Quick Summary

The root word phil comes from a Greek verb meaning to love. Some common words derived from phil are philosopher, philanthropist, and bibliophile. Note that phil can begin the word as in philosopher, or end it as in bibliophile. But wherever it occurs you can be assured that phil has something to do with love.

Fascinated by Love?

The root word phil comes from a Greek verb meaning to love. So, if your name is Philip, you are etymologically a ‘lover of horses!’ The city of Philadelphia is the city of ‘brotherly love.’ A philosopher is a ‘lover of wisdom;’ you will probably recognize the soph in the word philosopher—it means ‘wise.’ A philodendron is a type of plant that ‘loves trees’ because it curls up or twines around them as it climbs.

Hemophiliacs are etymologically ‘lovers of blood.’ This does not mean that hemophiliacs are vampires, but rather that they ‘love blood’ because their platelets are ineffective at clotting wounds; they therefore lose a lot of blood when wounded, causing them to need more, hence ‘loving,’ and needing, extra.

A philanthropist is etymologically a ‘lover of humans,’ that is, someone who is charitable to and does good deeds for the good of humankind as a whole. A lesser known word is philogynist, a ‘lover of women,’ that is, of all things related to the well-being of women in general (the gyn gives rise to gynecology as well).

A philologist is a scholar of language who ‘loves words;’ your soft contact lenses are probably hydrophilic because they ‘love water,’ and a bibliophile ‘loves books’!

These constitute but a few of the “lovely” words that use the root word phil!

  1. Philip : A lover of horses
  2. Philosopher : A lover of wisdom
  3. Philodendron : Loves trees
  4. Hemophiliac : A lover of blood
  5. Philanthropist : A lover of humans
  6. Philologist : A lover of words


  • philanthropy

    Philanthropy is unselfish support in the form of donating money, work, or gifts to positive social purposes; philanthropy is also overall love for humans in general.

  • anglophile

    an admirer of England and things English

  • audiophile

    one who loves to listen to high-quality sound recordings

  • bibliophile

    someone who loves (and usually collects) books

  • hemophilia

    congenital tendency to uncontrolled bleeding

  • hemophiliac

    someone who has hemophilia and is subject to uncontrollable bleeding

  • philander

    have amorous affairs

  • philanderer

    a man who likes many women and has short sexual relationships with them

  • philanthropic

    generous in assistance to the poor

  • philanthropist

    someone who makes charitable donations intended to increase human well-being

  • philatelist

    a collector and student of postage stamps

  • philately

    the collection and study of postage stamps

  • philodendron

    often grown as a houseplant

  • philologist

    a humanist specializing in classical scholarship

  • philology

    the humanistic study of language and literature

  • philosopher

    a specialist in philosophy

  • philosophy

    a belief (or system of beliefs) accepted as authoritative by some group or school

  • philter

    a drink credited with magical power

Related Word Sums

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