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a combining form meaning “outer,” “outside,” “external,” used in the formation of compound words:
Also, especially before a vowel, ect-.
Origin of ecto-
combining form of Greek ektós outside Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for ecto-


combining form
indicating outer, outside, external: ectoplasm
Word Origin
from Greek ektos outside, from ek, ex out
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for ecto-

word-forming element generally meaning "outside, external," before vowels ect-, comb. form of Greek ektos "outside" (adv.), used to form scientific compounds in Greek; related to Greek ek, ex "out," from PIE *eghs- (see ex-).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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ecto- in Medicine

ecto- or ect-
Outer; external: ectoparasite.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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