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a combining form meaning “joint,” “jointed,” used in the formation of compound words: arthropod.



Apostrophes can be tricky; prove you know the difference between it’s and its in this crafty quiz!
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On the farm, the feed for chicks is significantly different from the roosters’; ______ not even comparable.
Also especially before a vowel, arthr-.

Origin of arthro-

<Greek, combining form of árthron a joint; akin to Latin artus (see article)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does arthro- mean?

Arthro- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “joint” or “jointed.” It is often used in medical and scientific terms.

Arthro- comes from the Greek árthron, meaning “a joint.” Related to arthro- and deriving from a Greek word based on árthron is arthritis, “acute or chronic inflammation of the joint.”

What are variants of arthro-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, arthro- becomes arthr-, as in arthralgia.

Examples of arthro-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features anthro- is arthropod, a scientific name for such creepy crawlies as insects, spiders and other archanids, and crustaceans.

We have learned already that the prefix arthro- means “joint.” What about the pod part of the word? It means “foot,” from the Greek poús.

So, arthropod literally translates to “jointed foot.” Indeed, arthopods have a segmented body, jointed limbs, and usually a chitinous shell that undergoes moltings.

Another creature, the octopus, is also derived in part from the Greek poús, meaning “foot.” Can you guess why? Discover the answer at our entry on octopus.

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form meter means “measure.” With that in mind, what does an arthrometer measure?

British Dictionary definitions for arthro-


before a vowel arthr-

combining form

indicating a jointarthritis; arthropod
from Greek arthron
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 arthro-



The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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