Save This Word!

a combining form meaning “the dead,” “corpse,” “dead tissue,” used in the formation of compound words: necrology.
In effect, this quiz will prove whether or not you have the skills to know the difference between “affect” and “effect.”
Question 1 of 7
The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
Meet Grammar CoachWrite or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar helpImprove Your Writing
Meet Grammar CoachImprove Your Writing
Write or paste your essay, email, or story into Grammar Coach and get grammar help
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. 2022


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

Word Origin for necro-

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.