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variant of sarco-, especially before a vowel: sarcoma.
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Other definitions for sarc- (2 of 2)


a combining form meaning “one having flesh or tissue” of the kind specified by the initial element: ectosarc.

Origin of -sarc

<Greek -sarcos, derivative of sárx flesh
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does sarc- mean?

Sarc- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “flesh.” It is often used in medical terms, especially in pathology.

Sarc- comes from the Greek sárx, meaning “flesh.” Ever heard of a sarcophagus—you know, like the famous one that held the mummy of Tutankhamen? That word also comes from the Greek sárx. Discover the surprising (and grisly) origin of the word sarcophagus at our entry for the word.

Sarc– is a variant of sarco-, which loses its -o- when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use sarco article.

Examples of sarc-

One word you are likely familiar with that features the combining form sarc- is sarcoma, a type of malignant tumor of certain kinds of body tissue. Specifically, sarcoma refers to any various malignant tumors composed of neoplastic cells resembling embryonic connective tissue.

The first part of the word, sarc-, means “flesh.” The second part of the word, -oma, is used to name tumors. The word sarcoma literally translates to “fleshy tumor.”

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

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

The word sarcasm also derives from the same Greek root, sárx and the sacr- combining form. No, we’re not joking around. But what could “bitter derision” or “harsh irony” possibly have to do with flesh? Find out at our entry for sarcasm.

Break it down!

The suffix ous means “possessing, full of.” With this in mind, what could be a more everyday way of saying sarcous?