Difference Between Hypo and Hyper

Key Difference- Hypo vs 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

Key Difference - Hypo vs  Hyper

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.

Difference Between Hypo and Hyper

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.

Image Courtesy:

“Homeless and cold” By Ed Yourdon – originally posted to Flickr as Homeless and cold (CC BY-SA 2.0) via Commons Wikimedia 

 “Chinese Hypersonic Gliding Vehicle” By 果壳军事 – Own work (CC BY-SA 4.0) via Commons Wikimedia