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a combining form meaning “hard,” used with this meaning, and as a combining form of sclera, in the formation of compound words: sclerometer.
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Also especially before a vowel, scler-.

Origin of sclero-

Combining form of Greek sklērós hard
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does sclero- mean?

Sclero- is a combining form used like a prefix to mean “hard” or as a form of sclera, the white outer layer of the eyeball. Sclero- is often used in medical and scientific terms.

Sclero- comes from the Greek sklērós, meaning “hard.” The Greek sklērós also helps form the Greek word sklḗrōsis, literally meaning “hardening” and source of the English word sclerosis. You may have encountered sclerosis in the word atherosclerosis, the hardening of the arteries.

What are variants of sclero-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, sclero- becomes scler-, as in sclerema.

Examples of sclero-

An example of a word you may have encountered that features sclero- is scleroderma, a disease in which connective tissue in the body becomes hardened and rigid.

We know that sclero- means “hard.” The second part of the word, -derma, means “skin,” used especially for skin disorders. Scleroderma, then, literally translates to “hard skin.”

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

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

Break it down!

What does a sclerometer, a tool used in mineralogy, measure?  

How to use sclero- in a sentence

  • The balance of intra-ocular pressure is not maintained by the slight distensibility of the sclero-corneal coat.


British Dictionary definitions for sclero-


before a vowel scler-

combining form
indicating hardnesssclerosis
of or relating to the sclerasclerotomy

Word Origin for sclero-

from Greek sklēros hard
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 sclero-


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