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List of Medical Terminology Terms

This is a list of terms, roots, suffixes, and prefixes used in medical terminology, their meanings, and their etymology. A few rules should be noted when using medical roots. Firstly, prefixes and suffixes, primarily in Greek -- but also in Latin, have a droppable -o-. As a general rule, this -o- almost always acts as a joint-stem to connect two consonantal roots, e.g. arthr- + -o- + logy = arthrology. But generally, the -o- is dropped when connecting to a vowel-stem; e.g. arthr- + itis = arthritis, instead of arthr-o-itis. Secondly, medical roots generally go together according to language: Greek prefixes go with Greek suffixes and Latin prefixes with Latin suffixes. Although it is technically considered acceptable to create hybrid words, it is strongly preferred to not mix different lingual roots.

Prefixes and suffixes

The following is an alphabetical list of medical prefixes and suffixes, along with their meanings, origin, and an English example.

A

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

a-, an-

Denotes an absence of

Ancient Greek α-/αν- (a-/an-), without, not

Apathy, Analgia

ab-

away from

Latin

Abduction

abdomin(o)-

Of or relating to the Abdomen

Latin (abd?men), abdomen, fat around the belly

Abdomen

-ac

pertaining to

Greek -akos

cardiac

acanth(o)-

thorn or spine

Ancient Greek ακανθα (akantha), thorn

acanthocyte

acous(o)-

Of or relating to hearing

Greek ακουστικ?ς (acoustikos), of or for hearing

 

acr(o)-

extremity, topmost

Greek ?κρον (akron), highest or farthest point

Acromegaly

-acusis

hearing

Greek ακουστικ?ς (acoustikos), of or for hearing

 

-ad

toward, in the direction of

 

dorsad

ad-

increase, adherence, motion toward, very

Latin

Adduction

aden(o)-, aden(i)-

Of or relating to a gland

Ancient Greek αδην, αδ?ν- (ad?n, aden-), an acorn; a gland

Adenology

adip(o)-

Of or relating to fat or fatty tissue

Latin (adeps, adip-), fat

Adipocyte

adren(o)-

Of or relating to adrenal glands

 

adrenal artery

-aemia (BrE)

blood condition

Greek ?ναιμ?α, without blood

Anaemia

aer(o)-

air, gas

 

Aerosinusitis

aesthesio- (BrE)

sensation

Greek

 

-al

pertaining to

Latin -alis

abdominal

alb-

Denoting a white or pale color

Latin albus, white

Albino

alge(si)-

pain

Greek

Analgesic

-algia

pain

 

Myalgia

alg(i)o-

pain

 

Myalgia

allo-

Denoting something as different, or as an addition

Ancient Greek αλλος (allos), another, other

Alloantigen, allopathy

ambi-

Denoting something as positioned on both sides; Describing both of two

Latin (ambi-, ambo), both, on both sides

Ambidextrous

amnio-

Pertaining to the membraneous fetal sac (amnion)

Greek

Amniocentesis

an-

not, without

Greek

Analgesia

an(o)

anus

 

 

andr(o)-

pertaining to a man

Greek

Andrology, android

angi(o)-

blood vessel

 

Angiogram

aniso-

Describing something as unequal

Ancient Greek αν?σος (an?sos), unequal

Anisotropic

ankyl(o)-, ancyl(o)-

Denoting something as crooked or bent

Ancient Greek ανκ?λος (ankýlos), crooked, curved

Ankylosis

ante-

Describing something as positioned in front of another thing

Latin (?nt?), before, in front of

antepartum

anti-

Describing something as 'against' or 'opposed to' another

Ancient Greek αντι (anti), against

Antibody, antipsychotic

apo-

separated from, derived from

Ancient Greek

Apoptosis

arteri(o)-

Of or pertaining to an artery

Ancient Greek αρτηρ?α (art?ría), a wind-pipe, artery (used distinctly versus a vein)

Artery, Arteriology

arthr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the joints, limbs

Ancient Greek αρθρος (arthros), a joint, limb

Arthritis

articul(o)-

joint

Latin

Articulation

-ary

pertaining to

Latin -arius

bilary tract

-ase

enzyme

 

Lactase

-asthenia

weakness

 

Myasthenia gravis

-ation

process

Latin

 

aur(i)-

Of or pertaining to the ear

Latin (auris), the ear

Aural

aut(o)-

self

Greek

Autoimmune

axill-

Of or pertaining to the armpit [uncommon as a prefix]

Latin (axilla), armpit

Axilla

B

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

balano-

Of the glans penis or glans clitoridis

Greek balanos, acorn, glans

Balanitis

bi-

twice, double

Latin

 

bio-

life

Ancient Greek

Biology

blast(o)-

germ or bud

 

Blastomere

blephar(o)-

Of or pertaining to the eyelid

Ancient Greek βλ?φαρον (blépharon), eyelid

Blepharoplast

brachi(o)-

Of or relating to the arm

Latin (brachium), from Ancient Greek βραχ?ων (brachi?n), arm

Brachium

brachy-

Indicating 'short' or less commonly 'little'

Ancient Greek βραχυς (brachys), short; little, shallow

brachycephalic

brady-

Indicating 'slow'

Ancient Greek βραδυς (bradys), slow

Bradycardia

bronch(i)-

bronchus

 

Bronchiolitis obliterans

bucc(o)-

Of or pertaining to the cheek

Latin (bucca), cheek

Buccolabial

burs(o)-

bursa

 

Bursitis

C

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

capill-

Of or pertaining to hair

Latin (capillus), hair

Capillus

capit-

Pertaining to the head (as a whole)

Latin (caput, capit-), the head

Capitation

carcin(o)-

cancer

 

Carcinoma

cardi(o)-

Of or pertaining to the heart

Ancient Greek καρδ?α (kardía), heart

Cardiology

carp(o)-

Of or pertaining to the wrist.

Latin (carpus) < Ancient Greek καρπ?ς (karpós), wrist; NOTE: This root should not be confused with the mirror root carp(o)- meaning fruit.

Carpopedal

cata-

down

Greek (kata)

Cataract

-cele

pouching, hernia

Ancient Greek (k?l?)

Hydrocele

-centesis

surgical puncture for aspiration

Ancient Greek (kent?sis)

Amniocentesis

cephal(o)-

Of or pertaining to the head (as a whole)

Ancient Greek κ?φαλ? (képhal?), the head

Cephalalgy

cerat(o)-

Of or pertaining to the cornu; a horn

Ancient Greek κ?ρας, κερατ- (kéras, kerat-), a horn

Ceratoid

cerebell(o)-

Of or pertaining to the cerebellum

Latin (cerebellum), little brain

Cerebellum

cerebr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the brain

Latin (cerebrum), brain

Cerebrology

cervic-

Of or pertaining to the neck, the cervix

Latin (cervix, cerv?c-), neck, cervix

Cervicodorsal

chem(o)-

chemistry, drug

 

Chemotherapy

chir(o)-, cheir(o)-

Of or pertaining to the hand

Ancient Greek χε?ρ, χειρο- (cheir, cheiro-), hand

Chiropractor

chlor(o)-

Denoting a green color

Ancient Greek χλορος (chloros), green, yellow-green

Chlorophyll

chol(e)-

Of or pertaining to bile

Ancient Greek χολ? (chol?), bile

Cholaemia

cholecyst(o)-

Of or pertaining to the gallbladder

Ancient Greek χοληκ?στις (chol?kýstis), gallbladder < χολη (chol?), bile, gall + κ?στις (kýstis), bladder

Cholecystectomy

chondr(i)o-

cartilage, gristle, granule, granular

Ancient Greek (chondros)

Chondrocalcinosis

chrom(ato)-

color

Ancient Greek

Hemachromatosis

-cidal, -cide

killing, destroying

Latin

 

cili-

Of or pertaining to the cilia, the eyelashes; eyelids

< Latin (cilium), eyelash; eyelid

Ciliary

circum-

Denoting something as 'around' another

Latin (circum), around

Circumcision

cis-

on this side

Latin (cis)

 

clast

break

Greek

 

co-

with, together, in association

Latin

 

col-, colo-, colono-

colon

 

Colonoscopy

colp(o)-

Of or pertaining to the vagina

Ancient Greek κ?λπος (kólpos), bosom, womb; hollow, depth

Colposcopy

com-

with, together

Latin

 

contra

against

Latin

Contraindicate

cor-

with, together

Latin

 

cor-, core-, coro-

Of or pertaining to eye's pupil

Ancient Greek κ?ρη (kór?), girl, doll; pupil of the eye

Corectomy

cordi-

Of or pertaining to the heart [Uncommon as a prefix]

Latin (cor, cordi-), heart

Commotio cordis

cornu-

Applied to processes and parts of the body describing them likened or similar to horns

Latin (corn?), horn

 

cost(o)-

Of or pertaining to the ribs

Latin (costa), rib

Costochondral

cox-

Of or relating to the hip, haunch, or hip-joint

Latin (coxa), hip

Coxopodite

crani(o)-

Belonging or relating to the cranium

Latin (cranium) < Ancient Greek κρ?ν?ον (kr?nion), the cranium, skull, bones enclosing the brain

Craniology

-crine

to secrete

 

Endocrine

cry(o)-

cold

 

Cryoablation

cutane-

skin

 

Subcutaneous

cyan(o)-

Denotes a blue color

Ancient Greek κ?ανος, κυ?νεος (kýanos, kyáneos), blue

Cyanopsia

cycl-

circle, cycle

Greek (kuklos)

 

cyph(o)-

Denotes something as bent [uncommon as a prefix]

Ancient Greek κυφ?ς (k?phós), bent, hunchback

Cyphosis

cyst(o)-, cyst(i)-

Of or pertaining to the urinary bladder

Ancient Greek κ?στις (kýstis), bladder; cyst

Cystotomy

cyt(o)-

cell

Greek

Cytokine

-cyte

cell

Greek

Leukocyte

D

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

dacrio-

tear

Greek

 

dactyl(o)-

Of or pertaining to a finger, toe

Ancient Greek δ?κτυλος (dáktylos), finger, toe

Dactylology

de-

away from, cessation

Latin de-

 

dent-

Of or pertaining to teeth

Latin (dens, dentis), tooth

Dentist

dermat(o)-, derm(o)-

Of or pertaining to the skin

Ancient Greek δ?ρμα, δ?ρματ- (dérma, démat-), skin, human skin

Dermatology

-desis

binding

Greek (desis)

arthrodesis

dextr(o)-

right, on the right side

Latin dexter

Dextrocardia

di-

two

Greek

 

di-

apart, separation

Latin

 

dia-

(same as Greek meaning)

Ancient Greek δι? (diá), through, during, across

Diacetyl

dif-

apart, separation

Latin

 

digit-

Of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root]

Latin (digitus), finger, toe

Digit

dis-

separation, taking apart

Latin dis-

Dissection

dors(o)-, dors(i)-

Of or pertaining to the back

Latin (dorsum), back

Dorsal, Dorsocephalad

duodeno-

duodenum - upper part of the small intestine, connects to the stomach

Latin duodeni

Duodenal atresia

dynam(o)-

force, energy, power

Greek δυναμις (dunamis)

 

-dynia

pain

 

 

dys-

bad, difficult

Greek δυσ-

Dysphagia, dysphasia

E

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

-eal

pertaining to

Latin

 

ec-

out, away

Greek (ek-)

 

ect(o)-

outer, outside

Greek

Ectopic pregnancy

-ectasis

expansion, dilation

Ancient Greek

Bronchiectasis

-ectomy

Denotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part

Ancient Greek εκτομ? (ectom?), excision

Mastectomy

-emesis

vomiting condition

 

Hematemesis

-emia

blood condition (AmE)

Greek ?ναιμ?α, without blood

Anemia

encephal(o)-

Of or pertaining to the brain. Also see Cerebro.

Ancient Greek ενκ?φαλος (enképhalos), the brain

Encephalogram

endo-

Denotes something as 'inside' or 'within'

Ancient Greek ενδο- (endo-), inside, internal

Endocrinology, Endospore

enter(o)-

Of or pertaining to the intestine

Ancient Greek ?ντερον (énteron), intestine

Gastroenterology

epi-

[Same as Greek meaning: on, upon]

Ancient Greek επι- (epi-), before, upon, on, outside, outside of

Epistaxis, epicardium, episclera, epidural

episi(o)-

Of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loins

Ancient Greek επ?σιον- (epísion), the pubic area, loins; vulva

Episiotomy

erythr(o)-

Denotes a red color

Ancient Greek ερυθρος (erythros), red

Erythrocyte

-esophageal, -esophago

gullet (AmE)

 

 

esthesio-

sensation (AmE)

Greek

 

eu-

true, good, well, new

Greek

Eukaryote

ex-

out of, away from

Latin

 

exo-

Denotes something as 'outside' another

Ancient Greek εξο- (exo-), outside of, external

Exoskeleton

extra-

outside

Latin

 

F

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

faci(o)-

Of or pertaining to the face

Latin (faci?s), the face, countenance

Facioplegic

fibr(o)

fiber

 

Fibroblast

filli-

fine, hair like

 

 

-form, -iform

Used to form adjectives indicating 'having the form of'

Latin (forma), form, shape

Cuneiform

front-

Of or pertaining to the forehead

Latin (fr?ns, front-), the forehead

Frontonasal

G

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

galact(o)-

milk

 

Galactorrhea

gastr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the stomach

Ancient Greek γαστ?ρ (gast?r), stomach, belly

Gastric bypass

-gen

(1) Denotes the sense 'born in, from' (2) Denotes the sense 'of a certain kind'

Ancient Greek -γεν?ς (-gen?s) < γεν-ν?ειν (gen-náein), to be born

(1) Endogen; (2) Heterogenous

-genic

Formation

 

Cardiogenic shock

genu-

Of or pertaining to the knee

Latin (gen?), knee

Genu valgum

gingiv-

Of or pertaining to the gums

Latin (ging?va), gum

Gingivitis

glauc(o)-

Denoting a grey, bluish-grey color

Ancient Greek γλαυκ?ς (glaúkos), grey, bluish-grey

Glaucoma

gloss(o)-, glott(o)-

Of or pertaining to the tongue

Ancient Greek γλ?σσα, γλ?ττα (gl?ssa, gl?tta), tongue

Glossology

gluco-

glucose

 

Glucocorticoid

glyco-

sugar

 

Glycolysis

gnath(o)-

Of or pertaining to the jaw

Ancient Greek γν?θος (gnáthos), jaw

Gnathodynamometer

gon(o)-

seed, semen; also, reproductive

Ancient Greek

Gonorrhea

-gram

record or picture

 

Angiogram

-graph

record or picture

Ancient Greek -γραφ?α (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation

Electrocardiograph

-graphy

process of recording

 

Angiography

gyn(aec)o- (BrE), gyn(ec)o- (AmE)

woman

 

Gynecomastia

H

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)]][[Media

halluc-

to wander in mind

Classical Latin to wander in mind

Hallucinosis

hemat-, haemato- (haem-, hem-)

Of or pertaining to blood

Latin (hæma) < Ancient Greek α?μα, α?ματ- (haima, haimat-), blood

Hematology, older form Haematology

hema or hemo-

blood (AmE)

 

Hematological malignancy

hemi-

one-half

Ancient Greek ?μι- (h?mi-), "half"

Cerebral hemisphere

hepat- (hepatic-)

Of or pertaining to the liver

Ancient Greek ηπαρ, ηπατο- (h?par, h?pato-), the liver

Hepatology

heter(o)-

Denotes something as 'the other' (of two), as an addition, or different

Ancient Greek ?τερος (héteros), the other (of two), another; different

Heterogeneous

hidr(o)-

sweat

Greek

Hyperhidrosis

hist(o)-, histio-

tissue

 

Histology

home(o)-

similar

Ancient Greek ?μοιος (homoios)

Homeopathy

hom(o)-

Denotes something as 'the same' as another or common

Ancient Greek ομο- (homo-), the same, common

Homosexuality

humer(o)-

Of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm)

Incorrect Etymology < Latin (umerus), shoulder

Humerus

hydr(o)-

water

Greek

Hydrophobe

hyper-

Denotes something as 'extreme' or 'beyond normal'

Ancient Greek υπερ (hyper), over, above; beyond, to the extreme

Hypertension

hyp(o)-

Denotes something as 'below normal'

Ancient Greek υπ(ο)- (hypo-), below, under

Hypovolemia,

hyster(o)-

Of or pertaining to the womb, the uterus

Ancient Greek υστ?ρα (hystéra), womb

Hysterectomy

I

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

-ia(sis)

condition

 

Mydriasis

iatr(o)-

Of or pertaining to medicine, or a physician [uncommon as a prefix; common as as suffix, see -iatry]

Ancient Greek ι?τρ?ς (i?trós), healer, physician

Iatrochemistry

-iatry

Denotes a field in medicine of a certain body component

Ancient Greek ι?τρ?ς (i?trós), healer, physician

Podiatry, Psychiatry

-ic

pertaining to

Greek (-ikos)

Hepatic artery

-icle

small

 

Ovarian follicle

-ics

organized knowledge, treatment

 

 

idio-

self, one's own

Greek ?διος, idios, "one's own"

Idiopathic

ileo-

ileum

 

Ileocecal valve

infra-

below

Latin

Infrahyoid muscles

inter-

between, among

Latin

Interarticular ligament

intra-

within

Latin

Intracranial hemorrhage

irid(o)-

iris

 

Iridectomy

ischio-

Of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-joint

Ancient Greek ισχι?ν (ischión), hip-joint, ischium

Ischiorrhogic

-ism

condition, disease

 

Dwarfism

-ismus

spasm, contraction

 

 

iso-

Denoting something as being 'equal'

Ancient Greek ?σος (ísos), equal

Isotonic

-ist

one who specializes in

Greek (-istes)

Pathologist

-ite

the nature of, resembling

 

Hermaphrodite

-itis

inflammation

 

Tonsillitis

-ium

structure, tissue

 

pericardium

K

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

karyo-

nucleus

Greek κ?ρυον, "nut"

Eukaryote

kerat(o)-

cornea (eye or skin)

 

Keratoscope

kin(e)-, kin(o), kinesi(o)-

movement

Greek

Kinesthesia

koil(o)-

hollow

Greek (koilos)

Koilocyte

kyph(o)-

humped

 

Kyphoscoliosis

L

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

labi(o)-

Of or pertaining to the lip

Latin (labium), lip

Labiodental

lacrim(o)-

tear

 

Lacrimal canaliculi

lact(i)-, lact(o)

milk

 

Lactation

lapar(o)-

Of or pertaining to the abdomen-wall, flank

Ancient Greek λαπ?ρ? (lapár?), flank

Laparotomy

laryng(o)-

Of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box is

Ancient Greek λ?ρυγξ, λαρυγγ- (lárynx, laryng-), throat, gullet

Larynx

latero-

lateral

 

Lateral pectoral nerve

lei(o)-

smooth

 

Leiomyoma

-lepsis, -lepsy

attack, seizure

 

Epilepsy, narcolepsy

lept(o)-

light, slender

Greek (leptos)

 

leuc(o)-, leuk(o)-

Denoting a white color

Ancient Greek λευκος (leukos), white, bright

Leukocyte

lingu(a)-, lingu(o)-

Of or pertaining to the tongue

Latin (lingua), tongue

Linguistics

lip(o)-

fat

 

Liposuction

lith(o)-

stone, calculus

 

Lithotripsy

log(o)-

speech

 

 

-logist

Denotes someone who studies a certain field: _____-logy

Ancient Greek λογιστης (logist?s), studier, practitioner

Oncologist, pathologist

-logy

Denotes the academic study or practice of a certain field

Ancient Greek λογoς (logos) study

hematology, urology

lymph(o)-

lymph

 

Lymphedema

lys(o)-, -lytic

dissolution

 

Lysosome

-lysis

Destruction

 

Paralysis

M

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

macr(o)-

large, long

 

Macrophage

-malacia

softening

 

Osteomalacia

mamm(o)-

Of or pertaining to the breast

Latin (mamma), breast; udder

Mammogram

mammill(o)-

Of or pertaining to the nipple

Latin (mammilla), nipple

 

manu-

Of or pertaining to the hand

Latin (manus), hand

Manufacture

mast(o)-

Of or pertaining to the breast

Ancient Greek μαστ?ς (mastós), breast, women's breast; man's pectoral muscle

Mastectomy

meg(a)-, megal(o)-, megaly

enlargement

 

Splenomegaly

melan(o)-

Denoting a black color

Ancient Greek μελας, μελανο- (melas, melano-), black; dark

Melanin

mening(o)-

membrane

 

Meningitis

mes(o)-

middle

Ancient Greek μ?σος (mesos), "middle"

Mesoderm

meta-

after, behind

 

Metacarpus

-meter

measurement

 

Sphygmomanometer

-metry

process of measuring

 

Optometry

metr(o)-

Pertaining to conditions or instruments of the uterus

Ancient Greek μ?τρ? (m?tr?), womb, uterus

Metrorrhagia

micro-

denoting something as small, or relating to smallness

Ancient Greek μικρος (mikros), small

Microscope

mon(o)-

single

 

Infectious mononucleosis

morph(o)-

form, shape

 

Morphology

muscul(o)-

muscle

 

Musculoskeletal system

my(o)-

Of or relating to muscle

Ancient Greek μυς, μυ- (mys, my-), muscle; mouse; mussel

Myoblast

myc(o)-

fungus

 

Onychomycosis

myel(o)-

Of or relating to bone marrow

Ancient Greek μυελον (myelon), marrow; bone-marrow

Myeloblast

myring(o)-

eardrum

 

Myringotomy

myx(o)-

mucus

 

Myxoma

N

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

narc(o)-

numb, sleep

Greek

narcolepsy

nas(o)-

Of or pertaining to the nose

Latin (n?sum), nose

nasal

necr(o)-

death

Greek

Necrotizing fasciitis

neo-

new

Greek

Neoplasm

nephr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the kidney

Ancient Greek νεφρ?ς (nephrós), kidney

Nephrology

nerv-

Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system [Uncommon as a root: neuro- mostly always used]

Latin (nervus), tendon; nerve; Cognate with the Greek νευρον (neuron) (see below)

Nerve

neur(i)-, neur(o)-

Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system

Ancient Greek νευρον (neuron), tendon, sinew; nerve

Neurofibromatosis

normo-

normal

 

Normocapnia

O

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

ocul(o)-

Of or pertaining to the eye

Latin (oculus), the eye

Oculist

odont(o)-

Of or pertaining to teeth

Ancient Greek οδο?ς, οδοντ- (odoús, odont-), tooth

orthodontist

odyn(o)-

pain

 

stomatodynia

-oesophageal, oesophago- (BrE)

gullet

 

 

-oid

resemblance to

 

Sarcoidosis

ole

small or little

 

 

olig(o)-

Denoting something as 'having little, having few'

Ancient Greek ολιγος (oligos), few

Oligotrophy

om(o)-

Of or pertaining to the shoulder

Ancient Greek ωμος (?mos), shoulder

Omoplate

-oma (singular), -omata (plural)

tumor

 

Sarcoma, Teratoma

omphal(o)-

Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus

Ancient Greek ομφαλ?ς (omphalós), navel, belly-button

Omphalotomy

onco-

tumor, bulk, volume

 

Oncology

onych(o)-

Of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe)

Ancient Greek < ?νυξ, ?νυχο- (ónyx, ónycho-), nail; claw; talon

Onychophagy

oo-

Of or pertaining to the an egg, a woman's egg, the ovum

Ancient Greek ω?ν, ωο- (?ón, ?o-), egg, ovum

Oogenesis

oophor(o)-

Of or pertaining to the woman's ovary

Ancient Greek ωφ?ρον (?phóron), ovary, egg-bearing

Oophorectomy

ophthalm(o)-

Of or pertaining to the eye

Ancient Greek οφθαλμ?ς (ophthalmós), the eye

Ophthalmology

optic(o)-

Of or relating to chemical properties of the eye

Middle French (optique) < Greek οπτικ?ς (optikós); Cognate with Latin oculus, relating to the eye

Opticochemical

or(o)-

Of or pertaining to the mouth

Latin (?s, or-), mouth

Oral

orchi(o)-, orchido-

testis

Greek (orkhis, orkhi-)

Orchiectomy, Orchidectomy

orth(o)-

Denoting something as straight or correct

Ancient Greek ορθος (orthos), straight, correct, normal

Orthodontist

-osis

a condition, disease or increase

 

Harlequin type ichthyosis

osseo-

bony

 

 

ossi-

bone

 

Peripheral ossifying fibroma

ost(e)-, oste(o)-

bone

 

Osteoporosis

ot(o)-

Of or pertaining to the ear

Ancient Greek ους, ωτ- (ous, ?t-), the ear

Otopathy

-ous

pertaining to

 

 

ovari(o)-

Of or pertaining to the ovaries

Latin (?varium), ovary

Ovariectomy

ovo-, ovi-, ov-

Of or pertaining to the eggs, the ovum

Latin (?vum), egg, ovum

Ovogenesis

oxo-

addition of oxygen

 

 

oxy-

sharp, acid, acute, oxygen

 

 

P

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

pachy-

thick

 

pachyderma

palpebr-

Of or pertaining to the eyelid [uncommon as a root]

Latin (palpebra), eyelid

Palpebra

pan-, pant(o)-

Denoting something as 'complete' or containing 'everything'

Ancient Greek πας, παν- (pas, pan-), all, every

panophobia, panopticon

papill-

Of or pertaining to the nipple (of the chest/breast)

Latin (papilla), nipple; dimunitive of papula (see below)

Papillitis

papul(o)-

Indicates papulosity, a small elevation or swelling in the skin, a pimple, swelling

Latin (papula), pimple, pustle; a small elevation or swelling in the skin

Papulation

para-

alongside of, abnormal

Ancient Greek

 

-paresis

slight paralysis

 

hemiparesis

path(o)-

disease

 

Pathology

-pathy

Denotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorder

Ancient Greek παθος (pathos), suffering, accident

sociopathy, neuropathy

ped-, -ped-, -pes

Of or pertaining to the foot; -footed

Latin (p?s, p?d-), foot

Pedoscope

pelv(i)-, pelv(o)-

hip bone

 

Pelvis

-penia

deficiency

 

osteopenia

peo-

Of or pertaining to the penis

Greek (peos)

Peotomy

-pepsia

Denotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract.

Ancient Greek πεπτ?ς (peptós) cooked, digested < π?σσω (péss?) I boil, cook; digest

Dyspepsia

per-

through

 

 

peri-

Denoting something with a position 'surrounding' or 'around' another

Ancient Greek περι- (peri-), around

Periodontal

-pexy

fixation

 

Nephropexy

phaco-

lens-shaped

 

 

-phage, -phagia

Forms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestion

Ancient Greek φαγ?α (phagía) eating < φαγειν (phagein) to eat

Sarcophagia

phago-

eating, devouring

 

phagocyte

-phagist:

Forms nouns that denote a person who 'feeds on' the first element or part of the word

Ancient Greek φαγιστης (phagist?s) eater; see -phagia

Lotophagis

-phagy

Forms nouns that denotes 'feeding on' the first element or part of the word

Ancient Greek φαγια (phagia) eating; see -phagia

Anthropophagy

phallo-

phallus

Greek (phallos)

Aphallia

pharmaco-

drug, medication

 

pharmacology

pharyng(o)-

Of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavity

Ancient Greek φ?ρυγξ, φ?ρυγγ- (phárynx, pháryng-), throat, windpipe; chasm

Pharyngitis, Pharyngoscopy

-phil(ia)

attraction for

 

Hemophilia

phleb(o)-

Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein

Ancient Greek φλεψ, φλεβ- (phleps, phlebo-), blood-vessel, vein

Phlebography, Phlebotomy

phob(o)-

exaggerated fear, sensitivity

 

arachnophobia

phon(o)-

sound

 

 

phos-

Of or pertaining to light or its chemical properties, now historic and used rarely. See the common root phot(o)- below.

Ancient Greek φλως, φλωτ- (ph?s, ph?t-), light

Phosphene

phot(o)-

Of or pertaining to light

Ancient Greek φλως, φλωτ- (ph?s, ph?t-), light

Photopathy

phren(i)-, phren(o)-, phrenico

diaphragm

 

Phrenic nerve

-plasia

formation, development

 

Achondroplasia

-plasty

surgical repair, reconstruction

 

rhinoplasty

-plegia

paralysis

 

paraplegia

pleur(o)-, pleur(a)

Of or pertaining to the ribs

Latin (pleura) < Ancient Greek πλευρ?ν (pleurón), rib, side of the body

Pleurogenous

-plexy

stroke or seizure

 

Cataplexy

pneum(o)-

Of or pertaining to the lungs

Ancient Greek πνευμων, πνευμον- (pneum?n, pneumon-), lung < πνευμα (pneuma), wind, spirit

Pneumonocyte, Pneumonia

pneumat(o)-

air, lung

 

 

pod-, -pod-, -pus

Of or pertaining to the foot, -footed

Ancient Greek πο?ς, ποδ- (poús, pod-), foot

Podiatry

-poiesis

production

 

hematopoiesis

polio-

Denoting a grey color

Ancient Greek πολι?ς (poliós), grey

Poliomyelitis

poly-

Denotes a 'plurality' of something

Ancient Greek πολυς (polys), much, many

Polymyositis

por(o)-

pore, porous

 

 

porphyr(o)-

Denotes a purple color

Ancient Greek πορπ?ρα (porphýra), purple

Porphyroblast

post-

Denotes something as 'after' or 'behind' another

Latin (post), after, behind

Postoperation, Postmortem

pre-

Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time)

Medieval Latin (pre-) < (Classical) Latin (præ), before, in front of

Prematurity

presby(o)-

old age

 

Presbyopia

prim-

Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important'

Latin (pr?mus), first, most important

Primary

pro-

Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time)

Ancient Greek προ (pro), before, in front of

Procephalic

proct(o)-

anus, rectum

 

proctology

prot(o)-

Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important'

Ancient Greek πρωτος (pr?tos), first; principle, most important

Protoneuron

psych(e)-, psych(o)

Of or pertaining to the mind

Ancient Greek ψυχ? (psyché), breath, life, soul

Psychology, Psychiatry

-ptosis

falling, downward placement, prolapse

 

Apoptosis

-ptysis

(a spitting), spitting, hemoptysis, the spitting of blood derivied from the lungs or bronchial tubes

 

 

pulmon-, pulmo-

Of or relating to the lungs.

Latin (pulmo, pulm?n-, usually used in plural), a lung

pulmonary

pyel(o)-

pelvis

Ancient Greek (pyelos)

Pyelonephritis

pyo-

pus

 

Pyometra

pyro-

fever

 

Antipyretic

Q

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

quadr(i)-

four

 

quadriceps

R

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

rachi(o)-

spine

 

 

radio-

radiation,

 

 

re-

again, backward

 

 

rect(o)-

rectum

 

 

ren(o)-

Of or pertaining to the kidney

Latin (r?nes), kidney

Renal

reticul(o)-

net

 

 

retro-

backward, behind

 

retroverted

rhabd(o)-

rod shaped, striated

 

 

rhin(o)-

Of or pertaining to the nose

Ancient Greek ρ?ς, ρ?νο- (rh?s, rh?no-), nose

Rhinoceros

rhod(o)-

Denoting a rose-red color

Ancient Greek ρ?δον (rhódon), rose

Rhodophyte

-rrhage

burst forth

 

Hemorrhage

-rrhagia

rapid flow of blood

 

 

-rrhaphy

surgical suturing

 

 

-rrhea (AmE)

flowing, discharge

 

Galactorrhea

-rrhexis

rupture

 

 

-rrhoea (BrE)

flowing, discharge

 

Diarrhoea

rubr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the red nucleus of the brain

Latin (ruber), red

Rubrospinal

S

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

salping(o)-

Of or pertaining to the fallopian tubes

Ancient Greek σ?ρπιγξ, σαρπιγγ-, (sálpinx, salpingo-) trumpet [literally]

Salpingectomy

sangui-, sanguine-

Of or pertaining to blood

Latin (sanguis, sanguin-), blood

Sanguine

sarco-

muscular, fleshlike

Greek

sarcoma

schist(o)-

split, cleft

Greek (schistos)

 

schiz(o)-

Denoting something 'split' or 'double-sided'

Ancient Greek; Irregular formation of the verb σχιζειν (schizein), to cut, split

Schizophrenia

scler(o)-

hardness

Greek

atherosclerosis

scoli(o)-

twisted

Greek (skolios)

scoliosis

-scope

instrument for viewing

Greek

stethoscope

-scopy

use of instrument for viewing

 

endoscopy

semi-

one-half, partly

Latin

 

sial(o)-

saliva, salivary gland

Greek (sialon)

 

sigmoid(o)-

sigmoid, sigmoid colon

Greek

 

sinistr(o)-

left, left side

Latin

 

sinus-

Of or pertaining to the sinus

Latin (sinus), a curve, bend, bay

Sinusitis

-sis

condition of

Greek

osteoperosis

sito-

food, grain

 

 

somat(o)-, somatico-

body, bodily

Greek

 

spasmo-

spasm

Greek

 

sperma-, spermo-, spermato-

semen, spermatozoa

Greek (sperma)

Spermatogenesis

splanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)-

viscera

 

 

splen(o)-

spleen

 

Splenectomy

spondyl(o)-

Of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra

Greek σπ?νδθλος / σφ?νδθλος, (spóndylos / sphóndylos), the spine

Spondylitis

squamos(o)-

Denoting something as 'full of scales' or 'scaly'

Latin (sq?m?sus), full of scales; scaly

Squama

-stasis

stop, stand

Greek

 

-staxis

dripping, trickling

Greek

 

sten(o)-

Denoting something as 'narrow in shape' or pertaining to narrow-ness

Ancient Greek στενος (stenos), narrow; short

Stenography

steth(o)-

Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest, the area above the breast and under the neck

Ancient Greek στηθος (st?thos), chest, cuirass

Stethoscope

stheno-

strength, force, power

 

 

stom(a)

mouth

Greek

stomatognathic system

stomat(o)-

Of or pertaining to the mouth

Ancient Greek στ?μα, στοματ- (stóma, stomat-), mouth

Stomatogastric

-stomy

creation of an opening

 

colostomy

sub-

beneath

Latin

subcutaneous tissue

super-

in excess, above, superior

Latin

superior vena cava

supra-

above, excessive

Latin

supraorbital vein

sy(l)-, sym-, syn-, sys-

Indicates similarity, likeness, or being together; Assimilates before some consonants: before l to syl-, s to sys-, before a labial to sym-.

Ancient Greek συν- (syn), with, together

Synalgia, Synesthesia, Syssarcosis

T

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

tachy-

Denoting something as fast, irregularly fast

Ancient Greek ταχυς (tachys), fast, quickly

Tachycardia

-tension, -tensive

blood pressure

 

Hypertension

thel(e)-, thel(o)-

Of or pertaining to a nipple [uncommon as a prefix]

Ancient Greek θηλ? (th?l?), a teat, nipple

Theleplasty

thely-

Denoting something as 'relating to a woman, feminine'

Ancient Greek θηλυς (th?lys), female, feminine

Thelygenous

therm(o)-

heat

 

 

thorac(i)-, thorac(o)-, thoracico-

Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neck

Latin (th?r?x) < Ancient Greek θ?ραξ (th?rax), chest, cuirass

Thorax

thromb(o)-

Of or relating to a blood clot, clotting of blood

Ancient Greek θρ?μβος (thrómbos), lump, piece, clot of blood

Thrombus, Thrombocytopenia

thyr(o)-

thyroid

 

 

-tic

pertaining to

 

 

toco-

childbirth

 

 

-tome

cutting instrument

 

 

-tomy

cutting operation

 

Cystotomy

tono-

tone, tension, pressure

 

 

-tony

tension

 

 

top(o)-

place, topical

 

 

tox(i)-, tox(o)-, toxico-

toxin, poison

 

Toxoplasmosis

trache(o)-

trachea

 

 

trachel(o)-

Of or pertaining to the neck

Ancient Greek τρ?χηλος (trách?los), neck

Tracheotomy

trans-

Denoting something as moving or situated 'across' or 'through'

Latin (tr?ns), across, through

Transfusion

trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)-

Of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structure

Ancient Greek τρ?ξ, τριχ(ο)- (tríx, trich(o)-), hair

Trichotomy

-tripsy

crushing

 

Lithotripsy

-trophy

tissue,

 

Muscular Dystrophy

-trophy

nourishment, development

 

 

tympan(o)-

eardrum

 

 

U

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

-ula, -ule

small

Latin

Nodule

ultra-

beyond, excessive

Latin

 

umbilic-

Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus

Latin (umbil?cus), navel, belly-button

Umbilical

ungui-

Of or pertaining to the nail, a claw

Latin (unguis), nail, claw

Unguiform, Ungual

un(i)-

one

Latin (unus)

Unilateral hearing loss

ur(o)-

Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system; (specifically) pertaining to the physiological chemistry of urine

Ancient Greek ουρον (ouron), urine

Urology

uri(c)-, urico-

uric acid

 

 

urin-

Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system

Latin (?r?na), urine < Ancient Greek ουρον (ouron), see above.

Uriniferous

uter(o)-

Of or pertaining to the uterus or womb

Latin (uterus), womb, uterus

Uterus

V

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

vagin-

Of or pertaining to the vagina

Latin (v?g?na), sheath, scabbard

Vagina

varic(o)-

swollen or twisted vein

Latin

varicose

vas(o)-

duct, blood vessel

 

vasoconstriction

vasculo-

blood vessel

 

 

ven-

Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein [used in terms pertaining to the vascular system ]

Latin (v?na), blood-vessel, vein

Vein, Venospasm

ventr(o)-

Of or pertaining to the belly; the stomach cavities

Latin (venter), the belly, the stomach; the womb

Ventrodorsal

vesic(o)-

Of or pertaining to the bladder

Latin (v?s?ca), bladder; blister

Vesica

viscer(o)-

Of or pertaining to the internal organs, the viscera

Latin (viscera), internal organs; plural of (viscerum), internal organ

Viscera

X

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

xanth(o)-

Denoting a yellow color, an abnormally yellow color

Ancient Greek ξανθ?ς (xanthós), yellow

Xanthopathy

xen(o)-

Foreign, different

Greek (Xenos), stranger

Xenograft

Y

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

-y

condition or process of

 

Surgery

Z

Prefix/suffix

Meaning

Origin language and etymology

Example(s)

zo(o)-

animal, animal life

Greek

 

zym(o)-

fermentation, enzyme

 

 


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