Origin of deci-
WORDS THAT USE DECI-
What does deci- mean?
Deci- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “tenth.” It is most often used to denote units of the metric system.
Deci- comes from the Latin decimus, meaning “tenth.” The word decimate, meaning “to destroy a great number or proportion of” comes from this same Latin root. Find out how at our entry for decimate.
A similar word from Greek, déka, meaning “ten,” gives us the combining forms dec-, deca-, and deci-. Want to know more? Check out our Words That Use articles for all three forms.
Despite the similarity between the two forms, it’s important not to confuse deci-, which means “tenth,” with deca-, meaning “ten.” A decigram is one-tenth of a gram (0.1 g), but a decagram is ten grams (10 g).
Examples of deci-
One example of a technical term you may have encountered that features the combining form deci- is decimeter, “a unit of length equal to 1/10 of a meter.” Decimeter comes from the French décimètre, which uses the equivalent of the combining form deci-.
The first part of the word, deci-, means “tenth,” as we have seen. The combining form -meter has a variety of meanings, but in this case it refers to the metric unit “meter.” Decimeter literally means “a tenth of a meter.”
What are some words that use the combining form deci-?
- decillion (using the equivalent form of deci- in Latin)
- deciliter (using the equivalent form of deci- in French)
- decimal (using the equivalent form of deci- in Latin)
What are some other forms that deci- may be commonly confused with?
Not every word that begins with the exact letters dec- or deci-, such as decide and decision, is necessarily using the combining forming deci- to denote “tenth.” Learn where these words come from at our entries for decide and decision.
How to use deci- in a sentence
Thus the -m in dece-m, as compared with δέκα, is reasonably supposed to be the -m- in deci-m-us.The Natural History of the Varieties of Man|Robert Gordon Latham