LEX: to read, to speak

legible: readable

lexicographer: a writer of dictionaries

lexicon: a dictionary


LECT/LEG: to select, to choose

eclectic: selecting ideas, etc. from various sources

predilection: preference, liking


LI/LIG: to tie, to bind

liable: legally responsible; bound by law

lien: the right to hold a property due to an outstanding debt

ligature: a connection between two letters; a bond


LIBER: free

liberality: generosity

libertine: one who follows one’s own path, without regard for morals or other restrictions


LITH: stone

acrolith: a statue with a stone head and limbs (but a wooden body)

lithography: a printing process that originally involved writing on a flat stone

lithology: the study of rocks and stones

megalith: a very big stone


LOC/LOG/LOQU: word, speech, though

colloquial: of ordinary or familiar conversation

elocution: art of clear and expressive speaking

grandiloquent: pompous or inflated in language

loquacious: talkative


LUD/LUS: to play

allude: to refer casually or indirectly

delude: to mislead the mind or judgment of, deceive

elude: to avoid capture or escape defection by


MACRO: great, long

macrobiotics: a system intended to prolong life

macrocephalous: having a large head

macrocosm: the universe; a large system that is reflected in at least one of its subsets 


MAG/MAJ/MAX: big, great

magnanimous: generous in forgiving an insult or injury

magnate: a powerful or influential person

maxim: an expression of general truth or principle 


MAL/MALE: bad, ill, evil, wrong

maladroit: clumsy; tactless

malapropism: humorous misuse of a word

malfeasance: a misconduct or wrongdoing often committed by a public official

malign: to speak harmful untruths about, to slander


MEGA: large, great

megapolis: a very large city

megaton: explosive power equal to 1000 tons of TNT


MICRO: very small

microbe: a very small organism

micron: a millionth of a meter


MIN: small

diminution: the act or process of diminishing

minutiae: small or trivial details


MIS: bad, wrong, to hate

misadventure: bad luck; an unlucky accident

misanthrope: one who hates people or humanity

mischance: bad luck; an unlucky accident


MIS/MIT: to send

emissary: a messenger or agent sent to represent the interests of another

remit: to send money


MOLL: soft

emollient: something that softens or soothes (e.g., a lotion)

mollify: sooth; soften; calm


MON/MONIT: to remind, to warn

admonish: to counsel against something; caution

premonition: forewarning, presentiment

remonstrate: to say or please in protest, object, or reproof



monarchy: rule by a single person

monograph: a scholarly study of a single subject

monomania: an obsession with a single subject


MOR/MORT: death

immortal: not subject to death

moribund: dying, decaying


MORPH: shape

amorphous: without definite form; lacking a specific shape

anthropomorphism: attribution of human characteristics to inanimate objects, animals, or natural phenomena 


MULT: many

multiplex: having many parts

multitudinous: very many; containing very many; having very many forms


MUT: to change

commute: to substitute; exchange; interchange

immutable: unchangeable, invariable



cognate: related by blood; having a common ancestor

nascent: starting to develop


NIHIL: nothing, none

annihilate: wipe out; reduce to nothing

nihilism: denial of all moral beliefs; denial that existence has any meaning


NOC/NOX: harm

innocuous: not harmful or injurious

noxious: injurious or harmful to health or morals


NOCT/NOX: night

noctambulant: walking at night; sleepwalking

nocturne: a dreamlike piece of music; a painting set at night



nomenclature: a system of names; systematic naming

nominal: existing in name only; negligible 

renown: fame; reputation


NON: not

nonentity: something that doesn’t exist; something that isn’t important

nonpareil: something with no equal



neologism: a newly coined word, phrase, or expression

neophyte: a beginner; a new convert; a new worker

neoplasm: a new growth in the body; a tumor


OB: toward, to, against, over

obfuscate: to render indistinct or dim; darken

obsequious: overly submissive

obstinate: stubbornly adhering to an idea, inflexible

obstreperous: noisily defiant, unruly


OMNI: all

omnibus: an anthology of the works of one author or of writings on related subjects

omnipotent: all powerful

omnipresent: everywhere at one time


ONER: burden

onerous: burdensome; difficult

onus: a burden; a responsibility


PAC/PEAC: peace

appease: to bring peace to

pacify: to ease the anger or agitation of


PALP: to feel

palpable: capable of being felt; tangible

palpate: to feel; to examine by feeling

palpitate: to beat quickly, as the heart; to throb 


PAN/PANT: all, everyone

panegyric: formal or elaborate praise at an assembly

panoply: a wide-ranging and impressive array or display


PAR: equal

disparage: to belittle, speak disrespectfully about

parity: equally, as in amount, status, or character


PARA: next to, beside

paragon: a model of excellence

parody: to imitate for purpose of satire


PAU/PO/POV/PU: few, little, poor

paucity: smallness of quantity; scarcity; scantiness

pauper: a person without any personal means of support

puerile: childish, immature

pusillanimous: lacking courage or resolution


PEC: money

impecunious: having no money; penniless

peculation: embezzlement

pecuniary: relating to money


PED/POD: foot

antipodes: places that are diametrically opposite each other on the globe

impede: to retard progress by means of obstacles or hindrances


PEL: to drive, to push

dispel: to drive away; to disperse

impel: to force; to drive forward


PER: completely

perforate: to make a way through or into something 

perfunctory: performed merely as routine duty

pertinacious: resolute, persistent


PET/PIT: to go, to seek, to strive

impetuous: characterized by sudden or rash action or emotion

petulant: showing sudden irritation, esp. over some annoyance


PHIL: love

bibliophile: one who loves or collects books

philatelist: one who loves or collets postage stamps


PHON: sound

euphony: the quality of sounding good

polyphony: the use of simultaneous melodic lines to produce harmonies in musical compositions


PLAC: to please

complacent: self-satisfied, unconcerned

complaisant: inclined or disposed to please

implacable: unable to be pleased


POLY: many

polyandry: the practice of having multiple husbands 

polyglot: someone who speaks many languages


POT: to drink

potable: drinkable; safe to drink; a drink

potation: drinking; a drink


PRI/PRIM: first

primal: original; most important

primeval: ancient; going back to the first age of the world


PROB: to prove, to test

approbation: praise, consideration

opprobrium: the disgrace incurred by shameful conduct

probity: honesty, high-mindedness



proximate: nearby; coming just before or just after

proximity: nearness; distance



protagonist: the main character in a play or story

prototype: the first version of an invention, on which later models are based


PUG: to fight

impugn: to challenge as false

pugilist: a fighter or boxer

pugnacious: to quarrel or fight repeatedly


PUNC/PUNG/POIGN: to point, to prick, to pierce

compunction: a feeling of uneasiness for doing wrong

expunge: to erase, eliminate completely

punctilious: strict or exact in the observance of formalities


PYR: fire

pyre: a bonfire, usually for burning a dead body

pyrosis: heartburn



quadrille: a square dance involving four couples

quart: one-fourth of a gallon


QUIE/QUIT: quiet, rest

acquiesce: to comply, give in 

quiescence: the condition of being at rest, still, inactive



quinquennial: a five-year period

quintuple: five times as many



deracinate: to uproot

radish: a root vegetable


RAMI: branch

ramiform: branchlike


RECT: straight, right

erect: upright; starting up straight

rectitude: moral uprightness; moral straightness


REG: king, rule

interregnum: a period between kings 

regent: one who serves on behalf of a king; one who rules

regicide: killing a king; one who kills a king


RETRO: backward

retroactive: extending to things that happened in the past

retrofit: to install newer parts into an older device or structure


RUB/RUD: red

rubella: German measles; a disease marked by red spots

rubicund: reddish; rosy-cheeked


RUD: crude

rude: uncivilized; impolite

rudimentary: undeveloped



sacrament: something regarded as possessing sacred character

sacrilege: the violation of anything sacred

sanctify: to make holy


SAG/SAP/SAV: taste, thinking, discerning

sagacious: perceptive; discerning; insightful

sage: wise

sapient: wise

savant: a learned person


SAL/SIL/SAULT/SULT: to leap, to jump

assault: a sudden or violent attack

exult: to show or feel triumphant joy


SALU: health

salubrious: healthful

salutary: healthful


SALV: to save

salvage: to save; something saved or recovered

salvation: being saved

savior: one who saves


SAN: healthy

sane: mentally healthy

sanitarium: a place of healing


SANG: blood

consanguinity: being related by blood

sanguinary: bloody; bloodthirsty


SAT: enough

dissatisfied: feeling that one does not have enough

sate: to fill

saturate: to fill completely; to entirely satisfy


SCI: to know

conscience: the inner sense of what is right or wrong, impelling one toward right action

omniscient: knowing everything

prescient: having knowledge of things before they happen


SE: apart, away

secede: to withdraw formally from an association

sedition: incitement of discontent or rebellion against a government


SEC/SEQU/SUE/SUI: to follow

non sequitur: an inference or a conclusion that does not follow from the premises

obsequious: fawning


SED/SESS/SID: to sit, to settle

assiduous: diligent, persistent, hardworking (literally, “sitting down” to business)

insidious: intended to entrap or beguile; lying in wait to entrap


SEMI: half

semicircle: half a circle

semiconscious: only partly conscious; half awake


SEN: old

senate: the highest legislative body (from “council of elders”)

senescent: getting old

senile: relating to old age; experiencing memory loss or other age-related mental impairments


SENS/SENT: to feel, to be aware

dissent: to differ in opinion, esp. from the majority

insensate: without feeling or sensitivity

presentiment: a feeling that something is about to happen


SOL: alone

desolate: deserted; laid waste; left alone

isolate: to set apart from others

soliloquize: talk to oneself; talk onstage as if to oneself

solipsism: the belief that the only thing that really exists, or can really be known, is oneself


SOL: to loosen, to free

absolution: forgiveness for wrongdoing

dissolute: indifferent to moral restraints


SOL: sun

parasol: an umbrella that protects from the sun

solarium: a sunroom; a room with windows for taking in the sun


SOMN: sleep

somnambulist: a sleepwalker

somniferous: sleep-inducing

somniloquist: one who talks while asleep

somnolent: sleep-inducing; sleepy; drowsy


SOPH: wisdom

philosopher: one who studies logic, beauty, truth, etc.; one who seeks wisdom

sophisticated: complex; worldly; experienced



insurgent: rising up in revolution; rushing in

insurrection: rising up in armed rebellion

surge: to rise up forcefully, as ocean waves


SPEC/SPIC: to look, to see

circumspect: watchful and discreet, cautious

conspicuous: easily seen or noticed; readily observable

specious: deceptively attractive


SUA: sweet, pleasing, to urge

assuage: to make less severe, ease, relieve

suave: smoothly agreeable or polite; sweet


SUB/SUP: below, under

subliminal: existing or operating below the threshold of consciousness

subsidiary: serving to assist or supplement

suppose: to put down as a hypothesis; to use as the underlying basis of an argument; to assume


SUMM: highest, total

consummate: highly qualified; complete; perfect

summit: highest point


SUPER/SUR: over, above

supercilious: arrogant, haughty, condescending

superfluous: extra, more than necessary


SYM/SYN: together

symbiosis: living together in a mutually beneficial relationship

symposium: a meeting at which ideas are discussed


TAC/TIC: to be silent

reticent: disposed to be silent or not to speak freely

tacit: unspoken understanding

taciturn: uncommunicative


TEND/TENS/TENT/TENU: to stretch, to thin

attenuate: to weaken or reduce in force

extenuating: making less serious by offering excuses


THEO: god

apotheosis: glorification, glorified ideal

theocracy: a form of government in which a deity is recognized as the supreme ruler


THERM: heat

thermal: relating to heat; retaining heat

thermonuclear: relating to a nuclear reaction that takes place at high temperatures


TOR/TORQ/TORT: to twist

contort: to twist; to distort

distort: to pull out of shape, often by twisting; to twist or misrepresent facts 

extort: to wring money, property, or services out of somebody using threats or force


TORP: stiff, numb

torpid: numbed; sluggish

torpor: numbness; listlessness; apathy


TOX: poison

antitoxin: an antibody that counteracts a given poison

toxic: poisonous


TRANS: across, beyond

intransigent: refusing to agree or compromise

transcendent: going beyond ordinary limits

transgress: to violate a law, command, or moral code


ULT: last, beyond

penultimate: second-to-last 

ulterior: beyond what is immediately present; future; beyond what is stated; hidden

ultimate: last; final


UMBR: shadow

adumbrate: to foreshadow; to sketch; to overshadow

penumbra: a shaded area between pure shadow and pure light

umbrage: shade; shadow; displeasure; resentment


UN: not

unseen: not seen

unusual: not usual; exceptional; strange


UND: wave

abound: to be plentiful; to overflow (from water flowing in waves)

inundate: to flood

undulate: to move in a wavelike way


UNI/UN: one

unanimous: of one mind; incomplete accord

uniform: of one kind; consistent


US/UT: to use

abuse: to use wrongly or improperly

usurp: to seize and hold

utilitarian: efficient, functional, useful


VAIL/VAL: strength, use, worth

ambivalent: being caught between contradictory feelings of equal power or worth

avail: to have force; to be useful; to be of value

convalescent: recovering strength; healing


VEN/VENT: to come or to move toward

adventitious: accidental contravene: to come into conflict with

convene: to assemble for some public purpose


VER: truth

aver: to affirm, to declare to be true

veracious: habitually truthful

verisimilitude: the appearance or semblance of truth


VERB: word

proverb: an adage; a byword; a short, commonly known saying

verbatim: exactly as stated; word-for-word

verbiage: excessive use of words; diction


VERD: green

verdant: green with vegetation; inexperienced

verdure: fresh, rich vegetation


VI: life

convivial: sociable

viable: capable of living

vivacity: the quality of being lively, animated, spirited


VIL: base, mean

revile: to criticize with harsh language

vile: loathsome, unpleasant

vilify: to slander, to defame


VIRU: poison

virulent: acrimonious; very bitter; very poisonous

viruliferous: containing a virus


VOC/VOK: call, word

advocate: to support or urge by argument

convoke: to call together

vocabulary: the stock of words used by or known to a particular person or group

vociferous: crying out noisily


VOL: wish

benevolent: characterized by or expressing goodwill

malevolent: characterized by or expressing bad will

volition: free choice, free will; act of choosing


VOLU/VOLV: to roll, to turn

convolution: a twisting or folding

voluble: easily turning; fluent; changeable


VOR: to eat

carnivorous: meat-eating

omnivorous: eating or absorbing everything

voracious: having a great appetite