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Medical terms are comprised of prefixes, suffixes, combining vowels, and roots. To understand any medical term you have to be able to understand the meaning of each part.

Meaning Word part(s)

  • abdomen abdomin/o, lapar/o
  • abnormal dys-
  • abnormal condition -osis
  • above epi-, hyper-
  • across trans-
  • adrenal gland adren/o
  • after post-
  • against anti-
  • air pneum/o
  • air sac alveol/o
  • along the side of para-
  • alveolus alveoli/o
  • amnion amni/o
  • anus an/o
  • anus and rectum proct/o
  • apart ana-
  • appendix append/o, appendic/o
  • armpit axill/o
  • artery arteri/o
  • attraction to -philia
  • away from ab-
  • backbone spin/o, spondyl/o, vertebr/o
  • bacteria (berry-shaped) -coccus
  • bad dys-, mal-
  • before ante-, pre-, pro-, pros-
  • behind post-, re-, retro-
  • below hypo-, sub-
  • beside para-
  • between inter-
  • beyond meta-, ultra-
  • birth nat/I, -partum
  • bladder (urinary) cyst/o, vesic/o
  • blood hem/o, hemat/o
  • blood condition -emia
  • blood vessel angi/o, vas/o, vascul/o
  • body -somatic
  • bone oste/o
  • bone marrow myel/o
  • brain encephal/o
  • breakdown -lysis, lys/o
  • breast mamm/o, mast/o
  • breast bone stern/o
  • breathing -pnea
  • bronchial tube bronch/o
  • bronchiole bronchiol/o
  • bursting forth of blood -rrhage, -rrhagia
  • calcaneus calcancane/o
  • cancer/cancerous carcin/o
  • capillary capillar/o
  • care for (to) comi/o
  • carpals carp/o
  • cartilage chondr/o
  • cell -cyte, cyt/o
  • cerebellum cerebell/o
  • cerebrum cerebr/o
  • change meta-
  • chemical chem./o
  • chest thora/o
  • child ped/o
  • clavicle/collarbone clavicul/o
  • clot thromb/o
  • cold cry/o
  • colon col/o, colon/o
  • common bile duct choledoch/o
  • complete dia-
  • condition -ation, -ia, -osis, -y
  • constriction -spasm
  • control -stasis, -stat
  • cut -cision, cis/o, -secton, -tomy
  • death -mortem, necr/o
  • deficient hypo-
  • destroy lys/o, -lysis
  • development troph/o, -trophy
  • diaphragm phren/o
  • difficult dys-
  • discharge -rrhea
  • disease path/o, -pathy, nos/o
  • drug chem./o
  • dura matter dur/o
  • dust coni/o
  • dust condition -coniosis
  • ear ot/o
  • eardrum miring/o, tympan/o
  • electricity electr/o
  • endocrine gland endocrin/o
  • endometrium endometr/o
  • enlargement -megaly
  • epiglottis epiglott/o
  • esophagus esophag/o
  • eustachian tube salping/o
  • excessive hyper-
  • eye ocul/o, ophtalm/o, opt/o
  • fallopian tube salping/o, -salpinx
  • fast tachy-
  • female gynec/o
  • femur femor/o
  • fibula fibul/o, perone/o
  • fixation (surgical) -pexy
  • flesh sarc/o
  • flow -rrhea
  • fluid rheumat/o
  • foot bones metatars/o
  • formation plas/o, -plasm, -poisesis, -genesis
  • forward ante-, pro-, pros-
  • gallbladder cholecyst/o
  • gland aden/o
  • groin inguin/o
  • growth plas/o, -plasm
  • hand bones metacarp/o
  • hardening -sclerosis
  • head cephal/o
  • heart cardi/o, caron/o
  • heel bone calcane/o
  • hernia -cele
  • hip bone pelv/o
  • hold back ish/o
  • humerus humer/o
  • ileum ile/o
  • ilium ili/o
  • in, into in-, en-
  • incision -tomy, -section
  • infection sept/o, septic/o
  • inflammation -itis
  • inner endo-
  • instrument to record -graph
  • instrument to view -scope
  • intestines (small) enter/o
  • joint arthr/o
  • kidney nephr/o, ren/o
  • kidney (central section) pyel/o
  • knowledge gnos/o
  • larynx laryng/o
  • life bi/o
  • liver hepat/o
  • loin lumb/o
  • lung pneum/o, pneumon/o, pulmon/o
  • lymph lymph/o
  • lymph node lymphaden/o
  • lymph vessel lymphangi/o
  • mass -oma
  • measure metr/o, -meter, -metry
  • mediastinum mediastin/o
  • medulla oblongata medull/o
  • meninges mening/o
  • menstration men/o
  • metacarpals metacarp/o
  • metatarsals mtatars/o
  • midwife obstetr/o
  • mind psych/o
  • mouth or/o, stomat/o
  • movement -motor
  • muscle muscul/o, myos/o, my/o
  • near para-
  • neck cervic/o
  • nerve neur/o
  • new neo-
  • nipple theli/o
  • no, not a-, an-
  • nose nos/o, rhin/o
  • nourishment troph/o, -trophy
  • old age ger/o
  • one uni-
  • opening -stomy
  • out, outside ec-, ecto-, ex-, extra-
  • ovary oophor/o, ovari/o
  • pain -algia
  • painful dys-
  • pancreas pancreat/o
  • paralysis -plegia
  • pelvis pelv/o
  • pelvis (renal) pyel/o
  • penis balan/o
  • peritoneum peritone/o
  • pertaining to -ac, -al, -an, -ar, -ary, -eal, -ic, -ine, -ior, -ous, -tic
  • phalanges phalang/o
  • pharynx pharyng/o
  • pituitary gland hypophys/o
  • place top/o, -stasis
  • pleura pleur/o
  • pressure -tension
  • process -ation, -ism, -y
  • process of cutting -cision, -tomy, -section
  • process of recording -graphy
  • process of viewing -opsy, -scopy
  • produce -gen, gen/o
  • produced by -genic
  • producing -genic, -genesis
  • prolapse -ptosis
  • prostate gland prosts/o
  • puncture to remove fluid -entesis
  • put, place top/o, -thesis
  • radius (lower arm bone) radi/o
  • record -gram
  • recording -graphy
  • rectum rect/o
  • red erythr/o
  • repair -plasty
  • retina retin/o
  • rib cost/o
  • sacrum sacr/o
  • sagging -ptosis
  • scapula scapul/o
  • scrotum scrot/o
  • secrete, secretion -crine, crin/o
  • sensation esthesi/o
  • separation -crit, -lusis
  • shin bone tibi/o
  • shoulder bone scapula/o
  • side later/o
  • skin cutane/o, derm/o, epitheli/o
  • skull crani/o
  • slip (to) -listhesis
  • slow brady-
  • small artery arteri/o
  • small intestine enter/o
  • sound son/o
  • specialist -ist
  • spinal cord myel/o
  • spine spin/o
  • spitting -ptysis
  • speen spleen/o
  • stand -stasis
  • sternum stern/o
  • stomach gastr/o
  • stone lith/o, -lith
  • stop -stasis, -stat
  • straight orth/o
  • structure -um
  • study of -logy
  • sugar glyc/o
  • surgical puncture to remove fluid -centesis
  • surgical repair -plasty
  • surrounding prei-
  • swelling -oma
  • tailbone coccyg/o
  • testicle, testis orch/o, orchi/o, orchid/o
  • thigh bone femor/o
  • throat pharyng/o
  • three tri-
  • through dia-, per-, trans-
  • thymus gland thym/o
  • thyroid gland thyr/o, thyroid/o
  • tibia tibi/o
  • time chron/o
  • together con-, syn-
  • tonsil tonsil/o
  • trachea trache/o
  • treatment iatr/o, -therapy
  • tumor onc/o, -oma
  • two bi-
  • under hypo-, sub-
  • up ana-
  • upon epi-
  • ureter ureter/o
  • urethra urethr/o
  • urinary bladder cyst/o, vesic/o
  • urinary tract, urine ur/o
  • urine condition -uria
  • uterine tube salping/o
  • uterus hyster/o, metr/o, uter/o
  • uturus (inner lining) endometr/o, endometri/o
  • vagina colp/o, vagin/o
  • vas deferens vas/o
  • vein phelp/o, ven/o
  • vertebra spin/o, spondyl/o, vertebr/o
  • vessel angi/o, vas/o, vascul/o
  • view -opsy
  • visual examination -scopy
  • voice box laryng/o
  • waist region lumb/o
  • white leuk/o
  • windpipe trache/o
  • with con-, syn-
  • within en-, endo-, intra-
  • woman gynec/o
  • wrist bones carp/o
  • x-ray radi/o
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