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a combining form meaning “scale,” used in the formation of compound words: lepidopteron.
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Origin of lepido-

<Greek, combining form representing lepís (stem lepid-) scale. See leper
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does lepido- mean?

Lepido- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “scale.” It is used in some scientific terms, especially in mineralogy and zoology.

Lepido- comes from the Greek lepís, meaning “scale.” The disease leprosy, which can cause skin to appear scaly, ultimately comes from this same Greek word. Find out more in our About This Word article on leprosy.

Examples of lepido-

One example of a scientific term that features the combining form lepido- is lepidopterous, “belonging or pertaining to the Lepidoptera.” Lepidoptera is an order of insects comprising the butterflies, moths, and skippers, that in the adult state have four membranous wings more or less covered with small scales.”

Lepido- means “scale,” as we now know. So, what about the -pterous portion of the word? It means “having wings,” from the Greek pterón. Lepidopterous literally translates to “having scaly wings.”

What are some words that use or are related to  the combining form lepido-?

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

Break it down!

Lepidolite is a type of mineral that can occur in white-, rose-, or lilac-colored scaly masses. The combining form -lite can be used to name minerals or fossils. It comes from the Greek líthos, meaning “stone.” With this in mind, what does lepidolite literally translate to?

British Dictionary definitions for lepido-


before a vowel lepid-

combining form
scale or scalylepidopterous

Word Origin for lepido-

from Greek lepis scale; see leper
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