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a combining form meaning “second,” used in the formation of compound words: deuterocanonical.
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Also especially before a vowel, deuter-.

Origin of deutero-

<Greek, combining form of deúteros
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does deutero- mean?

Deutero- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “second.” It is used in some technical terms, especially in biology.

Deutero- comes from the Greek deúteros, meaning “second.”

What are variants of deutero-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, deutero- becomes deuter-, as in deuteranopia.

Shortened forms of deutero- are deuto-, as in deutoplasm, and deut-, as in deutoxide.

Examples of deutero-

Deuteronomy is the fifth book of the Old Testament of the Bible. It’s written in the form of Moses reiterating laws for the Israelites, including the Ten Commandments.

The deutero- part of the word means “second.” The -nomy part of the word comes from the Greek for “law.” Deuteronomy literally translates to “second law”—that is, as a second statement (copy) of Mosaic law.

The word Deuteronomy comes from the Greek Deuteronómion, which uses the equivalent form of deutero- in the language.

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

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

Break it down!

Deuterogamy, also known as digamy, is a term for getting married after the death of or divorce from a first spouse.

Given that -gamy here means “marriage,” what does deuterogamy literally translate to?

How to use deutero- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for deutero-


deuto-, before a vowel deuter- or before a vowel deut-

combining form
second or secondarydeuterogamy; deuterium
(in chemistry) indicating the presence of deuterium

Word Origin for deutero-

from Greek deuteros second
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

Scientific definitions for deutero-


A prefix meaning “second” or “secondary,” as in deuterostome, an animal whose mouth is the second opening to develop.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary Copyright © 2011. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.