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variant of aero- before a vowel: aerate.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does aer- mean?

Aer– is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “air.” It is often used in scientific terms, especially in biology.

Aer– comes from Greek āḗr, meaning “air.”

What are variants of aer-?

Aer– is a variant of aero, which loses its –o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. When combined with word elements of Latin origin, aero– becomes aeri, as in aeriferous. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles for aer– and aeri-.

Examples of aer-

One example of a scientific term that features the form aer– is aerobe, “an organism, especially a bacterium, that requires air or free oxygen for life.”

The aer– part of the word means “air,” as we have seen. The –obe portion of the word comes from a shortening of microbe, meaning “a microorganism.” Aerobe literally means “a microorganism [that needs] air.”

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

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

Not every word that begins with the exact letters aer– or aeri-, such as aerie, is necessarily using the combining form aer– to denote “air.” Learn why aerie means “bird’s nest” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

The combining form enchyma denotes cellular tissue. With this in mind, what does the scientific term aerenchyma literally mean?

How to use aer- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for aer-


combining form
a variant of aero-
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