Grammar Tips (#12): Turning English words into Portuguese (3): Greek and Latin suffixes

Like English, Portuguese inherited several (mainly technical/scientific) words directly from Greek or Latin, which have associated meanings for both their root words and suffixes. This specific post serves as a way to enlight the meanings behind suffixes and to make connections between said suffixes and the gender of the Portuguese words.

The final post in this series of four will bring the information from the three preceding posts into a unified post, mainly through a table with the letter/affix relationships between the two languages.

#1: Several (mainly) scientific terms with Greek suffixes turn into Portuguese feminine nouns:

  • -logy (fields of learning; narratives)
    • Biology > [a] Biologia
    • Sociology [a] Sociologia
    • trilogy[a] trilogia
  • -itis (inflammation) > -ite
    • nephritis [a] nefrite
    • laryngitis [a] laringite
    • conjunctivitis [‘pink eye’] [a] conjuntivite
  • -sis (condition; process) > -se
    • psoriasis[a] psoríase
    • psychosis[a] psicose
    • sepsis[a] sepse (more common [a] sépsis)
  • -(a/o)lysis (decomposition/disintegration) > (á/ó)lise
    • dialysis[a] diálise
    • electrolysis[a] ele(c)trólise
    • analysis[a] análise
  • -archy (leadership/government) > -arquia
    • hierarchy > [a] hierarquia
    • monarchy[a] monarquia
    • anarchy[a] anarquia
  • -cracy (type of rule) > -cracia (adj. -cratic > -crático; n. -crat > -crata)
    • democracy [a] democracia
    • aristocracy[a] aristocracia
    • theocracy[a] teocracia
  • -philia (tendency towards liking something) > -filia (adj./n. -(o)phile > – (ó)filo/a)
    • hemophilia > [a] hemofilia
    • astrophilia[a] astrofilia
    • Lusophilia[a] Lusofilia
  • -phobia (fear/hate/dislike of something) > -fobia (adj. -phobic > -fóbico; n. (o)phobe > (ó)fobo; adj.)
    • xenophobia[a] xenofobia
    • homophobia[a] homofobia
    • claustrophobia[a] claustrofobia
  •  -nomy/-nomics (law) > -nomia (rarely -nómio, masculine)
    • astronomy[a] astronomia
    • agronomy[a] agronomia
    • economics[a] economia
    • ergonomics[a] ergonomia
  • -sophy (knowledge, wisdom) > -sofia
    • Philosophy[a] Filosofia
    • theosophy[a] teosofia
    • misosophy[a] misosofia
  • -scopy (observation, viewing) > -scopia
    • bronchoscopy[a] broncoscopia
    • colonoscopy[a] colonoscopia
    • tracheoscopy[a] traqueoscopia
  • -opsy (examination) > -opsia
    • autopsy[a] autópsia
    • biopsy > [a] biópsia (or biopsia)
    • necropsy[a] necrópsia (or necropsia)
  • -tomy (cut, division) > -tomia
    • laparotomy[a] laparotomia
    • dichotomy[a] dicotomia
    • anatomy[a] anatomia
  • -metry (measure, measurement) > -metria
    • geometry[a] geometria
    • trigonometry[a] trigonometria
    • symmetry [a] simetria
  • -dermis/-derm (skin) > -derme
    • dermis > [a] derme
    • epidermis > [a] epiderme
    • endoderm[a] endoderme
    • but pachyderm[o/a] paquiderme (because we are talking about animals, not skin structures)
  • -phony (sound) / -tony (tone) > -fonia / -tonia
    • symphony[a] sinfonia
    • homophony[a] homofonia
    • monotony[a] monotonia (in Portuguese, “dullness, tediousness”)
  • -phagy (feeding; eating) > -fagia
    • autophagy > [a] autofagia
    • geophagy > [a] geofagia
    • hematophagy > [a] hematofagia
  • -graphy (written or represented in a certain way) – compare with -graph below
    • bibliography[a] bibliografia
    • photography[a] fotografia
    • stenography[a] estenografia
  • -agogy (leading) > (n./adj. -agogue > -agogo/a)
    • pedagogy[a] pedagogia
    • demagogy [also demagoguery] > [a] demagogia
  • -gamy (marriage) > -gamia (n./adj. -(i)gamous > -(í)gamo)
    • bigamy[a] bigamia (n./adj. bigamous > [o/a] bígamo/a)
    • polygamy[a] poligamia
    • endogamy[a] endogamia
  • -cephaly (head) > -cefalia
    • hydrocephaly > [a] hidrocefalia
    • hypercephaly[a] hipercefalia

#2: Other suffixes turn into masculine nouns:

  • -carp (part of a fruit; fruiting body) > -carpo
    • mesocarp[o] mesocarpo
    • endocarp[o] endocarpo
    • monocarp[o] monocarpo
  • -(o)cyte (cell names) > -(ó/í)cito
    • lymphocyte[o] linfócito
    • erythrocyte[o] eritrócito
    • leukocyte[o] leucócito
    • pituicyte[o] pituícito
  • -(a/y)gon (angle) > -(á/í)gono
    • polygon > [o] polígono
    • pentagon > [o] pentágono
    • eneagon > [o] eneágono
  • -graph (letter) > -(á/í/ó)grafo
    • paragraph[o] parágrafo
    • digraph[o] dígrafo
    • homograph[o] homógrafo
  • -gram (measures of weight; something written or drawn) > -grama
    • kilogram[o] quilograma
    • pentagram[o] pentagrama
    • anagram > [o] anagrama
  • -hedron (face of a geometric solid) > -edro
    • polyhedron > [o] poliedro 
    • dodecahedron[o] dodecaedro
    • icosahedron[o] icosaedro
  • (o/a)lith (stone, rock) > -(ó/á)lito
    • coprolith > [o] coprólito
    • monolith > [o] monólito
    • megalith > [o] megálito
  • -(i/o)meter/metre (units of length; device used to measure something) > -(í/ó)metro
    • centimeter[o] centímetro
    • thermometer [o] termómetro
    • anemometer > [o] anemómetro
  • -ome (whole of a class of substances; mass) > -oma
    • biome > [o] bioma
    • chromosome > [o] cromossoma
    • genome[o] genoma
  • -(i/y)on (elementary particles in physics; ion subdivisions) > -(i)ão
    • electron [o] ele[c]trão
    • proton [o] protão
    • cation [o] catião
  • -phone (device that makes a sound) > -fone
    • telephone > [o] telefone
    • microphone[o] microfone
    • saxophone[o] saxofone
  • -(o)phone (type of sound; speaker of a certain language) > (ó)fono
    • homophone[o] homófono (also adj. homófono/a)
    • allophone[o] alófono
    • Lusophone[o/a] lusófono/a

#3: Suffixes related to people and/or animals turn into double-gendered nouns or adjectives:

  • -cide (killing) > -cídio [masc. noun – act of killing] / -cida [double-gendered noun/adjective – perpetrator/related to killing]
    • regicide[o] regicídio / [o/a] regicida
    • suicide[o] suicídio / [o/a] suicida
    • homicide[o] homicídio / [o/a] homicida
  • -(i)vore (eater) – (í)voro
    • herbivore[o/a] herbívoro/a
    • frugivore[o/a] frugívoro/a
    • omnivore[o/a] omnívoro/a
  • -glot (speaker) > -glota
    • polyglot[o/a] poliglota

 

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2 thoughts on “Grammar Tips (#12): Turning English words into Portuguese (3): Greek and Latin suffixes

  1. Yuliya June 6, 2016 / 5:59 am

    Hi, Luís!
    Thank you very much for these posts. Very useful and clear review.

    Liked by 1 person

    • luisdomingos June 8, 2016 / 8:47 pm

      You’re welcome! I’m glad these posts are helping you out on your language-learning journey (:

      Like

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