Quick Summary

The Greek root word bio means ‘life.’ Some common English vocabulary words that come from this root word include biological, biography, and amphibian. One easy word that is helpful in remembering bio is biology, or the study of ‘life.’

Living with 'Bio'

The Greek root word bio means ‘life,’ and gives rise mostly to words from the realm of the ‘life’ sciences.

We’ve all taken biology (or bio) classes, in which you learn all about ‘life.’ Biological processes have to do with the way ‘living’ organisms function. Microbiologists study small ‘life’ forms, such as bacteria, viruses, and other one-celled organisms.

Speaking of life forms, amphibians, such as frogs and salamanders, can ‘live’ both in water and on land. Amphibious military vehicles, such as tanks, can also operate or ‘live’ in both water and on land.

A biography (or bio) is a book that tells all about the events in someone’s ‘life,’ written by an author other than the subject of the ‘life’ history. An autobiography, on the other hand, is a history of a person’s ‘life’ written by that person.

The adjective aerobic refers to the oxygen a ‘life’ form requires in order to ‘live.’ Aerobics are simply exercises which cause ‘living’ organisms, such as yourself, to breathe faster as your body consumes more oxygen. Anaerobic exercise almost completely depletes the oxygen from a ‘living’ organism’s body, such as an all-out sprint which leaves you gasping for air!

Symbiotic organisms ‘live’ together, each needing the other to survive. An example of a mutually beneficial symbiosis or ‘living’ together is between the clownfish and the anemone (think “Finding Nemo”). In this relationship which increases survival rates, the clownfish gets a protective home, and the anemone gets cleaned by the clownfish.

And just where can living organisms live and thrive? Why, in a biosphere of course, or those parts of the Earth that support and allow the existence of ‘life.’

You can now add the knowledge of this handy root word bio to your, well, knowledge bio, which will hopefully make the rest of your vocabulary ‘life’ a bit more livable!

  1. biology: study of ‘life’
  2. microbiology: study of very small ‘life’ forms
  3. amphibian: ‘life’ living in water and on land
  4. biography: a ‘life’ history
  5. symbiosis: two ‘life’ forms living together
  6. aerobic: pertaining to air for ‘life’ to exist
  7. anaerobic: lacking air for ‘life’ to exist
  8. biosphere: part of the Earth where organisms ‘live’


  • symbiotic

    A symbiotic relationship is one in which two organisms, organizations, or people intimately depend on each other, both acting to benefit the relationship.

  • biology

    Biology is the scientific study of living things, such as plants and animals.

  • amphibian

    relating to or characteristic of animals of the class Amphibia

  • amphibious

    relating to or characteristic of animals of the class Amphibia

  • autobiography

    a biography of yourself

  • bio

    short for “biography”

  • biochemistry

    the organic chemistry of compounds and processes occurring in organisms

  • biodegradable

    capable of being decomposed by e.g. bacteria

  • biodegrade

    break down naturally through the action of biological agents

  • biodiversity

    the diversity of plant and animal life in a particular habitat (or in the world as a whole)

  • bioethics

    the branch of ethics that studies moral values in the biomedical sciences

  • biofeedback

    a training program in which a person is given information about physiological processes (heart rate or blood pressure) that is not normally available with the goal of gaining conscious control of them

  • biography

    an account of the series of events making up a person's life

  • biomass

    plant materials and animal waste used as fuel

  • biophysics

    physics as applied to biological problems

  • biopsy

    examination of tissues or liquids from the living body to determine the existence or cause of a disease

  • biorhythm

    an inborn biological process that is cyclical in nature

  • biosphere

    the regions of the surface and atmosphere of the Earth (or other planet) where living organisms exist

  • macrobiotics

    the theory of promoting health and longevity by means of diet (especially whole beans and grains)

  • microbe

    a minute life form (especially a disease-causing bacterium)

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