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a combining form meaning “eating, devouring,” used in the formation of compound words: phagocyte.
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The rainy weather could not ________ my elated spirits on my graduation day.
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Compare -phage, -phagous, -phagy.

Origin of phago-

<Greek, combining form akin to phageîn to eat, devour
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does phago- mean?

Phago- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “eating,” “devouring.” It is used in some scientific terms, especially in biology.

Phago- ultimately comes from the Greek phageîn, meaning “to eat, devour.” This Greek root also helps form the word esophagus. Discover the connection at our entry for the word.

Corresponding forms of phago- combined to the end of words are -phage, -phagous, -phagy, and -phagia. Learn more about their specific applications at our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of phago-

One example of a term from biology that features the combining form phago- is phagocyte, meaning “any cell, as a macrophage, that ingests and destroys foreign particles, bacteria, and cell debris.”

The first part of the word, phago-, means “eating,” as we’ve seen. The second part of the word, -cyte, means “cell.” Phagocyte literally translates to “cell-eating.”

What are some words that use or are related to the combining form phago-?

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

Break it down!

Mania means “excessive excitement or enthusiasm.” With this in mind, what is phagomania?

British Dictionary definitions for phago-


before a vowel phag-

combining form
eating, consuming, or destroyingphagocyte

Word Origin for phago-

from Greek phagein to consume
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 phago-


Eating; consuming:phagocyte.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.