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variant of matri-.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does matro- mean?

The combining form matro- is used like a prefix meaning “mother.” It is very rarely used in scientific terms, especially in genetics.

The form matro- comes from Latin māter, meaning “mother.” The word matrix, which has various meanings, including “womb,” comes from this same Latin root, as does matron, “a married woman.”

The Greek cognate of Latin māter is mḗtēr, also meaning “mother,” which is the source of words such as metropolis, a term that literally means “mother city.” Find out more at our entries for matrix, matron, and metropolis.

What are variants of matro-?

The form matro- is a variant of matri-, which swaps its –i– for an –o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with some consonants. When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, matri- becomes matr-, as in matral. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use articles for each of these forms.

Examples of matro-

One example of a scientific term that features the form matro- is matrocliny, or matricliny, meaning “inheritance in which the traits of the offspring are derived primarily from the maternal parent.”

The form matro- means “mother,” while the -cliny part of the word roughly means “leaning,” from Greek klīnein. Matrocliny literally translates to “leaning (towards) the mother.”

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

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