before a vowel palae- esp US paleo- or pale-

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combining form
old, ancient, or prehistoricpalaeography
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Word Origin for palaeo-

from Greek palaios old
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


What does palaeo- mean?

Palaeo- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “old” or “ancient.” It is often used in scientific terms, especially in reference to periods of geologic time, like palaeolithic, and ancient fossils.

Palaeo- comes from Greek palaiós, meaning “ancient.” The Latin translation of palaiós was antīquus, the source of words such as antique and antiquated.

What are variants of palaeo-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, palaeo- becomes palae-, as in palaeanthropic. In some instances, the -ae- is spelled with the digraph æ, becoming palæo- or palæ-, as in palæolith.

Palaeo- is the British English spelling of this combining form. In US English, it is spelled paleo- or pale- respectively, as in paleobotany.

Examples of palaeo-

A familiar term that features the form palae- is palaeontology, “the study of fossils to determine the structure and evolution of extinct animals and plants.”

The combining form palae- means “ancient,” while ontology comes from New Latin ontologia, meaning “study of being.” Palaeontology literally translates to the “study (or the science of) ancient beings.”

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

What are some other forms that palaeo– may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form -graphy denotes the process or a form of writing. With this in mind, what is palaeography?

How to use palaeo- in a sentence