First recorded in 1870–75, trophic is from the Greek word trophikós pertaining to food. See tropho-, -ic
OTHER WORDS FROM trophic
Definition for trophic (2 of 2)
a combining form with the meanings “having nutritional habits or requirements” of the kind specified by the initial element (autotrophic), “affecting the activity of, maintaining” that specified (gonadotrophic) (in this sense often interchangeable with -tropic ); also forming adjectives corresponding to nouns ending in -troph or -trophy (hypertrophic).
The combining form-trophic is used like a suffix for a variety of meanings, including “having nutritional habits or requirements.” In other words, the sense of -trophic specifies how an organism gets its nutrition or how it feeds.
The combining form -trophic is also used as an adjective form of nouns ending with -troph or -trophy. In some cases, -trophic means “affecting the activity of, maintaining.” In this sense, it is often synonymous with -tropic.
The combining form -trophic is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology and anatomy. It comes from the Greek trophikós, meaning “pertaining to food.”
Corresponding forms of –trophic combined to the beginning of words are tropho- and troph-.
One term from biology that features -trophic is heterotrophic, meaning “capable of utilizing only organic materials as a source of food.” It is the adjective form of heterotroph.
The first part of the word, hetero-, means “different, other,” and -trophic, as we’ve seen, concerns what an organism needs for its food. So, heterotrophic has a literal sense of “other-feeding.”
Why? Put simply, heterotrophs, such as animals, require outside sources of nutrition whereas autotrophs, such as plants, can produce their own organic materials from inorganic materials (e.g., carbon dioxide).
In other, etymological words, heterotrophic organisms need “other food” because they can’t make any for themselves.
What are some words that use the combining form -trophic?