The terminology of medicine and biology, to name just two fields, is rife with words formed largely by compounding Greek stems. This book enables a layman like me to make sense of them, and of many other words in more common usage. Michael Quinion's explanations of the word parts (usually prefixes and suffixes, but frequently syllables found in the middle of words) are clearly written, and he provides examples of the most common words using each stem.
I would estimate that perhaps 80% of the word stems contained in this book are of Greek origin, either directly or as modified by Latin usage. Since the list of stems is 269 pages long, however, that means that there are plenty of word stems of different origin.
This is also one of those rare reference books that are a joy just to dip into and read an entry or two.
How often have you seen a technical word & not quite known what it meant? Tired of not really knowing what the ingredients on a food box in the store really are? OLOGIES AND ISMS by Michael Quinion is a must-have dictionary that will help you decipher the prefixes & suffixes of modern English words. Rebeccasreads recommends OLOGIES AND ISMS as an important resource for writers, reporters, students, & anyone who plays with words as in Scrabble or crosswords.