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


What does cerat- mean?

Cerat- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “horn” or “cornea.” The cornea is the transparent front part of the eyeball. It is used in some scientific and medical terms.

Cerat- comes from the Greek kéras, meaning “horn.” The Latin cousin to kéras is cornū, source of corneus, literally “horn-y.” The term cornea comes from the Latin phrase cornea tēla, meaning “horn-y web,” i.e., “hornlike tissue.”

Another word related to this Greek root is karat, or carat, which is a unit of weight for gemstones. It ultimately comes from the Greek word for “little horn.”

Cerat- is a variant of cerato-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use cerato- article.

Cerat- and cerato- can also be spelled with an initial k-, becoming kerat- or kerato-, as in keratoid or ceratoid. Note that variants spelled with c- are pronounced with a soft c sound, e.g., [ seruh-toid ]. Learn more at our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of cerat-

Ceratoid means “hornlike, horny”—and no, not the slang sense of the latter word! (We think you’ll raise some eyebrows if you slide into people’s DMs saying you’re feeling ceratoid .)

The cerat- part of the word means “horn,” as we know. The suffix -oid, from the Greek -oeidēs, means “resembling,” “like.” Ceratoid literally translates to “resembling a horn.”

The word comes from the Greek kerātoeidḗs, which uses the equivalent form cerat- in the language.

What are some words related to the combining form cerat-?

  • ceratinous
  • ceratite
  • ceratodus (using the equivalent form of cerat- in New Latin)
  • ceratopsian (using the equivalent form of cerat- in New Latin)

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

Not all words beginning with the letters cerat- are using the combining form cerato- to mean “horn” or “cornea.” One example is cerate. Find out how cerate is connected to wax at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

The combining form odus means “having teeth” of a specified kind. What, generally speaking, is distinct about the teeth of the lungfish species ceratodus?