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Definition & Meaning: Cat(a) Word Root

The root word Cat(a) comes from the Greek word kata- which means “down,” denoting movement downwards. Figuratively, it signifies something wrong or inferior. Many English words beginning with cata- entered the language from Greek with the prefix already attached. For instance:

  • Cataract: Means down-rushing.
  • Catarrh: Means flow down.
  • Catapult: Means hurling down.
  • Catastrophe: Means a sudden overturning or down-turning.
  • Catabolism: The process of breaking down food to release energy.
  • Catalyst: A substance that speeds up a chemical reaction without itself being consumed.

Diagram showing the meaning of the Cat(a) root word with examples.

Words Based on the Cat(a) Word Root

Following is a list of words based on the Cat(a) Root Word:

Commonly Used Words based on the Cat(a) Word Root

  • Catabasis: A going down; decline in health.
  • Cataclysm: A downward sweep of water; flood; disaster.
  • Catacomb: Underground burial place.
  • Catalyst: A combination which starts a reaction.
  • Cataract: A large waterfall; a clouding of the lens of the eye.
  • Catapult: An ancient apparatus for hurling stone.
  • Catalogue: Lists of names set down; registered.
  • Catastrophe: A moment of tragedy.

Archaic Words based on the Cat(a) Word Root

  • Catabasis: A going down; decline in health.
  • Catafalque: A raised platform for the coffin of one deceased.
  • Catagenesis: Evolution going back, and not forward.
  • Catalepsy: A nervous disorder which keeps limbs rigid.
  • Catarrh: Inflammation of the mucous membrane.

Technical Words/Jargon based on the Cat(a) Word Root

  • Catabasis: A going down; decline in health.
  • Catachresis: A misuse of words; mixed metaphor.
  • Cataclysmic: In the nature of a cataclysm.
  • Catakinesis: A state when energy is down.
  • Catatonia: A severe type of mental disorder.
  • Catastrophic: In the nature of a great disaster.

Related Word Roots with Similar Meanings

1. Hypo- (Greek: “under, below”)

  • Hypothermia: The condition of having an abnormally low body temperature.
  • Hypodermic: Relating to the region immediately beneath the skin.
  • Hypotension: Abnormally low blood pressure.

2. Sub- (Latin: “under, below”)

  • Submarine: A vessel that can operate underwater.
  • Subterranean: Existing or situated below the ground.
  • Submerge: To cause to be under water.

3. Infra- (Latin: “below”)

  • Infrastructure: The basic physical systems of a business or nation.
  • Infrared: Relating to the invisible part of the spectrum beyond red.
  • Infrasonic: Relating to sound waves with a frequency below the lower limit of human audibility.

We hope this article on the commonly used Cat(a) Root Word has been helpful to you in remembering the words based on the Root Word Cat(a) and enhancing your vocabulary.

Want to explore more Word Roots?

Explore Our Full Word Roots Section

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