a combining form with the meanings “chemical,” “chemically induced,” “chemistry,” used in the formation of compound words: chemotherapy.

Nearby words

  1. chemist,
  2. chemistry,
  3. chemmy,
  4. chemnitz,
  5. chemo,
  6. chemo-organotroph,
  7. chemoattractant,
  8. chemoautotroph,
  9. chemoautroph,
  10. chemobiotic

Also especially before elements of Latin origin, chemi-. Also especially before a vowel, chem-.

Origin of chemo-

chem-, extracted from chemical or chemistry + -o- or -i- Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for chemo-


chemi- or before a vowel chem-

combining form

indicating that chemicals or chemical reactions are involvedchemotherapy

Word Origin for chemo-

New Latin, from Late Greek khēmeia; see alchemy

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

Word Origin and History for chemo-


before vowels chem-, word-forming element denoting "relation to chemical action or chemicals," from comb. form of chemical (adj.), used to form scientific compound words from c.1900.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Medicine definitions for chemo-



Chemicals; chemical:chemotherapy.

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