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Dinosaur NamesDinosaur MythsDinosaur ExtremesDinosaur EvolutionDinosaurs and BirdsToday's featured page: Paul Revere



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Dinosaur Name Roots:
What Do Dinosaurs' Names Mean?


Newly discovered dinosaurs are named by the discoverer or by the paleontologist who determines that it represents a new genus (the name has to be approved by the International Commission on Zoological Nomenclature).

There are many different ways to choose a dinosaur name. Sometimes the dinosaur is given a name that describes something unusual about its body, head, or feet. Some are named after the location where they are found, others are named for their behavior or size, and some are named to honor a person. Greek roots are not usually combined with Latin roots.

Some Dinosaur Name Roots
Name (Language of Origin) Meaning in English
acantho (from the Greek akanthos, meaning bear's foot) spiny
acro (Greek) high
aeto (Greek) eagle
allo (from the Greek word allos) other
alti (from the Latin word altus) high
ambi (Latin) both or two
amphi (Greek) both or two
an (Greek) not or without
anato (Latin) duck
anchi (from the Greek word agkhi) near
ankylo (from the Greek word ankylos) hook, joint, fused, stiff or bent
anser (Latin) goose
antho (from the Greek word anthos) flower
anuro (Greek) no tail
apato (Greek) deceptive
archaeo (from the Greek word archaios) ancient
avi or avis (Latin) bird
bactro (from the Greek word baktron) baton or club
baga (from the Mongolian word baga) little
baro or bary (from the Greek word barys) heavy
bellu (from the Latin word bellus) beautiful
brachio (from the Greek word brachion and the Latin word brachium) arm
brachy (Greek) short
bronto (from the Greek word bronte) thunder
calamo (from the Greek word kalamos) reed
camara (from the Greek word kamara) chamber
campto (from the Greek word kamptos) flexible
campylo (from the Greek word kampylos) bent
carchar (from the Greek word karkhar) jagged
cardio (from the Greek word kardia) heart
carno (Greek ) flesh
caud or caudia (Latin) tail
centro (Latin) left
cephalo (from the Greek word kephale) head
cera, ceras (from the Greek word keras) horn
cerno (from the Latin word secerno) divide or sever
cero (from the Greek word keras) horn
chasmo (from the Greek word khasma) chasm or yawning fissure
chiro or cheirus (from the Greek word kheir) hand
chondro (from the Greek word khondros) cartilage
cion (from the Greek word kion) column or pillar
clao (from the Greek word klao) break or crush
cneme (from the Greek word kneme) lower leg or shin bone
coeli or coelo (from the Greek word koiloma) opening or cavity
compso (from the Greek word kompso) elegant
coryth (from the Greek word koryth) helmet
costa (from the Greek word costa) rib
cryo (from the Greek word kryos) cold
crypto (from the Greek word kryptos) hidden
cyon (from the Greek word kuon) dog
dactly (from the Greek word dactylos) finger
deino (from the Greek word deinos) fearfully great or terrible
derm (Greek) skin
di (Greek) two
dino (from the Greek word deino) fearfully great or terrible
diplo (from the Greek word diploos) double or in pairs
docus (from the Greek word dokos) beam, bar or shaft
don or dont (from the Greek word odon) tooth
draco (from the Greek word rakon) dragon
dromeus or dromeo (from the Greek word dromeus) runner
drypto (from the Greek word drypto) wounding
echino (Greek) spiny
elasmo (from the Greek word elasma) metal plated or elastic, like thin, beaten metal
elmi (Greek) foot
eo (from the Greek godess of the dawn, Eos) dawn
equus (from Latin) horse
eu (from the Greek word eus) good or well
eury (From the Greek word eurys) wide
felis (From Latin) cat
giga (from the Greek word gigas) savage giant
gnathus (from the Greek word gnatos) jaw
hadro (from the Greek word hadros) large
hetero (from the Greek word heteros) mixed or different
hippos (Greek) horse
hydro (Greek) water
hypacro (Greek) top
hypselo or hypsi (from the Greek word hypsos) high
ichthyo (from the Greek word ichthys) fish
iguano (from the Arawak word iwana) iguana
kentro (from the Greek word kentron) sharp point or spur
krito (from the Greek word kritos) chosen or separated
lana (from the Latin word lanatus) woolly
lepto (from the Greek word leptos) thin or slender
lestes (from the Greek word leistes) robber
lio (from the Greek word leios) smooth
lite or lithos (from the Greek word lithos) stone
lopho, lophos (from the Greek word lophos) crest or tuft
lyco (from the Greek word lykos) wolf
lystro (Greek) shovel
maia (from the Greek Maia, mythical mother of Hermes) good mother
Name (Language of Origin) Meaning in English
Name (Language of Origin) Meaning in English
macro (from the Greek word makros) long or large
megal (from the Greek word megas) great
micro (from the Greek word mikros) small
mio (Greek) less
mono (Greek) single or alone
masso (Greek) long or bulky
mega (from the Greek megas) huge
merus (from the Greek meros) part or portion
metro (Greek) measure
micro (from the Greek word mikros) tiny
mimus (from the Greek word mimikos) mimic
morph (Greek) shape
nano (Greek) dwarf or very small
neo (from the Latin word neos) new
neustes (from the Greek word neustes) swimmer
nodo (from the Latin word nodulus) knotted or lumpy
noto (from the Greek word nodus) node or nodulus
notos (from the Greek word notos) south
nycho or nychus (from the Greek onykh) clawed
odon or odont (from the Greek word odon) tooth
oid or oides (Greek) like
oligo (from the Greek word oligos) few or little
onyx (from the Greek word onyx) claw or talon
opistho (from the Greek word opisthen) at the back or behind
ops (from the Greek word ops) eye or face
opsis (from the Greek word opsis) face
ornis or ornitho (from the Greek, ornis means bird) bird
oro, oros, oreios (from the Greek word oros) mountain
ortho (from the Greek word orthos) straight
ovo or ovi (from the Latin word ovum) egg
pachy (from the Greek word pachys) thick
para (Greek) beside
patri (Latin) father
pedi (Latin) foot
pelon (from the Greek word pelos) mud or clay
peloro (from the Greek word peloros) monstrous
penta (Greek) five
phalanges (from the Greek word phalanx) fingers or toes
phyllo (from the Greek word phyllon) leaf
physis (Greek) form
placo (Greek) broad or flat
plateo (from the Greek word plateos) flat
plesio (from the Greek word plesios) near
pleuro (from the Greek word pleuron) side or rib
plio (from the Greek word pleion) more
pogon (Greek) beard
poly (from the Greek word polys) many or much
pod or pos (Latin) foot or to put
preno (Greek) sloping
prio (from the Greek word prion) saw
pro (Greek) before
protero (from the Greek word proteros) earlier or former
proto (from the Greek word protos) first or earliest
psittaco (from the Greek word psittakos) parrot
pteron (from the Greek word pteron) feather or wing
pteryx (from the Greek word pterygion) wing or fin
pyro (from the Greek word pyros) fire
quadr (Latin) four
raptor (Latin) robber or plunderer
rex (Latin) king
rhinus or rhino (Greek) nose or snout
rhomale (from the Greek word rhomaleos) robust or strong
saetum (Latin) bristle
salto (Latin) leaping
sarco (Greek) flesh
saur, sauro or sauros or saurus (from the Greek word sauros) lizard (or generalized reptile)
scapho (from the Greek word skaphe, meaning boat) canoe
scelida (from the Greek word skelis) hind leg
segno (from the Latin word segnis) slow
seismo (from the Greek word seismos) earthquake
Sino Chinese
smilo (Greek) knife
spino (Latin) thorn or backbone
spondyl (from the Greek word spondylos) vertebrae
stego (from the Greek word stegos) roof or cover
steno (from the Greek word stenos) narrow, close or slender
strepto (from the Greek word streptos) reversed
struthio (Greek) ostrich
suchus (from the Greek word soukhos) crocodile
tetra (Greek) four
thallasso (Greek) sea
thero, therium (from the Greek word therion) beast
titano (Greek) titanic
tops (Greek) face
tri (Greek) three
troo (Greek) wound
tyranno (from the Greek word tyrannikos) tyrant
ultra (Latin) extreme
urus tail
veloci (from the Latin word velocitas) speedy
venator (from the Latin word venator) hunter
vulcano (from the Latin god Vulcanus) volcano
zo, zoa, zoon (from the Greek zoia) animals or life
zygo (Greek) joined
Name (Language of Origin) Meaning in English



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