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a combining form meaning “liking,” “having an affinity for” that specified by the initial element: dendrophilous.
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Compare -philic.

Origin of -philous

<Latin -philus<Greek -philos.See -phile, -ous
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022


What does -philous mean?

The combining form -philous is used like a suffix meaning “liking” or “having an affinity for.” It is occasionally used in scientific terms, especially in biology.

The form -philous comes from Greek -philos, which means “loving” or “dear.”

While -philous doesn’t have any variants, it is related to six other combining forms: -phile, -philia, -philiac, -philic, -philism, and -phily. Want to know more? Check out our Words that Use articles for each form.

Examples of -philous

An example of a scientific term that features the form -philous is dendrophilous, “living in or on trees; arboreal.”

The dendro- part of the word means “tree,” from Greek déndron, while -philous means “liking.” Dendrophilous literally translates to “tree-liking.”

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

What are some other forms that -philous may be commonly confused with?

Break it down!

The combining form xero- means “dry.” With this in mind, what does the biological term xerophilous mean in everyday language?

British Dictionary definitions for -philous



adj combining form
indicating love of or fondness forheliophilous

Word Origin for -philous

from Latin -philus, from Greek -philos; see -phile
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 -philous


Having a strong affinity or preference for; loving:necrophilous.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.