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a combining form used in the names of antibiotics, usually fungal derivatives: neomycin.
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Origin of -mycin

Perhaps originally in actinomycin; see myc-, -in2
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -mycin mean?

The combining formmycin is used like a suffix to name antibiotics, typically those that come from fungi. It can also be used to refer to antibiotics derived from the bacteria Streptomyces, which has a fungus-like structure. It is frequently used in medical terms.

The form –mycin comes from a combination of two elements. The first is Greek mýkos, meaning “fungus.” The second is the suffix -in, a variant of ine, which is used to name chemical terms. The form –mycin literally refers to chemicals from fungus (or fungus-like bacteria).

What are variants of –mycin?

Though –mycin doesn’t have any variants, it is related to the combining forms myc, myceto, myco,mycete, and mycetes. Want to know more? Check out our Words That Use articles for each of these forms.

Examples of -mycin

An example of a word you may have encountered that features –mycin is erythromycin, “an antibiotic produced by an actinomycete,” a kind of fungus.

The first part of the word, erythro, means “red.” The –mycin part of the word indicates an “antibiotic made from fungus.” Erythromycin literally means “red antibiotic made from fungus.”

What are some words that use the combining form –mycin?

What are some other forms that –mycin may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The form vanco– means “from unexplained origin.” With this in mind, what does vancomycin literally mean?

British Dictionary definitions for -mycin


n combining form
indicating an antibiotic compound derived from a fungusstreptomycin

Word Origin for -mycin

from Greek mukēs fungus + -in
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Medical definitions for -mycin


A substance derived from a bacterium in the order Actinomycetales:erythromycin.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.