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a combining form meaning “naked,” “bare,” “exposed,” used in the formation of compound words: gymnoplast.
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Also especially before a vowel, gymn-.

Origin of gymno-

<Greek, combining form of gymnós
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does gymno- mean?

Gymno- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “naked,” “bare,” “exposed.” It is used in some scientific terms, especially in botany and zoology.

Gymno- comes from the Greek gymnós, meaning “naked” and “bare.” This root is related to the word gymnasium, which is ultimately from the Greek gymnázein, meaning “to train in the nude.” Let’s hear it for workout clothes, huh?

What are variants of gymno-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, gymno- becomes gymn-, as in gymnanthous.

Examples of gymno-

One example of a term from botany you may have encountered that features the combining form gymno- is gymnosperm, “a vascular plant having seeds that are not enclosed in an ovary; a conifer or cycad.” Examples of gymnosperms are pine trees and junipers. (Angiosperms, in contrast, have seeds enclosed in an ovary. They are flowering plants.)

The first part of the word, gymno-, means “naked.” The -sperm part of the word means “one having seeds,” from the Greek -spermos. So, gymnosperm literally translates to “having naked seeds.” These seeds are “naked” because they developed outside the protective case of an ovary (fruit). An example of such seeds are pine cones.

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

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

Break it down!

The combining form -plast can variously mean “living substance, “organelle,” or “cell.” Based on the meaning of gymno-, does a gymnoplast, a mass of protoplasm, have an enclosing wall?

British Dictionary definitions for gymno-


combining form
naked, bare, or exposedgymnosperm

Word Origin for gymno-

from Greek gumnos naked
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