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a combining form with the meanings “iron,” “ferric,” used in the formation of compound words: ferriferous; ferricyanide.
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Also ferro-; especially before a vowel, ferr-.

Origin of ferri-

<Latin, combining form of ferrum iron
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does ferri- mean?

Ferri- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “iron.” Ferri- is often used in scientific terms, especially in chemistry.

In many terms from chemistry, ferri- is used specifically to mean “ferric,” a technical term meaning “of or containing iron, especially in the trivalent state,” which is when an iron ion contains three valence electrons.

Ferri- comes from Latin ferrum, meaning “iron.” The Greek equivalent was sídēros, “iron,” which is the source of the combining form sidero-, as in siderite and siderocyte.

What are variants of ferri-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, ferri- becomes ferr-, as in ferrate.

The combining form ferro- shares the same Latin root as ferri- but is used in terms from chemistry to mean “ferrous,” which means “of or containing iron, especially in the bivalent state,” which is when an iron ion contains two valence electrons.

Want to learn more? Check out our Words That Use entries for ferr- and ferro-.

Examples of ferri-

One example of a scientific term that features the form ferri- is ferrimagnetic, a term used to describe a kind of magnetization observed in iron compounds.

The ferri- part of the word means “iron.” Magnetic, from Latin magnēticus, refers to “a body, such as a piece of iron or steel, that possesses the property of attracting certain substances, as iron.” Ferrimagnetic literally means “magnetic iron.”

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

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

Not every word that begins with the exact letters ferri-, such as ferriage, is necessarily using the combining form ferri- to denote “iron.” Learn why ferriage means “a fare charged for ferrying” at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

Hemoglobin is a pigment in red blood cells. Given the meaning of ferri-, ferrihemoglobin is a compound of what two substances?

How to use ferri- in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for ferri-


combining form
indicating the presence of iron, esp in the trivalent stateferricyanide; ferriferous Compare ferro-

Word Origin for ferri-

from Latin ferrum iron
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 ferri-


Iron, especially ferric ion:ferritin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.