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cyto-

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a combining form meaning “cell,” used in the formation of compound words: cytoplasm.

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Also cyte-; especially before a vowel, cyt-.

Origin of cyto-

<Greek kyto-, combining form of kýtos container, receptacle, body
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

WORDS THAT USE CYTO-

What does cyto- mean?

Cyto- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “cell.” It is used in many scientific terms, especially in medicine and biology.

Cyto- comes from the Greek kýtos, meaning “container,” “receptacle,” “body.”

What are variants of cyto-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, cyto- becomes cyt-, as in cytosis.

The corresponding form of cyto- combined to the end of words is -cyte, as in pneumonocyte.

Examples of cyto-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features cyto- is cytoplasm, “the cell substance between the cell membrane and the nucleus.”

We know cyto- means “cell,” so what about the -plasm portion of the word? The form -plasm, from the Greek plásma, has a variety of meanings, including “living substance,” “tissue,” “substance of a cell.” Cytoplasm literally translates to “cell substance.” It’s like “cell stuff”!

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form -pathy has a variety of meanings, including “disease” or “disorder.” With this in mind, what does cytopathy literally translate to?

British Dictionary definitions for cyto-

cyto-

combining form

indicating a cellcytolysis; cytoplasm

Word Origin for cyto-

from Greek kutos vessel, container; related to kuein to contain
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 cyto-

cyto-

pref.

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

Scientific definitions for cyto-

cyto-

A prefix meaning “cell,” as in the word cytoplasm.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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