Andro- The Prefix That’s All Man

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Andro- derives from the Greek andros (man) and denotes anything that’s male or masculine (and you thought that was testosterone 🙂 ) It’s given us several words, many of them scientific or biological:

andranatomy – the dissection or structure of the male body

androcentric – regarding men as being primary or central

androcephalic – having a man’s head upon an animal’s body

androcracy – political rule by men

androcyte – a male sex cell

androgen – a steroid/hormone that promotes the development male sexual organs and characteristics

androgynous – having both male and female characteristics; also applies in botany. Don’t confuse this with androgenous, a biological term which means producing male offspring only

android – a robot that looks like a human

andrology – the study of diseases that affect men (sometimes called andriatry or andriatics)

andromorphous – having a man’s shape

androsterone – a steroid hormone produced by men

Find many more examples here.

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9 thoughts on “Andro- The Prefix That’s All Man”

  1. This is a nice list. With the exception of android and androsterone, I’ve never heard of the others. Would using such words in our writing qualify as “sexist” language?

    Also, is there a prefix that’s all woman? Inquiring minds want to know. 😉

  2. Roshawn, the opposite of androgen is estrogen, so I wonder if the woman prefix could be estro or something around it.

    As for being sexist, I don’t think so. These are scientific terms, you can go wrong with them.

  3. I think that words starting with gyn- are the female equivalent, Roshawn, although I must check out the estrogen connection.

  4. And of course for Alex-> Alexander->Alexandros = Protector of man. 🙂

    But the androgen and estrogen connection is actually wrong. The ‘estro’ come from oestrus, usually meaning the ‘heat’ period of mammals, i.e. period of heightened sexual arousal.

    So, estrogen actually controls the menstrual cycle and is used in contraceptives. It also helps the development of the female sexual characteristics. Androgen is a group of hormones like testosterone, that regulate the development of masculine characteristics. However, both men and women produce estrogen and androgen.

  5. Great listing. It’s good for us reader/writer types to keep track of the roots of our vocabulary–it helps us gain a fuller understanding of the words we read and adds a richer texture to our enjoyment of the reading experience.

  6. It is Gyne in Greek that represents female.

    So,a person with both male and female characteristics can be rightly called as Androgyne.

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