SSAT/ISEE Word Families List

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The words in this list are grouped in "families," by their stems. The stems are arranged in alphabetical order. If you need help with words other than those listed here, check your dictionary or thesaurus.

AQUA, AQUE: water

aquarium—a tank for fish and water plants

aquatic—having to do with water


subaqueous—under water

AUTO: self

autobiography—the story of one's life, written by oneself

autograph—a person's own signature


automation—a system in which machinery does most of the work itself

BIBLIO: book

bibliography—a list of books used for reference

bibliolatry—worship of books

BIO: life

antibiotics—medicines that work against harmful life-forms in the body

biography—the story of a person's life

biology—the study of various life-forms

symbiosis—mutual interdependence of two different living organisms

CAP, CEP, CEPT: take

accept—to take in

capture—to take by force; to take prisoner

exception—something taken or left out

inception—the act of taking something in; a beginning

ED, CEDE, CEED, CESS: go, move

accede—to move toward; to grant

concede—to go with; admit

concession—an admission

exceed—to go over or outside of

excess—going over certain limits

intercede—to move between

precede—to go before or ahead of

proceed—to move forward

recede—to move back

secession—the act of moving apart; separation from the whole

CHRON: time

anachronism—something contrary to a particular era

chronometer—a tool that measures time

CIDE, CIS: cut

decide—to act; to cut off from further consideration

excise—to cut out or away

incision—a cut

CLUDE, CLUS: close, shut

exclude—to close or shut out

exclusive—having the quality of shutting out

include—to shut or close in

recluse—a person who shuts him- or herself away from others

seclude—to shut apart from

COG, COGN: knowledge of

cognizant—the quality of being knowledgeable

incognito—unknown; disguised

recognition—the act of knowing again; recalling

CUR, CURS: run

concurrent—running with; at the same time

cursory—the quality of running through quickly

precursor—a forerunner

recurrent—running again

DUCE, DUCT: lead

abduct—to lead away; to kidnap

conducive—having the quality of leading together; persuasive

deduce—to lead from; to conclude

introduce—to lead into

reduction—the act of leading backward; a loss

FACT, FECT, FICT: make, do

affectation—something made up; a pretense

defect—something made apart from the ordinary

effect—something done outwardly; a change

fictitious—made up; not true

FER: carry, bring

conference—the state of bringing together; a meeting

differ—to carry apart; to disagree

ferret—to force out of hiding; to search about

infer—to bring in; to conclude

offer—to carry out

preference—the act of bringing first or before

reference—the act of carrying back

transfer—to carry across

FLECT, FLEX: bend, turn

circumflex—an accent mark that is bent over a letter

flexible—able to be bent or changed

genuflect—to bend the knee to the floor

reflect—to bend or turn something back

reflex—a return movement; a response


fracture—a break in something hard

infraction—the breaking of a rule

infringe—to break into

refract—to break up

GRAPH, GRAM: picture, writing

diagram—information in picture form

epigram—a brief piece of writing

graph—information in picture form

seismograph—a picture record of earth movements

telegram—communication using sound and writing

telegraph—communication with sounds that are translated into writing

GREG: group, gather

aggregation—a group

congregate—to gather together

gregarious—having the characteristic of getting along well in a group; social

segregate—to group apart; to keep groups separate


aggressive—the characteristic of moving toward something

degrade—to move down

graduate—to move from one level of prestige, proficiency, or experience to a
higher one

ingredient—something that is moved into something else

progress—to move forward

regress—to move backward

upgrade—to move up

HYDR: water

dehydrate—to remove water from

hydrant—something that gives out water

hydraulic—relating to water power

hydrogen—water gas

hydrology—the study of water

hydrophobia—fear of water

hydrotherapy—cure by water

JECT: throw

conjecture—something thrown together; a guess

dejected—thrown down

eject—to throw out

inject—to throw in

projectile—an object to throw forward

subjected—thrown under

JUNCT: join

conjunction—a word that joins parts of sentences together

enjoin—to join into; to enforce

injunction—an enjoining action

junction—a joining of two parts of something

JURIS: law, justice

jurisdiction—sphere of legal authority

jurisprudence—legal science

jurist—an expert in law

LOGUE: speaking, speech

dialogue—speech between two people

epilogue—a short ending speech

eulogy—a speech of praise

monologue—one person's speech

prologue—a speech given as a foreword

LOQ, LOC: talk, speak

colloquy—talking together

elocution—clear speech


loquacious—the quality of being talkative

LUDE, LUS: play

allude—to refer to casually or indirectly

allusion—a reference to

delude—to deceive; to mislead

elude—to escape through cleverness

prelude—an introductory period before a main event

MAND: order, command

countermand—an order placed against another order


mandatory—ordered or required

remand—to order back

MANU: hand

manicure—care of the hands

manifest—as from an open hand; made obvious

manipulate—to handle

manual—a handbook; done by hand and not by machine

manuscript—a document written by hand

MEM, MENT: mind, memory

commemorate—to remember with

demented—out of one's mind

mention—a call to mind

reminisce—to call back memories

MIS, MISS, MIT: send

commit—to send together

dismiss—to send away

emit—to send out

remission—the state of being sent back

submit—to send under

transmit—to send across

PED, POD: foot

biped—an animal that walks on two feet

impede—to put a foot against; to obstruct

pedestrian—a person who is walking

podiatrist—a foot doctor

tripod—an object with three feet

PEL, PULSE: drive, push

dispel—to drive away

expel—to push out

impulse—to drive or push in

propel—to push forward

repel—to push back

PEND, PENSE: hang, weigh

appendix—part that hangs; a portion of a book usually found in the back

dispense—to apportion

expenditure—a sum paid out

impending—hanging over something

suspend—to hang from

PLAC: please

implacable—not able to be pleased or appeased

placate—to please

placebo—an inactive medicine designed to please or satisfy

placid—quiet, pleasing

PLI, PLIC: fold

implicate—to involve

pliable—easily folded or influenced

PONE, POSE, POSIT: place or put

components—units to be put together

depose—to put down

exponent—something or someone who puts something forth

oppose—to place against

proponent—a person who puts something forward; an advocate

PORT: carry, bring

deportation—the act of carrying out or away from

export—to carry trade out of a country

import—to carry trade into a country

report—to carry back

transport—to carry across

RECT, REG: to rule or lead, straight

erect—straightened upward

rectify—to straighten out; to correct

rectitude—moral uprightness

regulate—to rule

RUPT: break

disrupt—to break through or down

erupt—to break out

rupture—a break


ascend—to climb up

condescend—to climb down with

descent—downward slope

transcend—to climb beyond


describe—to write about

inscription—something written in something else

prescription—written before receiving

proscribe—to write something out; to ban

SEC, SECT: cut

bisect—to cut in two

dissect—to cut apart

sector—a cutting or part of a whole

SERT: declare, state

assert—to state firmly

insert—to place within

SERVE: keep, save

conserve—to save (together)

preservation—the state of maintaining as before

reservation—something kept or saved aside

SIST: stand, set

desist—to stand away

inconsistent—not standing together; changing

insistent—having the quality of standing firmly

SPEC, SPECT: see, look

aspect—a way of looking at something

prospective—forward looking; future

spectrum—something seen broadly

speculate—to look at mentally

TAIN, TEN: hold

contain—to hold together

containment—the state of being held together

detain—to hold aside

retain—to hold back

tenacious—holding powerfully

TERM: end, limit

exterminate—to eliminate

interminable—not able to be ended; unending

terminate—to end

terminus—ending place

TORT: twist

contort—to twist together

distortion—something that twists away from the truth

extort—to twist away or out of

TRACT: draw, drag

attract—to draw toward

distraction—something that draws attention away from something else

extract—to draw out

intractable—not easily drawn or persuaded

protracted—drawn out

VENE, VENT: come

advent—a coming

circumvent—to avoid by going around

convene—to come together

intervene—to come between

VINCE, VICT: conquer, overcome

convince—to conquer

invincible—not able to be conquered


VOLVE, VOLU: roll, turn

convoluted—rolled or twisted together

evolution—the act of rolling forth; a gradual development

involve—to draw in

revolution—a rolling back; an overturning

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