There are many borrowed words from Greek and Latin that are used as prefixes in English.

Examples: pyro- relating to fire, hydro- relating to water, geo- relating to the earth etc.

What is the equivalent prefix to mean bone or skeleton?

Specifically, someone who performs divination with bones by way of combining it with the suffix -mancer/-mancy.

For example: pyromancer/pyromancy.

There are words for "bone" in both Greek and Latin, but unsure of which is the proper way to use it as a prefix.


3 Answers 3


Osteo- (prefix): Combining form meaning bone. From the Greek "osteon", bone. Appears for instance in osteoarthritis, osteochondroma osteodystrophy, osteogenesis, osteomyelitis, osteopathy, osteopetrosis, osteoporosis, osteosarcoma, etc.

from medicine.net

There are words—e.g., ossuary, that use only “os.”

From entymoline.com:

ossuary (n.)

"urn or vase for the bones of the dead;" also "place where bones of the dead are deposited," 1650s, from Late Latin ossuarium "charnel house, receptacle for bones of the dead," from neuter of Latin ossuarius "of bones," from Latin os (plural ossua) "bone" (from PIE root *ost- "bone") on model of mortuarium.


Proto-Indo-European root meaning "bone." It forms all or part of: osseous; ossicle; ossuary; ossifrage; ossify; osteo-; osteology; osteopathy; ostracism; ostracize; oyster; periosteum.

  • You seem to have forgotten to write "osteomancy."
    – Greybeard
    Apr 27, 2020 at 7:16
  • Agree. It wasn’t in the headline, though.
    – Xanne
    Apr 27, 2020 at 18:08

Scapulimancy/Scapulomancy/Spatulamancy: Divination by examining the cracks in the burned shoulder bones of an animal.

Spatulamancy from Greek: spathe "broad flat blade".

Scapulamancy from Latin: scapulae (plural) "shoulders, shoulder blades" related to the Greek above.

From Paranormal Encyclopedia, and etymonline.com.


Osteo- answers one part of the question. Skelet- or skeleto- answers the other. From M-W:

skelet-: skeleton // skeletal // skeletology

skeleto-: skeletal and // skeletomuscular

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