Anatocism – Definition & Meaning

Anatocism is a term that is not commonly used in everyday language. However, it is a term that is important in the world of finance and banking. It is a term that refers to the practice of charging interest on interest, which is also known as compound interest. In this article, we will explore the definition and meaning of anatocism, its origin, associations, synonyms, antonyms, and provide example sentences to help you understand this term better.


Anatocism is defined as the practice of charging interest on interest. It is the accumulation of interest on a loan or debt that has not been paid off. The interest that is charged on the unpaid interest is added to the principal amount, and interest is charged on the new total amount.


The term anatocism comes from the Latin word “anatocismus,” which means “compounding of interest.” The practice of charging compound interest has been around for centuries, and it was common in ancient Rome and Greece. The concept of anatocism was first introduced in the 16th century by the Italian mathematician and economist, Luca Pacioli.

Meaning in different dictionaries

Anatocism is not a commonly used term in everyday language, and it is not found in most dictionaries. However, it is defined in some specialized financial and legal dictionaries. For example, Black’s Law Dictionary defines anatocism as “the charging of interest on interest.”


Anatocism is often associated with loans and debts, particularly those that are long-term. It is also associated with financial institutions, such as banks and credit unions, that charge interest on loans and other financial products.


There are several synonyms for anatocism, including compound interest, interest on interest, and interest capitalization.


The antonym of anatocism is simple interest, which is the interest that is charged only on the principal amount of a loan or debt.

The same root words

Anatocism does not have any root words, as it is a term that was created specifically to describe the practice of charging interest on interest.

Example Sentences

Here are some example sentences that use the term anatocism:

  • The bank charged anatocism on the loan, which meant that the borrower had to pay interest on the interest that had accumulated over time.
  • The practice of anatocism can lead to exponential growth in the amount of interest owed on a loan, making it difficult for borrowers to pay off their debts.
  • Some financial institutions offer loans with simple interest rather than anatocism, which can be a better option for borrowers who want to avoid paying excessive amounts of interest over time.
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