word-forming element meaning "around, round about, all around, on all sides," from Latin adverb and preposition circum "around, round about," literally "in a circle," probably accusative form of circus "ring" (see circus). The Latin word was commonly used in word-formation. In French, the element became circon-; Kitchin points out that con for cum is common even in classical Latin. For sense development, compare German rings "around."
the later Romans evidently found words beginning in sc-, sp-, st- difficult or unpleasant to pronounce; in Late Latin forms begin to emerge in i- (such as ispatium, ispiritu), and from 5c. this shifted to e-. The development was carried into the Romanic languages, especially Old French, and the French words were modified further after 15c. by natural loss of -s- (the suppression being marked by an acute accent on the e-), while in other cases the word was formally corrected back to the Latin spelling (for example spécial). Hence French état for Old French estat for Latin status, etc. It also affected Romanic borrowings from Germanic (such as espy, eschew).
word-forming element meaning "wood, forest," also "matter," from Greek hylos "a wood, a forest, woodland; wood, firewood, timber; stuff, material," used by Aristotle for "matter" in the philosophical sense; a word of unknown origin.
before vowels pyel-, medical word-forming element used from mid-19c. in forming medical terms, from Greek pyelos "oblong trough, bathing-tub," a word of uncertain etymology, taken in modern scientific use for "pelvis."