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a combining form used in the formation of compound words that have the general sense “love or liking” (ailurophilia,Anglophilia), “unnatural attraction” (coprophilia,necrophilia), “tendency” (biophilia,hemophilia,) in histology, “cell staining with a specific dye” (chromophilia,eosinophilia); also forming abstract nouns that correspond to adjectives ending in -philic or -philous or nouns ending in -phile (zoophilia,spasmophilia).
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Origin of -philia

From Greek philía “friendship, affinity”; see -phile, -ia;see also -phily
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -philia mean?

The combining form -philia is used like a suffix that has a variety of meanings in different contexts. Generally, it means “love or liking,” “unnatural attraction,” or “tendency.”

In some specific terms from chemistry or biology, it is used to mean “cell staining with a specific dye.” It is often used in scientific and everyday terms, especially in biology and psychology. The form -philia is used to make noun forms of words ending in -philic, -philous, or -phile.

The form -philia comes from Greek philía, meaning “friendship, affinity.” The Latin translation is amīcitia, which is the source of such words as amity.

While -philia doesn’t have any variants, it is related to six other combining forms: -phile, -philiac, -philic, -philism, -philous, and -phily. Want to know more? Check out our Words that Use articles for each form.

Examples of -philia

One example of a scientific term that features the form -philia is hydrophilia, “a tendency of the blood and tissues to absorb fluid.”

The first part of the word, hydro-, means “water,” from Greek hýdōr, while -philia means “tendency” or “liking for.” Hydrophilia literally translates to “liking for water.”

What are some words that use the combining form -philia?

What are some other forms that -philia may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form Anglo- means “English,” particularly in the sense of all things related to England. With this in mind, what is Anglophilia?

How to use -philia in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for -philia


n combining form
indicating a tendency towardshaemophilia
indicating an abnormal liking fornecrophilia

Derived forms of -philia

-philiac, n combining form

Word Origin for -philia

from Greek philos loving
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