one, single

Quick Summary

The prefix mono- and its variant mon-, which both mean “one,” are important prefixes in the English language. For instance, the prefix mono- gave rise to the words monologue and monotonous, whereas we find its variant mon- in words such as monarchy and monk. A monarchy, for instance, is rule by “one,” whereas a monosyllabic word only has “one” syllable.

Mono a Mono

The prefix mono- and its variant mon- mean “one.” Here is an anything but monotonous rootcast to teach you about these singular prefixes!

Let’s first take a look at the prefix mono-, which means “one.” In the game Monopoly, for instance, the point of the game is to have “one” player eventually be the “one” controller of all the property on the board. A monologue is spoken by a comedian who is the “one” person speaking. Usually a train travels along two tracks; in contrast, a railway system that only uses one rail is a monorail.

Has your teacher ever spoken in a monotone, over and over again in just “one” boring tone? Class might get pretty monotonous if you had a teacher like that! Imagine if this same teacher only used monosyllabic words, or words with only “one” syllable!

Perhaps you’ve heard of people contracting the disease mono, also known as “the kissing disease.” Mono is short for mononucleosis, a disease with symptoms of extreme fatigue and signalled by a large concentration of white blood cells that have “single” or “one” nuclei.

The prefix mono- can also exist as mon-, which also means “one.” For instance, a monk leads a solitary or single life, content by being just “one” and so not getting married. A monarch, such as “one” queen or king, presides over a monarchy, a system of government ruled by “one” ruler.

You can now go mono a mono or “one on one” with any word containing the prefixes mono- or mon-, and not have to worry about being made a monkey by them!

  1. monopoly: control by ‘one’
  2. monologue: speech given by ‘one’ person
  3. monorail: a train which uses ‘one’ rail instead of two tracks
  4. monotone: using ‘one’ tone only
  5. monotonous: of using ‘one’ tone only
  6. monosyllable: ‘one’ syllable
  7. mono: disease signalled by a large concentration of white blood cells that have ‘one’ nucleus
  8. monk: man committed to living as ‘one’ versus becoming married
  9. monarch: ‘one’ ruler
  10. monarchy: system of government using ‘one’ ruler


  • monolith

    An organization or system that is a monolith is extremely large; additionally, it is unwilling or very slow to change or adopt something new.

  • monastic

    A monastic lifestyle is very simple—it is not given to excess in any way; rather, it is a lifestyle of self-denial.

  • monochrome

    A monochrome painting is comprised of different shades of only one color or is done in black and white.

  • monotonous

    A monotonous activity is so repetitious that it quickly becomes boring and dull.

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