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.

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