WORDS THAT USE PROTO-
What does proto- mean?
Proto– is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “first,” “foremost,” or “earliest form of.” In terms from chemistry, it specifically denotes the first in a series of compounds or the compound containing the minimum amount of an element. It is often used in scientific and technical terms, especially in biology.
Proto– comes from Greek prôtos, meaning “first.” The word proton, meaning “a positively charged elementary particle,” ultimately shares this same Greek root. The Latin cognate of prôtos is prīmus “first,” which is the source of primary and prime. Check out our entries for both words to learn more.
What are variants of proto-?
When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, proto– becomes prot–, as in protium. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use prot– article.
Examples of proto-
An example of a term from botany that features proto– is protoderm, “a thin outer layer of the meristem in embryos and growing points of roots and stems, which gives rise to the epidermis.”
The proto– part of the word means “earliest form of,” as we already know. The –derm part of the word may also look familiar; it means “dermis,” which is the dense inner layer of skin. Protoderm literally translates to “earliest form of skin.”
What are some words that use the combining form proto-?
- protocol (using the equivalent form of proto- in Greek)
- protoplasm (using the equivalent form of proto- in Greek)
- prototype (using the equivalent form of proto- in Greek)
What are some other forms that proto– may be commonly confused with?
How to use proto- in a sentence
There are also funding and logistical imperatives for ISIS to pursue the proto-state strategy.Iraq’s Terrorists Are Becoming a Full-Blown Army|Eli Lake, Jamie Dettmer, Nadette De Visser|June 11, 2014|DAILY BEAST
No one was using Final Cut, so it was this Proto Editing program.Casey Affleck, Star of ‘Out of the Furnace,’ on His Hollywood Struggles|Marlow Stern|December 2, 2013|DAILY BEAST
Such proto-tweets allowed some full-time gossips to work as compilers of the “trending” topics of the day.Social Media is So Old Even the Romans Had It|Nick Romeo|October 25, 2013|DAILY BEAST
There is "water" in English, "wasser" in German, "vatten" in Swedish, all cognates emanating from "wator" in proto-German.How Old is the Illiad?|Justin Green|March 1, 2013|DAILY BEAST
In the current proto-populist climate, complicated could actually win for a change.If the Congressional Supercommittee Fails, Who Wins?|Michael Tomasky|November 19, 2011|DAILY BEAST
The influence of the leisure class is not consistently for or against the rehabilitation of this proto-anthropoid human nature.The Theory of the Leisure Class|Thorstein Veblen
The oxygen of the atmosphere also unites with certain minerals, such as the proto-salts of iron, and converts them into peroxides.Geology|James Geikie
As far as he knew, there was no such thing as a proto-man myth in wide currency around the galaxy.
Remember this, though: I cannot tell you what to expect when you reach the original home of proto-man.
Or must proto-man, like humans everywhere, fall victim to subjective time if objective time did not matter for him?