Go to 'thermo-' entry Go to 'dino-' entry Go to 'chondro-' entry Go to 'aero-' entry Go to '-logy' entry Go to 'thaumato-' entry Go to 'nano-' entry Go to '-sophy' entry Go to 'bucco-' entry Go to '-ism' entry Go to '-lysis' entry Go to 'galacto-' entry Go to '-anthropy' entry Go to 'pneumo-' entry Go to '-ploitation' entry Go to '-lithic' entry Go to '-sepalous' entry Go to 'onco-' entry Go to '-parous' entry Go to 'dermato-' entry Go to 'multi-' entry Go to 'dodeca-' entry Go to '-zoon' entry Go to 'vermi-' entry Go to 'crystallo-' entry Go to 'biblio-' entry Go to 'eco-' entry Go to 'juxta-' entry Go to 'facio-' entry
Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

crypt(o)-

Concealed or secret.

[Greek kruptos, hidden.]

One set of words relates to the production of messages intended only to be understood by the intended recipient, or to methods for illicitly reading them. Text containing such a private message is a cryptogram and the process of creating it is encryption; the art of preparing or reading codes or ciphers is cryptography; the techniques of cracking codes or ciphers to discover messages are collectively called cryptanalysis.

The form also appears in the biological sciences. A cryptogam (Greek gamos, marriage) is a plant that reproduces by spores, so named because the means of reproduction were not obvious at the time; some organisms survive dry conditions through cryptobiosis, in which their metabolic activity becomes undetectably low; cryptozoology is the search for species of animal whose existence is disputed.

A third group has the idea of some membership, allegiance, or belief kept secret, as in crypto-communist, crypto-fascist, or crypto-semite.

Visit Michael Quinion’s World Wide Words site for 2000+ articles on English!

Copyright © Michael Quinion 2008–. All rights reserved. Page last updated 23 September 2008.
Your comments and suggestions on the site are very welcome.