A photograph of a long legged, hairy spider.

Source: Agelenopsis spider los angeles macro, Matthew Filed, Wikimedia

Let’s not gloss over the contributions of the Greeks to our vocabulary. Mr. Portokalas accurately defined the word arachnophobia as a fear of spiders. The Greek root phobia means “fear,” and some people are plagued by countless fears. Visit these pages to discover some phobias you might not have known even existed.

One fear that won’t bother you after you finish this lesson is hippopotomonstrosesquippedaliophobia, or fear of long words. You know that words are composed of word parts, and if you know the meanings of some of the parts, you can infer what words mean. Very few words you encounter in your reading will be a daunting 36 letters long, but if you can isolate the meaning of one of the parts, there’s less chance that you’ll be intimidated by long words.

Practice isolating word parts to determine the meanings of words by answering the questions below. Before you begin this activity, open the graphic organizer that contains a common Greek roots chart. You can save, download, and print this file. When you are finished using the graphic organizer, return to the lesson. Graphic Organizer Instructions

take notes icon You can use your notes to record your responses to the questions. When you are finished, check your understanding to see sample responses.

  1. Which one would be a unit of sound? A photon? A phoneme? Why?
  2. What would be another good word for “selfie”? Autophoto or telephoto? Why?
  3. Where would hydrotherapy take place? In the sand or in the water? Why?
  4. Which word would you be more likely to encounter in math class? Perimeter or biosphere? Why?
  5. Where would you find more differences? In a heterogeneous group? In a homogenous group? Why?
  6. Which one of these professions would be more likely to use a quilled pen? A calligrapher or a technician?
Check Your Understanding

Sample Responses:

  1. A phoneme because phon means “sound”; photo means “light.”
  2. Autophoto because auto means “self,” so it would make sense that a word like selfie would contain auto. Tele means “far away.” That would be the opposite of a close-up photo of one’s self.
  3. In the water because hydra is the root for water.
  4. Perimeter because that word contains the root meter meaning “to measure.” You might study the biosphere in a science class.
  5. In a heterogeneous group because hetero means “different”; homo means “the same.”
  6. A calligrapher because graph means “to write”; techno is related to skill.

Make sure to keep the graphic organizers you have saved in this lesson. You might even print and tape them to your mirror or the inside of your locker so you can commit these meaningful word parts to memory. Ask a friend to quiz you on them.