Medical terminology


Prefix/suffix Meaning Example(s)
a-, an- Denotes an absence of Apathy
ab- away from Abduction
abdomin(o)- Of or relating to the Abdomen Abdomen
-ac pertaining to cardiac
acanth(o)- thorn or spine acanthocyte
acous(o)- Of or relating to hearing
acr(o)- extremity, topmost Acromegaly
-acusis hearing
-ad toward, in the direction of dorsad
ad- increase, adherence, motion toward, very Adduction
aden(o)-, aden(i)- Of or relating to a gland Adenology
adip(o)- Of or relating to fat or fatty tissue Adipocyte
adren(o)- Of or relating to adrenal glands adrenal artery
-aemia (BrE) blood condition Anaemia
aer(o)- air, gas Aerosinusitis
aesthesio- (BrE) sensation
-al pertaining to abdominal
alb- Denoting a white or pale color Albino
alge(si)- pain Analgesic
-algia pain Myalgia
alg(i)o- pain Myalgia
allo- Denoting something as different, or as an addition Alloantigen, allopathy
ambi- Denoting something as positioned on both sides; Describing both of two Ambidextrous
amnio- Pertaining to the membraneous fetal sac (amnion) Amniocentesis
an- not, without Analgesia
an(o) anus
andr(o)- pertaining to a man Andrology, android
angi(o)- blood vessel Angiogram
aniso- Describing something as unequal Anisotropic
ankyl(o)-, ancyl(o)- Denoting something as crooked or bent Ankylosis
ante- Describing something as positioned in front of another thing antepartum
anti- Describing something as 'against' or 'opposed to' another Antibody, antipsychotic
apo- separated from, derived from Apoptosis
arteri(o)- Of or pertaining to an artery Artery, Arteriology
arthr(o)- Of or pertaining to the joints, limbs Arthritis
articul(o)- joint Articulation
-ary pertaining to bilary tract
-ase enzyme Lactase
-asthenia weakness Myasthenia gravis
-ation process
aur(i)- Of or pertaining to the ear Aural
aut(o)- self, same Autoimmune
axill- Of or pertaining to the armpit [uncommon as a prefix] Axilla
balano- Of the glans penis or glans clitoridis Balanitis
bi- twice, double
bio- life Biology
blast(o)- germ or bud Blastomere
blephar(o)- Of or pertaining to the eyelid Blepharoplast
brachi(o)- Of or relating to the arm Brachium
brachy- Indicating something as 'short' or less commonly 'little' brachycephalic
brady- Indicating something as 'slow' Bradycardia
bronch(i)- bronchus Bronchiolitis obliterans
bucc(o)- Of or pertaining to the cheek Buccolabial
burs(o)- bursa Bursitis
capill- Of or pertaining to hair Capillus
capit- Pertaining to the head (as a whole) Capitation
carcin(o)- cancer Carcinoma
cardi(o)- Of or pertaining to the heart Cardiology
carp(o)- Of or pertaining to the wrist. Carpopedal
cata- down Cataract
-cele pouching, hernia Hydrocele
-centesis surgical puncture for aspiration Amniocentesis
cephal(o)- Of or pertaining to the head (as a whole) Cephalalgy
cerat(o)- Of or pertaining to the cornu; a horn Ceratoid
cerebell(o)- Of or pertaining to the cerebellum Cerebellum
cerebr(o)- Of or pertaining to the brain Cerebrology
cervic- Of or pertaining to the neck, the cervix Cervicodorsal
chem(o)- chemistry, drug Chemotherapy
chir(o)-, cheir(o)- Of or pertaining to the hand Chiropractor
chlor(o)- Denoting a green color Chlorophyll
chol(e)- Of or pertaining to bile Cholaemia
cholecyst(o)- Of or pertaining to the gallbladder Cholecystectomy
chondr(i)o- cartilage, gristle, granule, granular Chondrocalcinosis
chrom(ato)- color Hemachromatosis
-cidal, -cide killing, destroying
cili- Of or pertaining to the cilia, the eyelashes; eyelids Ciliary
circum- Denoting something as 'around' another Circumcision
cis- on this side
clast break
co- with, together, in association
col-, colo-, colono- colon Colonoscopy
colp(o)- Of or pertaining to the vagina Colposcopy
com- with, together
contra against Contraindicate
cor- with, together
cor-, core-, coro- Of or pertaining to eye's pupil Corectomy
cordi- Of or pertaining to the heart [Uncommon as a prefix] Commotio cordis
cornu- Applied to processes and parts of the body describing them likened or similar to horns
cost(o)- Of or pertaining to the ribs Costochondral
cox- Of or relating to the hip, haunch, or hip-joint Coxopodite
crani(o)- Belonging or relating to the cranium Craniology
-crine to secrete Endocrine
cry(o)- cold Cryoablation
cutane- skin Subcutaneous
cyan(o)- Denotes a blue color Cyanopsia
cycl- circle, cycle
cyph(o)- Denotes something as bent [uncommon as a prefix] Cyphosis
cyst(o)-, cyst(i)- Of or pertaining to the urinary bladder Cystotomy
cyt(o)- cell Cytokine
-cyte cell Leukocyte
dacrio- tear
dactyl(o)- Of or pertaining to a finger, toe Dactylology
de- away from, cessation
dent- Of or pertaining to teeth Dentist
dermat(o)-, derm(o)- Of or pertaining to the skin Dermatology
-desis binding arthrodesis
dextr(o)- right, on the right side Dextrocardia
di- two
di- apart, separation
dia- (same as Greek meaning) Diacetyl
dif- apart, separation
digit- Of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root] Digit
dis- separation, taking apart Dissection
dors(o)-, dors(i)- Of or pertaining to the back Dorsal, Dorsocephalad
duodeno- duodenum - upper part of the small intestine, connects to the stomach Duodenal atresia
dynam(o)- force, energy, power
-dynia pain
dys- bad, difficult Dysphagia, dysphasia
dacrio- tear
dactyl(o)- Of or pertaining to a finger, toe Dactylology
de- away from, cessation
dent- Of or pertaining to teeth Dentist
dermat(o)-, derm(o)- Of or pertaining to the skin Dermatology
-desis binding arthrodesis
dextr(o)- right, on the right side Dextrocardia
di- two
di- apart, separation
dia- (same as Greek meaning) Diacetyl
dif- apart, separation
digit- Of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root] Digit
dis- separation, taking apart Dissection
dors(o)-, dors(i)- Of or pertaining to the back Dorsal, Dorsocephalad
duodeno- duodenum - upper part of the small intestine, connects to the stomach Duodenal atresia
dynam(o)- force, energy, power
-dynia pain
dys- bad, difficult Dysphagia, dysphasia
-eal pertaining to
ec- out, away
ect(o)- outer, outside Ectopic pregnancy
-ectasis expansion, dilation Bronchiectasis
-ectomy Denotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part Mastectomy
-emesis vomiting condition Hematemesis
-emia blood condition (AmE) Anemia
encephal(o)- Of or pertaining to the brain Encephalogram
endo- Denotes something as 'inside' or 'within' Endocrinology, Endospore
enter(o)- Of or pertaining to the intestine Gastroenterology
epi- [Same as Greek meaning: on, upon] Epistaxis, epicardium, episclera, epidural
episi(o)- Of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loins Episiotomy
erythr(o)- Denotes a red color Erythrocyte
-esophageal, -esophago gullet (AmE)
esthesio- sensation (AmE)
eu- good, well Eukaryote
ex- out of, away from
exo- Denotes something as 'outside' another Exoskeleton
extra- outside
faci(o)- Of or pertaining to the face Facioplegic
fibr(o) fiber Fibroblast
filli- fine, hair like
-form, -iform Used to form adjectives indicating 'having the form of' Cuneiform
front- Of or pertaining to the forehead Frontonasal
galact(o)- milk Galactorrhea
gastr(o)- Of or pertaining to the stomach Gastric bypass
-gen (1) Denotes the sense 'born in, from' (2) Denotes the sense 'of a certain kind' (1) Endogen; (2) Heterogenous
-genic Formation Cardiogenic shock
genu- Of or pertaining to the knee Genu valgum
gingiv- Of or pertaining to the gums Gingivitis
glauc(o)- Denoting a grey, bluish-grey color Glaucoma
gloss(o)-, glott(o)- Of or pertaining to the tongue Glossology
gluco- glucose Glucocorticoid
glyco- sugar Glycolysis
gnath(o)- Of or pertaining to the jaw Gnathodynamometer
gon(o)- seed, semen; also, reproductive Gonorrhea
-gram record or picture Angiogram
-graph record or picture Electrocardiograph
-graphy process of recording Angiography
gyn(aec)o- (BrE), gyn(ec)o- (AmE) woman Gynecomastia
halluc- to wander in mind Hallucinosis
hemat-, haemato- (haem-, hem-) Of or pertaining to blood Hematology, older form Haematology
hema or hemo- blood (AmE) Hematological malignancy
hemi- one-half Cerebral hemisphere
hepat- (hepatic-) Of or pertaining to the liver Hepatology
heter(o)- Denotes something as 'the other' (of two), as an addition, or different Heterogeneous
hidr(o)- sweat Hyperhidrosis
hist(o)-, histio- tissue Histology
home(o)- similar Homeopathy
hom(o)- Denotes something as 'the same' as another or common Homosexuality
humer(o)- Of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm) Humerus
hydr(o)- water Hydrophobe
hyper- Denotes something as 'extreme' or 'beyond normal' Hypertension
hyp(o)- Denotes something as 'below normal' Hypovolemia,
hyster(o)- Of or pertaining to the womb, the uterus Hysterectomy
-ia(sis) condition Mydriasis
iatr(o)- Of or pertaining to medicine, or a physician [uncommon as a prefix; common as as suffix, see -iatry] Iatrochemistry
-iatry Denotes a field in medicine of a certain body component Podiatry, Psychiatry
-ic pertaining to Hepatic artery
-icle small Ovarian follicle
-ics organized knowledge, treatment
idio- self, one's own Idiopathic
ileo- ileum Ileocecal valve
infra- below Infrahyoid muscles
inter- between, among Interarticular ligament
intra- within Intracranial hemorrhage
irid(o)- iris Iridectomy
ischio- Of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-joint Ischiorrhogic
-ism condition, disease Dwarfism
-ismus spasm, contraction
iso- Denoting something as being 'equal' Isotonic
-ist one who specializes in Pathologist
-ite the nature of, resembling Hermaphrodite
-itis inflammation Tonsillitis
-ium structure, tissue pericardium
karyo- nucleus Eukaryote
kerat(o)- cornea (eye or skin) Keratoscope
kin(e)-, kin(o), kinesi(o)- movement Kinesthesia
koil(o)- hollow Koilocyte
kyph(o)- humped Kyphoscoliosis
labi(o)- Of or pertaining to the lip Labiodental
lacrim(o)- tear Lacrimal canaliculi
lact(i)-, lact(o) milk Lactation
lapar(o)- Of or pertaining to the abdomen-wall, flank Laparotomy
laryng(o)- Of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box is Larynx
latero- lateral Lateral pectoral nerve
lei(o)- smooth Leiomyoma
-lepsis, -lepsy attack, seizure Epilepsy, narcolepsy
lept(o)- light, slender
leuc(o)-, leuk(o)- Denoting a white color Leukocyte
lingu(a)-, lingu(o)- Of or pertaining to the tongue Linguistics
lip(o)- fat Liposuction
lith(o)- stone, calculus Lithotripsy
log(o)- speech
-logist Denotes someone who studies a certain field: _____-logy Oncologist, pathologist
-logy Denotes the academic study or practice of a certain field hematology, urology
lymph(o)- lymph Lymphedema
lys(o)-, -lytic dissolution Lysosome
-lysis Destruction Paralysis
macr(o)- large, long Macrophage
-malacia softening Osteomalacia
mamm(o)- Of or pertaining to the breast Mammogram
mammill(o)- Of or pertaining to the nipple
manu- Of or pertaining to the hand Manufacture
mast(o)- Of or pertaining to the breast Mastectomy
meg(a)-, megal(o)-, megaly enlargement Splenomegaly
melan(o)- Denoting a black color Melanin
mening(o)- membrane Meningitis
mes(o)- middle Mesoderm
meta- after, behind Metacarpus
-meter measurement Sphygmomanometer
-metry process of measuring Optometry
metr(o)- Pertaining to conditions or instruments of the uterus Metrorrhagia
micro- denoting something as small, or relating to smallness Microscope
mon(o)- single Infectious mononucleosis
morph(o)- form, shape Morphology
muscul(o)- muscle Musculoskeletal system
my(o)- Of or relating to muscle Myoblast
myc(o)- fungus Onychomycosis
myel(o)- Of or relating to bone marrow Myeloblast
myring(o)- eardrum Myringotomy
myx(o)- mucus Myxoma
narc(o)- numb, sleep narcolepsy
nas(o)- Of or pertaining to the nose nasal
necr(o)- death Necrotizing fasciitis
neo- new Neoplasm
nephr(o)- Of or pertaining to the kidney Nephrology
nerv- Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system [Uncommon as a root: neuro- mostly always used] Nerve
neur(i)-, neur(o)- Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system Neurofibromatosis
normo- normal Normocapnia
ocul(o)- Of or pertaining to the eye Oculist
odont(o)- Of or pertaining to teeth 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' Oligotrophy
om(o)- Of or pertaining to the shoulder Omoplate
-oma (singular), -omata (plural) tumor Sarcoma, Teratoma
omphal(o)- Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Omphalotomy
onco- tumor, bulk, volume Oncology
onych(o)- Of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe) Onychophagy
oo- Of or pertaining to the an egg, a woman's egg, the ovum Oogenesis
oophor(o)- Of or pertaining to the woman's ovary Oophorectomy
ophthalm(o)- Of or pertaining to the eye Ophthalmology
optic(o)- Of or relating to chemical properties of the eye Opticochemical
or(o)- Of or pertaining to the mouth Oral
orchi(o)-, orchido- testis Orchiectomy, Orchidectomy
orth(o)- Denoting something as straight or correct 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 Otopathy
-ous pertaining to
ovari(o)- Of or pertaining to the ovaries Ovariectomy
ovo-, ovi-, ov- Of or pertaining to the eggs, the ovum Ovogenesis
oxo- addition of oxygen
oxy- sharp, acid, acute, oxygen
pachy- thick pachyderma
palpebr- Of or pertaining to the eyelid [uncommon as a root] Palpebra
pan-, pant(o)- Denoting something as 'complete' or containing 'everything' panophobia, panopticon
papill- Of or pertaining to the nipple (of the chest/breast) Papillitis
papul(o)- Indicates papulosity, a small elevation or swelling in the skin, a pimple, swelling Papulation
para- alongside of, abnormal
-paresis slight paralysis hemiparesis
path(o)- disease Pathology
-pathy Denotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorder sociopathy, neuropathy
ped-, -ped-, -pes Of or pertaining to the foot; -footed Pedoscope
pelv(i)-, pelv(o)- hip bone Pelvis
-penia deficiency osteopenia
peo- Of or pertaining to the penis Peotomy
-pepsia Denotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract. Dyspepsia
per- through
peri- Denoting something with a position 'surrounding' or 'around' another Periodontal
-pexy fixation Nephropexy
phaco- lens-shaped
-phage, -phagia Forms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestion Sarcophagia
phago- eating, devouring phagocyte
-phagist: Forms nouns that denote a person who 'feeds on' the first element or part of the word Lotophagis
-phagy Forms nouns that denotes 'feeding on' the first element or part of the word Anthropophagy
phallo- phallus Aphallia
pharmaco- drug, medication pharmacology
pharyng(o)- Of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavity Pharyngitis, Pharyngoscopy
-phil(ia) attraction for Hemophilia
phleb(o)- Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a 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. Phosphene
phot(o)- Of or pertaining to 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 Pleurogenous
-plexy stroke or seizure Cataplexy
pneum(o)- Of or pertaining to the lungs Pneumonocyte, Pneumonia
pneumat(o)- air, lung
pod-, -pod-, -pus Of or pertaining to the foot, -footed Podiatry
-poiesis production hematopoiesis
polio- Denoting a grey color Poliomyelitis
poly- Denotes a 'plurality' of something Polymyositis
por(o)- pore, porous
porphyr(o)- Denotes a purple color Porphyroblast
post- Denotes something as 'after' or 'behind' another Postoperation, Postmortem
pre- Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) Prematurity
presby(o)- old age Presbyopia
prim- Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important' Primary
pro- Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) Procephalic
proct(o)- anus, rectum proctology
prot(o)- Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important' Protoneuron
psych(e)-, psych(o) Of or pertaining to the mind 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. pulmonary
pyel(o)- pelvis Pyelonephritis
pyo- pus Pyometra
pyro- fever Antipyretic
quadr(i)- four quadriceps
rachi(o)- spine
radio- radiation,
re- again, backward
rect(o)- rectum
ren(o)- Of or pertaining to the kidney Renal
reticul(o)- net
retro- backward, behind retroverted
rhabd(o)- rod shaped, striated
rhin(o)- Of or pertaining to the nose Rhinoceros
rhod(o)- Denoting a rose-red color 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 Rubrospinal
salping(o)- Of or pertaining to the fallopian tubes Salpingectomy
sangui-, sanguine- Of or pertaining to blood Sanguine
sarco- muscular, fleshlike sarcoma
schist(o)- split, cleft
schiz(o)- Denoting something 'split' or 'double-sided' Schizophrenia
scler(o)- hardness artherosclerosis
scoli(o)- twisted scoliosis
-scope instrument for viewing stethoscope
-scopy use of instrument for viewing endoscopy
semi- one-half, partly
sial(o)- saliva, salivary gland
sigmoid(o)- sigmoid, sigmoid colon
sinistr(o)- left, left side
sinus- Of or pertaining to the sinus Sinusitis
-sis condition of osteoperosis
sito- food, grain
somat(o)-, somatico- body, bodily
spasmo- spasm
sperma-, spermo-, spermato- semen, spermatozoa
splanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)- viscera
splen(o)- spleen Splenectomy
spondyl(o)- Of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra Spondylitis
squamos(o)- Denoting something as 'full of scales' or 'scaly' Squama
-stasis stop, stand
-staxis dripping, trickling
sten(o)- Denoting something as 'narrow in shape' or pertaining to narrow-ness Stenography
steth(o)- Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest, the area above the breast and under the neck Stethoscope
stheno- strength, force, power
stom(a) mouth stomatognathic system
stomat(o)- Of or pertaining to the mouth Stomatogastric
-stomy creation of an opening colostomy
sub- beneath subcutaneous tissue
super- in excess, above, superior superior vena cava
supra- above, excessive 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-. Synalgia, Synesthesia, Syssarcosis
tachy- Denoting something as fast, irregularly fast Tachycardia
-tension, -tensive blood pressure Hypertension
thel(e)-, thel(o)- Of or pertaining to a nipple [uncommon as a prefix] Theleplasty
thely- Denoting something as 'relating to a woman, 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 Thorax
thromb(o)- Of or relating to a blood clot, clotting 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 Tracheotomy
trans- Denoting something as moving or situated 'across' or 'through' Transfusion
trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)- Of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structure Trichotomy
-tripsy crushing Lithotripsy
-trophy tissue, Muscular Dystrophy
-trophy nourishment, development
tympan(o)- eardrum
-ula, -ule small Nodule
ultra- beyond, excessive
umbilic- Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Umbilical
ungui- Of or pertaining to the nail, a claw Unguiform, Ungual
un(i)- one Unilateral hearing loss
ur(o)- Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system; (specifically) pertaining to the physiological chemistry of urine Urology
uri(c)-, urico- uric acid
urin- Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system Uriniferous
uter(o)- Of or pertaining to the uterus or womb Uterus
vagin- Of or pertaining to the vagina Vagina
varic(o)- swollen or twisted vein 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 ] Vein, Venospasm
ventr(o)- Of or pertaining to the belly; the stomach cavities Ventrodorsal
vesic(o)- Of or pertaining to the bladder Vesica
viscer(o)- Of or pertaining to the internal organs, the viscera Viscera
xanth(o)- Denoting a yellow color, an abnormally yellow color Xanthopathy
zo(o)- animal, animal life
zym(o)- fermentation, enzyme

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