• synonyms


  1. a combining form meaning “few,” “little,” used in the formation of compound words: oligopoly.
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Also especially before a vowel, olig-.

Origin of oligo-

< Greek, combining form of olígos little, few (in plural)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for oligo-


before a vowel olig-

combining form
  1. indicating a few or littleoligopoly
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Word Origin for oligo-

from Greek olígos little, few
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

Word Origin and History for oligo-

before vowels olig-, word-forming element meaning "few, the few," from comb. form of Greek oligos "few, scanty, small, little," in plural, "the few;" of uncertain origin.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

oligo- in Medicine


  1. Few:oligosaccharide.
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The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.