variant of tropho- before a vowel: trophallaxis.



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Definition for troph- (2 of 2)


a combining form used in the formation of nouns with the general sense “nutrient matter” (embryotroph), “an organism with given nutritional requirements” (heterotroph); also forming concrete nouns corresponding to abstract nouns ending in -trophy or adjectives ending in -trophic. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021


Basic definitions of troph- and -troph

Troph- and -troph are combining forms used for various senses relating to nourishment and nutrition—how organisms get their food and energy. They ultimately come from the Greek trophḗ, meaning “nourishment, food.”

What does troph- mean?

Troph- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “nourishment.” It is used in some medical and scientific terms.

Troph- is a variant of tropho-, which loses its -o– when combined with words or word elements beginning with vowels. Want to know more? Read our Words That Use tropho- article.

What does –troph mean?

The combining form -troph is used like a suffix meaning “nutrient matter” or naming “an organism with nutritional requirements” as specified by the first part of the word.

It is also used to form concrete nouns from abstract nouns ending in -trophy or adjectives ending in -trophic (and vice versa). Learn more about the specific applications of these two forms in our Word That Use articles for them.

The combining form –troph is used in many medical and scientific terms, especially in biology.

Examples of troph- used like a prefix

One term from biology that features troph- is trophallaxis, meaning “the exchange of nutriments or other secretions between members of a colony.” Ants and bees are just two examples of organisms that use trophallaxis.

The first part of the word, troph-, means “nourishment.” What about the –allaxis portion? It comes from a Greek word that means “exchange.” Trophallaxis has a literal sense of “exchanging food.”

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

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

The word trophy, as you might get for winning a competition, doesn’t share the same root as -trophy despite having the same letters. The prized trophy is actually related to the combining forms tropo- and trop- as well the word trope. Learn more at our entries for the words.

Break it down!

Trophesy is “a disorder of trophic nerves.” Based on the meaning of troph-, what do trophic nerves help regulate?

Examples of -troph used like a suffix

One example of a term from biology that features -troph is saprotroph, meaning “any organism, especially a fungus or bacterium, that lives and feeds on dead organic matter.”

The first part of the word, sapro-, means “rotten” or “putrid.” Here, -troph refers to “nutritional requirements.” So, a saprotroph is literally a creature that eats dead stuff. Hey, gotta eat.

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

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

Despite containing the letters –troph-, the word apostrophe doesn’t use the combining form -troph to refer to nourishment or nutrition. Discover its origins at our entry for the word.

Break it down!

The combining form photo- means “light.” A phototroph is an organism that principally gets its energy (nutrition) from what?