Hyper- vs hypo-

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Though similar in sound, the prefixes hyper- and hypo- have opposite meanings.

Hyper- is a word prefix that means more than normal, overly, above and beyond, to excess. In medicine, hyper- refers to a condition which is abnormally excess. Hyper- comes from the Greek, huper, which means over, beyond. Informally, hyper- may be affixed to any word to mean an overabundance of a thing, such as hyper-worried or hyper-angry.

Hypo– is a word prefix that means less that normal, below, under or slightly. In medicine, hypo- refers to a condition which is abnormally low. Hypo- comes from the Greek, hupo, which means less than or under. Hypo- is not used to change the meaning of words in an informal manner.


Health experts in the field of gynaecology have expressed concern over the increasing cases of hypertension among women during pregnancy. (The Times of India)

The county engineer is telling it like it is: Hyper-development bodes ill for traffic (Palm Beach Post)

“The idea of 65daysofstatic being held up in any way as evidence that this hyper-Dickensian, **** nightmare of a Tory government is apparently supporting the arts, when in actual fact they are destroying any kind of infrastructure for future creativity at the grassroots level and plunging the most vulnerable parts of society into further misery, leaves a bad taste in our mouths.” (The Independent)

Dr. Garber, one of the authors who updated the clinical-practice guidelines for hypothyroidism last year, says while there have been some intriguing studies looking at different therapies, more research is needed. (The Wall Street Journal)

The 35-year-old from Middlesbrough was rushed to hospital with hypothermia after a member of the public spotted him struggling in the inflatable kayak, which he bought from a discount supermarket. (The Mirror)