Word Origin & History
prefix meaning "pertaining to man," from comb. form of Gk. anthropos "man, human being" (sometimes also including women) from Attic andra (gen. andros), from Gk. aner "man" (as opposed to a woman, a god, or a boy), from PIE *hner "man" (cf. Skt. nar-, Armenian ayr, Welsh ner). Anthropos sometimes is
explained as a compound of aner and ops (gen. opos) "eye, face;" so lit. "he who has the face of a man." The change of -d- to -th- is difficult to explain; perhaps it is from some lost dialectal variant, or the mistaken belief that there was an aspiration sign over the vowel in the second element (as though *-dhropo-), which mistake might have come about by infl. of common verbs such as horao "to see."