Quick Summary

Cis and its variants cid and -cide come from a Latin root which means both ‘cut’ and ‘kill.’ Some common words derived from this root include decide, decision, and suicide. Perhaps the best way to remember this root is by thinking of scissors — a scissor cuts

Chop-chop, Cut-cut

The root word cis and its variants cid and -cide come from a Latin root which means ‘cut’ or ‘kill.’ A decision, for instance, is a ‘cutting off’ of all possibilities except for one; if you are decisive you have ‘killed’ all other options. And scissors? They just ‘cut.’

Ever had an incision during surgery? That’s nothing but a ‘cutting into’ your body. On the other hand, if you excise text from a book, you are removing or ‘cutting out’ material from it.

Many words in English also come from the root cid that is a variant of cis and disturbingly enough means ‘to kill.’ Cid typically appears in the form of the suffix -cide. Let’s take a look at just some of the English words that have this chilling suffix.

Homicide means ‘killing a human,’ fratricide is ‘killing of a brother.’

Herbicides and pesticides are chemicals that are commonly used for ‘killing plants,’ and a hippopotomonstricide is the ‘killing of a giant hippopotamus.’

The legendary ‘Julius Caesar’ also shares this Latin root. The word part Caes in Caesar is believed to be a reference to Mr. Julius being cut from his mother’s womb, the first recorded cesarean section.

We could go on and on, but in the spirit of conciseness we will ‘thoroughly cut’ any more words from this discussion and leave you with this incisive summary: When you see a cis or cid, tread carefully or sooner or later you just might just get ‘cut’ down to size!

  1. Decision: a ‘cutting off’
  2. Decisive: ‘of a cutting off’
  3. Homicide: ‘killing of a human’
  4. Fratricide: ‘killing of a brother’
  5. Herbicide: ‘killing of a plant’
  6. Caesar: ‘cut’ from his mother’s womb
  7. Concise: ‘thoroughly cut’
  8. Incisive: ‘cut into’


  • excise

    When you excise something, you remove it by cutting it out.

  • incisive

    If an idea or thought is incisive, it is expressed in a penetrating and knowledgeable manner that is clear and brief; additionally, it can demonstrate impressive understanding of related ideas or thoughts.

  • concise

    A concise statement is short, clear, and gets right to the point.

  • decision

    the act of making up your mind about something

  • decisive

    determining or having the power to determine an outcome

  • decisiveness

    the trait of resoluteness as evidenced by firmness of character or purpose

  • excision

    the omission that is made when an editorial change shortens a written passage

  • exorcism

    freeing from evil spirits

  • exorcist

    one of the minor orders in the unreformed Western Church but now suppressed in the Roman Catholic Church

  • imprecise

    not precise

  • imprecision

    the quality of lacking precision

  • incise

    make an incision into by carving or cutting

  • incision

    a depression scratched or carved into a surface

  • indecisive

    characterized by lack of decision and firmness

  • precise

    sharply exact or accurate or delimited

  • precision

    the quality of being reproducible in amount or performance

  • scissors

    an edge tool having two crossed pivoting blades

Related Word Sums

Differentiated vocabulary for your students is just a click away.