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a combining form meaning “the dead,” “corpse,” “dead tissue,” used in the formation of compound words: necrology.



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Also especially before a vowel, necr-.

Origin of necro-

<Greek nekro-, combining form of nekrós dead person, corpse, (adj.) dead
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does necro- mean?

Necro- is a combining form used like a prefix variously meaning “the dead,” “corpse,” or “dead tissue.” It is used in technical and scientific terms, including in biology and medicine.

Necro- comes from the Greek nekrós, meaning “dead person, corpse” or “dead.” Similar in meaning and use to necro- is the common combining form thanato, from the Greek thánatos, “death.”

What are variants of necro-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, necro- becomes necr-, as in necrectomy.

Examples of necro- and necr-

One example of a term you may have come across that features the combining form necro- is necromancy,”a method of divination through alleged communication with the dead.” Divination is the practice of trying to see the future, like prophecy.

The first part of the word, necro- means “the dead,” as we know. The -mancy part of the word means “divination,” from the Greek manteía. Necromancy literally translates to “divining (by means of) the dead.”

A term you may have come across that features the combining form necr- is necropsy, also known as an autopsy, “the examination of a body after death.”

The form necr- means “the dead, corpse.” The -opsy portion of the word denotes “a medical examination or inspection,” ultimately from the Greek ópsis. Necropsy literally translates to “looking at a corpse.”

What are some words that use the combining form necro- or necr-?

What are some other forms that necro- or necr- may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -latry means “worship.” With this in mind, what is the practice of necrolatry?

British Dictionary definitions for necro-


before a vowel necr-

combining form

indicating death, a dead body, or dead tissuenecrology; necrophagous; necrosis
from Greek nekros corpse
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 necro-



Dead body; corpse:necrophilia.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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