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a combining form meaning “fruited,” “having fruit, fruiting bodies, or carpels of a given sort,” as specified by the initial element: apocarpous.
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Origin of -carpous

<Greek -karpos, adj. derivative of karpós fruit; see -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -carpous mean?

The combining form -carpous is used like a suffix meaning “fruited,” “having fruit, fruiting bodies, or carpels of a given sort.” It is often used in scientific terms, especially in botany.

The form -carpous comes from the Greek karpós, meaning “fruit.” The word carpel also ultimately derives from the Greek karpós. A carpel is a simple pistil, which comprises the female organs of a flower—the parts that bear seeds.

Equivalent to -carpous is -carpic. So, eucarpous can also be spelled as eucarpic; they both still mean the same thing. The combining form -carpic is used to form adjectives of words ending in -carp.

All of these forms bear a lot of lexical “fruit,” but what’s the difference between them? Read Our Words That use -carpic and -carp articles to find out.

Examples of -carpous

One example of a term from biology that features -carpous is angiocarpous. Angiocarpous describes a fruit that is partially enclosed, as in a shell or husk. It can also refer to a fungus or lichen whose fruiting body is enclosed.

The first part of the word, angio-, means “vessel, container” and can refer to things that act as vessels or containers, e.g., blood vessels or shells. As we know, -carpous means “having fruit.” So, angiocarpous means “having fruit in a container.”

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

While the look and sound alike, be sure not to confuse -carpous with such words as corpus or corpse. These origin of these words isn’t “fruiting bodies”: it’s “body.” Learn more at our entries for these words.

Break it down!

The combining form pleuro- can mean “side” or “lateral.” In general terms, pleurocarpous mosses produce their spores along what part of their stems?

British Dictionary definitions for -carpous



adj combining form
(in botany) indicating a certain kind or number of fruitapocarpous

Word Origin for -carpous

from New Latin -carpus, from Greek karpos fruit
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