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a combining form meaning “mode of life,” used in the formation of compound words: aerobiosis; parabiosis.
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“Was” is used for the indicative past tense of “to be,” and “were” is only used for the subjunctive past tense.

Origin of -biosis

<Greek bíōsis, equivalent to biō-, verbid stem of bioûn to live + -sis-sis; cf. anabiosis, symbiosis, on which subsequent coinages were probably modeled
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -biosis mean?

The combining formbiosis is used like a suffix meaning “mode of life.” It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology.

The form –biosis comes from Greek bíōsis, meaning “state of living.” The Latin cognate of bíōsis is vivere, “to live,” which is the source of words such as survive, vivacity, and vivid. Find out more at our entry for each word.

What are variants of –biosis?

Although –biosis has no variants, it shares an origin with the combining forms bio and biont. Want to learn more? Check out our Words That Use articles for bio– and –biont.

Examples of -biosis

An example of a word you may have encountered that features –biosis is symbiosis, “the living together of two dissimilar organisms, as in mutualism, commensalism, amensalism, or parasitism.” Symbiosis comes from Greek symbíōsis, which uses the equivalent of the form in that language.

The form sym means “with” or “together,” from Greek sýn. The –biosis portion of the word means “mode of life,” as we have seen. Symbiosis literally translates to “mode of living together.”

What are some words that use the combining form –biosis?

What are some other forms that –biosis may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form anti means “against.” With this in mind, what does antibiosis literally mean?

British Dictionary definitions for -biosis


n combining form
indicating a specified mode of lifesymbiosis

Derived forms of -biosis

-biotic, adj combining form

Word Origin for -biosis

New Latin, from Greek biōsis; see bio-, -osis
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

Medical definitions for -biosis


A way of living:parabiosis.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.