Distinguishing Between Hypo & Hyper

Although the two prefixes hypo and hyper have similar sounds, there is a clear difference between hypo and hyper, in terms of meanings. In fact, they have opposite meanings. Hyper means excessive or more than normal. Hypo, in contrast, means less than normal or inadequate. This is the key difference between hypo and hyper. These two prefixes are specially used in the field of medicine.

What Does Hypo Mean?

The prefix hypo is derived from the Greek hupo which means under. Hypo usually indicates meanings such as less than normal, under, defective or inadequate. This prefix is usually used in medical contexts, to refer to conditions that are caused by having less than or under the normal or recommended amount of something. For example,
Hypotension: low blood pressure
Hypothyroidism: the under-production of thyroid hormones
Hypoacidity: low amounts of acids in the stomach
Hypothermia: abnormally low body temperature
Hypoglycemia: low level of glucose in the body
Being homeless can make you become exposed to hypothermia

What Does Hyper Mean?

The prefix hyper comes from the Greek huper which means over or beyond. This prefix is generally used to convey meanings such as more than normal, excessive, over, beyond. You can note this word in common words such as hyperactive (abnormally active) and hyperbole (obvious exaggeration). Hyper is also used to describe several medical conditions. For example,
Hypertension: abnormally high blood pressure
Hyperthyroidism: the over-production of thyroid hormones
Hyperesthesia: abnormally acute sense of pain, heat, cold, or touch
Hyperacidity: high amounts of acids in the stomach
Hyperglycaemia: high level of glucose in the body
Furthermore, hyper is attached to many words in the informal language to imply an overabundance or excess. Examples include hyper worried, hyper angry, hyper development, etc.
Chinese Hypersonic Gliding Vehicle

What is the difference between Hypo and Hyper?

Hypo means less than normal, under or inadequate.
Hyper means more than normal, excessive, over or beyond.

Hypo is mainly used for medical terms.
Hyper is also used to create informal words, in addition to its usage in medicine.

Hypo is used in words like hypochondriac, hypoallergic, hypomania, etc.
Hyper is used in words like hyperactive, hypertension, hypersonic, etc.

Key Takeaways

  • Hypo means less than normal, under, or inadequate, while Hyper means more than normal, excessive, over, or beyond.
  • Both prefixes are mainly used in medical terms, but Hyper can also be used to create informal words.
  • Examples of Hypo include hypotension and hypothermia, while examples of Hyper include hypertension and hyperactive.
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard
Gil Tillard is an accomplished writer with expertise in creating engaging articles and content across various platforms. His dedication to research and crafting high-quality content has led to over 5 years of professional writing and editing experience. In his personal life, Gil enjoys connecting with people from diverse backgrounds and cultures. His curiosity and eagerness to learn from others fuel his passion for communication. He believes that engaging with strangers can be both enlightening and enjoyable, making it easier to strike up conversations and expand one's horizons.


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