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a combining form meaning “dense,” “close,” “thick,” used in the formation of compound words: pycnometer.



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Also especially before a vowel, pycn-.

Origin of pycno-

<New Latin, combining form representing Greek pyknós
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


What does pycno- mean?

Pycno- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “thick,” “dense,” or “compact.” It is used in some medical and scientific terms.

Pycno- comes from the Greek pyknós, meaning “thick, dense, closely packed.”

What are variants of pycno-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, pycno- becomes pycn-, as in pycnium (which uses the equivalent form of pycn- in New Latin).

The combining form pycno- is commonly spelled with a –k-, pykno-, as in pyknodysostosis.

Want to know more? Learn more at our Words That Use pykno- articles.

Examples of pycno-

One example of a scientific term that features the combining form pycno- is pycnometer, meaning “a container used for determining the density of a liquid or powder.”

The first part of the word, pycno-, means “dense.” The combining form -meter means “measure.” Pycnometer literally translates to “density measure.”

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

The above examples use equivalent forms of pycno- in other languages, especially German and New Latin. Learn more about their specific origins at our entries for each word.

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

Break it down!

The combining form -style is occasionally used in architecture to mean “column” or “having columns.”

Pycnostyle is an architecture term to describing the spacing of columns. Based on the meaning of pycno- and -style, what is the literal meaning of pycnostyle?

British Dictionary definitions for pycno-


before a vowel pycn-

combining form

indicating thickness or densitypycnometer

Word Origin for pycno-

via New Latin from Greek puknos thick
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