3

What are the meaning and origin of the suffix ‑don, as in the words pteranodon and megalodon?

1
  • Wikipedia has a general reference of Latin and Greek roots.
    – user2512
    Commented Jul 14, 2011 at 17:35

3 Answers 3

6

-odon (not just -don) means tooth. It is a variation of the suffix -odont, which comes from odon, which is Greek for tooth.

pter-anódōn means winged-toothless; megalodon means large-toothed. I learned Greek a while ago, and though I'm rusty, I recognized the words behind those names.

2
  • AH, makes perfect sense now. I can see the root in the word orthodontist! Appreciated!
    – Gabe
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 16:01
  • @Gabe: Yes. Ortho- means straight or correct; -dont means tooth (or teeth, in this case). So an orthodontist is a "straight-toothist", or "tooth-straightener".
    – Daniel
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 16:08
2

The suffix is not -don but -odon... Look at the etymology for "Ptenarodon":

ORIGIN modern Latin, from Greek pteron ‘wing’ + an- ‘without’ + odous, odont- ‘tooth.’


"Odont" still survives in Italian (I'm not aware about other languages), for example in the medical field "Odontoiatria" which treats about preventing/healing deseases that affect teeth, mandibles, gum, etc.

2
  • and it's related to Latin "dent-", and indeed to German "Zahn" - yes, and English "tooth", though those are not so obvious.
    – Colin Fine
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 16:49
  • @Colin: In italian teeth = denti :D
    – Alenanno
    Commented Jul 13, 2011 at 17:07
0

It’s the Greek for tooth. Megalodon = big tooth. Iguanadon = lizard tooth.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.