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This list of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names is intended to help those unfamiliar with
classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European language ...
s to understand and remember the scientific names of organisms. The
binomial nomenclature In taxonomy Taxonomy (general) is the practice and science of classification of things or concepts, including the principles that underlie such classification. The term may also refer to a specific classification scheme. Originally used only ...
used for
animal Animals (also called Metazoa) are multicellular A multicellular organism is an organism In biology, an organism () is any organic, life, living system that functions as an individual entity. All organisms are composed of cells ...

animal
s and
plant Plants are predominantly photosynthetic Photosynthesis is a process used by plants and other organisms to Energy transformation, convert light energy into chemical energy that, through cellular respiration, can later be released to fuel ...

plant
s is largely derived from
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the Roman Republic, it became ...

Latin
and
Greek#REDIRECT Greek Greek may refer to: Greece Anything of, from, or related to Greece Greece ( el, Ελλάδα, , ), officially the Hellenic Republic, is a country located in Southeast Europe. Its population is approximately 10.7 million as of ...
words, as are some of the names used for higher
taxa In biology Biology is the natural science that studies life and living organisms, including their anatomy, physical structure, Biochemistry, chemical processes, Molecular biology, molecular interactions, Physiology, physiological mechanism ...
, such as
orders Orders is a surname In some cultures, a surname, family name, or last name is the portion of one's personal name that indicates their family, tribe or community. Practices vary by culture. The family name may be placed at either the start of ...
and above. At the time when biologist
Carl Linnaeus Carl Linnaeus (; 23 May 1707 – 10 January 1778), also known after his ennoblement Ennoblement is the conferring of nobility—the induction of an individual into the noble social class, class. Currently only a few kingdoms still grant nob ...

Carl Linnaeus
(1707–1778) published the books that are now accepted as the starting point of binomial nomenclature, Latin was used in
Western Europe Western Europe is the western region of Europe Europe is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven geographical r ...

Western Europe
as the common language of science, and scientific names were in Latin or Greek: Linnaeus continued this practice. Although Latin is now largely unused except by
classical scholar Classics or classical studies is the study of classical antiquity, and in the Western world traditionally refers to the study of Ancient Greek literature, Classical Greek and Latin literature and the related languages. It also includes Greco-Ro ...
s, or for certain purposes in
botany Botany, also called , plant biology or phytology, is the science of plant life and a branch of biology. A botanist, plant scientist or phytologist is a scientist who specialises in this field. The term "botany" comes from the Ancient Greek wo ...

botany
, medicine and the
Roman Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Roman Catholic Church
, it can still be found in scientific names. It is helpful to be able to understand the source of scientific names. Although the Latin names do not always correspond to the current English common names, they are often related, and if their meanings are understood, they are easier to recall. The binomial name often reflects limited knowledge or hearsay about a species at the time it was named. For instance ''Pan troglodytes'', the
chimpanzee The chimpanzee (''Pan troglodytes''), also known simply as chimp, is a species of Hominidae, great ape native to the forest and savannah of tropical Africa. It has four confirmed subspecies and a fifth proposed subspecies. The chimpanzee and t ...
, and ''Troglodytes troglodytes'', the
wren Wrens are a family of brown passerine birds in the predominantly New World family (biology), family Troglodytidae. The family includes 88 species divided into 19 genus, genera. Only the Eurasian wren occurs in the Old World, where, in Anglophone ...
, are not necessarily cave-dwellers. Sometimes a
genus Genus /ˈdʒiː.nəs/ (plural genera /ˈdʒen.ər.ə/) is a taxonomic rank In biological classification In biology, taxonomy () is the scientific study of naming, defining (Circumscription (taxonomy), circumscribing) and classifying gr ...
name or
specific
specific
descriptor is simply the Latin or Greek name for the animal (e.g. ''Canis'' is Latin for dog). These words may not be included in the table below if they only occur for one or two taxa. Instead, the words listed below are the common adjectives and other modifiers that repeatedly occur in the scientific names of many organisms (in more than one genus). Adjectives vary according to gender, and in most cases only the
lemma Lemma may refer to: Language and linguistics * Lemma (morphology), the canonical, dictionary or citation form of a word * Lemma (psycholinguistics), a mental abstraction of a word about to be uttered * Headword, under which a set of related dict ...
form (
nominative In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
singular Singular may refer to: * Singular, the grammatical number In linguistics, grammatical number is a grammatical category of nouns, pronouns, adjectives, and verb agreement (linguistics), agreement that expresses count distinctions (such as "one", ...
masculine Masculinity (also called manhood or manliness) is a set of attributes, behavior Behavior (American English American English (AmE, AE, AmEng, USEng, en-US), sometimes called United States English or U.S. English, is the set of vari ...
form) is listed here. 1st-and-2nd-declension adjectives end in ''-us'' (masculine), ''-a'' (feminine) and ''-um'' (neuter), whereas 3rd-declension adjectives ending in ''-is'' (masculine and feminine) change to ''-e'' (neuter). For example, ''verus'' is listed without the variants for ''
Aloe vera#REDIRECT Aloe vera
{{Redirect category shell, 1= {{R from incorrect capitalisation {{R from other capitalisation, plant ...

Aloe vera
'' or ''Galium verum''. The second part of a binomial is often a person's name in the
genitive case In grammar In linguistics Linguistics is the scientific study of language, meaning that it is a comprehensive, systematic, objective, and precise study of language. Linguistics encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as ...
, ending ''-i'' (masculine) or ''-ae'' (feminine), such as
Kaempfer's tody-tyrant Kaempfer's tody-tyrant (''Hemitriccus kaempferi'') is a rare species of bird in the family Tyrannidae. It is Endemism, endemic to the Atlantic forest in southeastern Brazil. It was known only from two specimens until the 1990s, when it was finally ...
, ''Hemitriccus kaempferi''. The name may be converted into a Latinised form first, giving ''-ii'' and ''-iae'' instead. Words that are very similar to their English forms have been omitted. Some of the Greek transliterations given are
Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language Greek ( el, label=Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the diale ...
, and others are
Modern Greek Modern Greek (, , or , ''Kiní Neoellinikí Glóssa''), generally referred to by speakers simply as Greek (, ), refers collectively to the dialects of the Greek language spoken in the modern era, including the official standardized form of the l ...
. In the tables, L = Latin, G = Greek, and LG = similar in both languages.


A


B


C


D


E


F


G


H


I–K


L


M


N


O


P


Q


R


S


T


U


V


X–Z


See also

*
Glossary of scientific naming This is a list of terms and symbols used in scientific names for organisms, and in describing the names. For proper parts of the names themselves, see List of Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names. Note that many of the abbreviati ...
*
List of commonly used taxonomic affixes This is a list of common affix In linguistics Linguistics is the science, scientific study of language. It encompasses the analysis of every aspect of language, as well as the methods for studying and modeling them. The traditional areas ...
* List of descriptive plant species epithets (A–H) * List of descriptive plant species epithets (I–Z) *
List of Greek and Latin roots in English A ''list'' is any enumeration An enumeration is a complete, ordered listing of all the items in a collection. The term is commonly used in mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity ( ...
* List of Latin place names used as specific names *
List of Latin words with English derivatives This is a list of Latin words with derivatives Derivative may refer to: In mathematics and economics *Brzozowski derivative in the theory of formal languages *Derivative in calculus, a quantity indicating how a function changes when the values o ...
*
List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes This is a used in medical terminology Medical terminology is language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an apparent answer ...
*
List of taxa named by anagrams In the biological nomenclature codes, an anagram An anagram is a word or phrase formed by rearranging the letters of a different word or phrase, typically using all the original letters exactly once. For example, the word ''anagram'' itself ...
* Latin names of cities


References

{{Reflist


External links


Latin names decoded with relevant images/photos at agrozoo.net



European Species Names in Linnaean, Czech, English, German and French
Systematic Systematic may refer to: * Something related to systematics or Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy, a sub-discipline of biology * Short for systematic error * Systematic (band), an American hard rock band * Systematic Paris-Region, a French business clust ...
Greek words and phrases Systematic
Systematic Systematic may refer to: * Something related to systematics or Taxonomy (biology), taxonomy, a sub-discipline of biology * Short for systematic error * Systematic (band), an American hard rock band * Systematic Paris-Region, a French business clust ...
Taxonomy (biology) Latin and Greek words commonly used in systematic names