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Affixes: the building blocks of English
Affixes: the building blocks of English

tetr(a)- Also tetarto-.

Four; having four.

[Greek, from tettares, four.]

This form is widely used. Some examples are tetrathlon (Greek athlon contest), in which each contestant competes in four events; tetraplegic, a person paralysed in all four limbs; tetrameter (Greek metron, measure), a verse of four measures; and tetrad, a group or set of four.

It is common in scientific contexts, for example in tetrahedron, a solid having four plane triangular faces; tetrapod (Greek pous, pod-, foot), a four-footed animal; tetrapterous (Greek pteron, wing), of an insect that has two pairs of wings.

In chemistry it indicates the presence of four atoms or groups of a particular kind: tetroxide, an oxide containing four atoms of oxygen in its molecule or empirical formula; tetracycline, any of a group of antibiotics with a molecular structure containing four rings; tetrafluoroethylene, a dense gas which is polymerized to make plastics; tetrahydrocannabinol, a crystalline compound that is the main active ingredient of cannabis.

The form tetarto- (from Greek tetartos, fourth) now only occurs with any frequency in tetartohedral, a term in crystallography for a crystal that has only a quarter of the number of faces required for full symmetry.

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