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a combining form meaning “dry,” used in the formation of compound words: xerophyte.
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Which sentence is correct?
Also especially before a vowel, xer-.

Origin of xero-

Combining form of Greek xērós dry
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does xero- mean?

Xero- is a combining form used like a prefix meaning “dry.” It is often used in scientific terms, including in pathology and ecology.

Xero- comes from the Greek xēros, meaning “dry.”

What are variants of xero-?

When combined with words or word elements that begin with a vowel, xero- becomes xer-, as in xerarch.

Examples of xero-

One example of a medical term that features the combining form xero- is xeroderma, a disease in which the skin becomes dry, hard, and scaly.

We know that the combining form xero- means “dry.” The second part of the word, -derma, might also look familiar from such words as epidermis or dermatology. It’s from the Greek dérma, meaning “skin.” Xeroderm translates literally to “dry skin.”

What are some words that use the combining forms xero- or xer-?

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

The brand-name Xerox has become a generic term for photocopying. The name comes from the process known as xerography, which is a “dry” copying technique (it doesn’t use any liquid chemicals).

The combining form xero- should not be confused with the proper noun Xero, which has been variously used as the name for a brand of minimalist shoes, the name of a New Zealand-based accounting software, and an early moniker for the rock band Linkin Park.

Break it down!

The combining form -philous means “liking” or “having an affinity for.” What kind of environment, then, is a xerophilous plant adapted to?

British Dictionary definitions for xero-


before a vowel xer-

combining form
indicating drynessxeroderma

Word Origin for xero-

from Greek xēros dry
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