Children's, Intermediate and Advanced Online English Dictionary & Thesaurus

Word Explorer
Children's Dictionary



baI o d greI d bl
Word Parts
part of speech: adjective
definition: able to be broken down by the action of living organisms such as bacteria.
Paper is biodegradable waste, but aluminum is not.
derivation: biodegradability (n.)
Word Parts  About this feature
The word biodegradable contains the following parts:
de- Latin prefix that means from; away from; down from; reverse, negate.
dis-, un-
bio, bi, -be Greek root that means life, living, living things
grad, -grade Latin root that means go, step, degree
-able, -ible, -ble Latin adjective-forming suffix that means capable of being, doing, or undergoing
Show wordsHide wordsMore about this word part:
The suffix -able , and its variants, is attached to Latin verb roots or English transitive verbs to form adjectives. (In a small set of cases, -able is attached to a noun, e.g. knowledgeable and marriageable.) For spelling purposes, it is useful to know that -able is more likely to be added to a whole English word (comparable, adorable ), while -ible is more likely to follow a bound root (visible , legible ). However,there are still many words which combine a root with -able (capable , inevitable ). The suffix -ity can be added to any adjective ending in -able , -ible , -ble to produce a corresponding noun ending in -ability, -ibility, -bility (possible + -ity > possibility; irrevocable + -ity > irrevocability.)