Well it is a combining form representing ecology in the formation of compounds (ecosystem; ecotype); also with the more general sense “environment,” “nature,” “natural habitat” (ecocide; ecolaw; ecopolitics).
‘Eco’ came from the Greek ‘oikos’ which means “house, dwelling place or habitation.” Our surrounding environment is where we reside, so it makes sense to combine ‘Eco’ with suffixes such as ‘ology’ which creates ecology, or the study of where we live. Ecosystem is a functioning unit of things interacting in the place where they live. Eco-friendly would then mean ‘not harmful to the place where you live.’
“prefix for ecology, ecological, indicating ecological concern or benefits.”
That pretty much sums up where the term eco derived in a simple way.
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