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Medical Terminology
medical prefixes, roots, and suffixes


Source: U.S. National Institutes of Health and U.S. National Library of Medicine

prefix, root, suffix meaning example
-ache pain headache, backache, earache, toothache
aden(o) gland, glandular tissue adenitis, adenotomy, adenoids, adenocarcinoma
aer(o) air, with air, with oxygen, in gas aerobic, aerate, aerosol, aerocele
alg- pain algometry, algogenic, algesic
-algia pain gastralgia, neuralgia, arthralgia, fibromyalgia
angi(o) blood vessel angioplasty, angioma, angiogenesis
ante- before, forward, in front of antepartum, anteflexion, anteversion
anti- against antihistamine, antiinflammatory, antipyretic
arteri(o) artery arteriopathy, arteriosclerosis, arterial
arthr(o) joint arthritis, arthrotomy, arthralgia
-ase enzyme protease, urease, amylase, lactase
audi(o) hearing audiogram, auditory, audiology
brady- slow bradycardia, bradypnea, bradyphasia
bronch(o) bronchial tube, bronchus bronchoscope, bronchospasm, bronchitis
carcin(o) cancer carcinogen, carcinoma, carcinogenic
cardi, cardia, cardio heart cardiac, cardiotonic, cardiovascular, cardiopathy
-cele hernia, protrusion, tumor cystocele, meningocele, encephalocele
-centesis surgical puncture amniocentesis, arthrocentesis, paracentesis
cephal(o) head cephalogram, cephalalgia, cephalic
cerebr(o) cerebrum, brain cerebrospinal, cerebral, cerebrovascular
cervic(o) neck, cervix cervical, cervicectomy, cervicitis
chol(e) bile, gall cholorrhea, cholecystogram, choleresis
chondr(o) cartilage chondral, chondrotomy, hypochondriac
-coccus, -cocci bacterium, bacteria, organism pneumococcus, gonococcus, streptococci
col(o) colon colitis, colonoscopy, colotomy
cortic(o) cortex corticosteroid, cortical, adrenocorticotropic
cost(o) rib costal, intercostal, costectomy
crani(o) skull, cranium craniometry, craniectomy, cranial
cyan(o) blue, blueness cyanosis, cyanobacteria, acrocyanosis
cyst(o) bladder cystoscopy, cystocele, cystitis
cyt(o) cell cytology, cytoplasm, cytosome
-cyte cell hepatocyte, leukocyte, microcyte, monocyte
dent- tooth dental, dentist, dentistry
derm(o), dermat(o) skin dermis, dermatologist, dermatitis, acrodermatitis
dipl(o) double, twofold diplopia, diplocardia, diploic, diplegia
dors(o) back dorsal, dorsispinal, dorsolateral
dys- difficult, abnormal, bad, painful dysfunction, dysplasia, dyspnea, dyschromia
-ectomy excision, removal, to cut out appendectomy, thrombectomy, gastrectomy
-emia blood condition anemia, septicemia, leukemia, uremia
encephal(o) brain, inside the head encephalitis, electroencephalogram
end(o)- inside, internal, within endaural, endocrine, endoskeleton
enter(o) intestine enteric, dysentery, enterocele
epi- outer, upon epidermis, epibulbar, epidural
erythr(o) red erythrocyte, erythrosis, erythrocytopenia
eu- normal, well, good euphoria, eupnea, eupepsia
extra- outside, beyond extrauterine, extracystic, extrahepatic
gastr(o) stomach gastrostomy, gastrointestinal, gastritis
-genic producing, originating, forming pyogenic, carcinogenic, nephrogenic
ger(o) old age geriatric, gerontology, geratology, geroderma
gingiv(o) gum, gums gingivitis, gingivoplasty, gingivostomatitis
gloss(o) tongue glossitis, glossal, hypoglossal, glossopathy
gluc(o) sugar glucose, glucagon, glucosuria
glyc(o) sugar, sweet hyperglycemia, glycosuria, glycogen
-gram picture, graph, record encephalogram, cardiogram, cholecystogram
-graph recording instrument polygraph, cardiograph, craniograph
hemo-, hema- blood hemorrhage, hemoglobin, hemostasis, hemal
hemat(o) blood hematoma, hematemesis, hematogenous
hemi- half hemiplegia, hemianalgesia, hemicrania
hepat(o) liver hepatitis, hepatotoxic, hepatomegaly
hidr(o) sweat, sweat glands hidradenoma, hidrosis, hidradenitis
hist(o) tissue histogenesis, histamine, histology
homo- same, alike, similar homologous, homosexual, homogeneous
hydr water hydration, dehydration, hydremia
hydro- water, fluid, liquid hydrocephalus, hydronephrosis, hydrotherapy
hyper- excessive, high, above, upward hypertension, hyperglycemia, hypertonic
hypo- deficient, low, below, down, under hypoallergenic, hypocalcemia, hypodermic
hyster(o) uterus, womb hysterotomy, hysteroscopy, hysterectomy
-iasis condition of disease trichomoniasis, giardiasis, amebiasis
immun(o) immune immunodeficiency, immunization, immunity
infra- below, beneath inframammary, infracardiac, infrasonic, infrarenal
inter- between, among intercostal, intercellular, intercerebral
intra- within, inside intravenous, intramuscular, intrarenal, intradermal
iso- equal, same isotonic, isometric, isomorphic
-itis inflammation arthritis, colitis, rhinitis, bronchitis, laryngitis
kerat(o) cornea keratitis, keratotomy, keratoplasty, keratocele
lact(o) milk lactose, lactase, lactosuria, lactic
laryng(o) larynx, voice box laryngitis, laryngospasm, laryngoscope
leuk(o) white leukemia, leukopenia, leukorrhea, leukocyte
lingu tongue sublingual, linguiform, lingual
lip(o) fat lipid, lipoprotein, liposuction, lipoma
lith(o) stone, calculus nephrolithiasis, lithotripsy, urolith
-logist one who studies or specializes cardiologist, anesthesiologist, urologist
-logy the study of biology, gynecology, dermatology
-lysis breakdown, destruction, dissolution neurolysis, urinalysis, histolysis, thrombolysis
macro- large macrocyte, macromania, macromolecule
mal- bad, abnormal, inadequate malnutrition, malpractice, malformed
-malacia soft, softening, softness encephalomalacia, osteomalacia, chondromalacia
mamm- breast, mammary gland mammogram, mammography, mammaplasty
megalo- large, enlarged, grandiose megalomania, megalocephaly, megalocyte
-megaly enlargement cardiomegaly, acromegaly, hepatomegaly
melan(o) dark pigmented, black melanoma, melanoderma, melanogenesis
men(o) menstruation, menses menopause, dysmenorrhea, menorrhagia
mening(o) meninges meningitis, meningococcus, meningeal
-metry process of measuring or counting audiometry, pelvimetry, biometry, fetometry
micro- small microscope, microgram, microorganism
my(o) muscle myocardial, myalgia, myofibroma, fibromyalgia
myc(o) fungus, fungi mycosis, mycelium, mycology, dermatomycosis
myel(o) bone marrow, spinal cord myelopathy, myelocyte, myeloma
nas(o) nose nasal, nasosinusitis, nasogastric
-natal birth, infant prenatal, intranatal, neonatal, postnatal, perinatal
nephr(o) kidney nephrectomy, nephropexy, nephrolysis
neur(o) nerve neurology, neurosurgery, neurotransmitter
non- not nonsteroidal, nonallergic, nontoxic
odont tooth odontitis, odontology, orthodontist
-oma tumor, abnormal growth carcinoma, osteosarcoma, adenoma
onco- tumor oncology, oncogenic, oncogene, oncolysis
onych- nail of the finger or toe onychectomy, onychauxis, onychodystrophy
ophthalm(o) vision, eye ophthalmology, ophthalmoscope, ophthalmia
-opia vision, eye myopia, presbyopia, nyctalopia, diplopia
opt- vision, eye optician, optical, optometry, optokinetic
orchi testes, testis cryptorchidism, orchiectomy, orchidopexy
-osis condition, increase, disorder halitosis, leukocytosis, neurosis, acidosis
oste(o) bone osteoporosis, osteoarthritis, osteoclast
ot(o) ear otic, otitis, otalgia, otorrhea, otoplasty, otoscope
-pathy disease, anomaly neuropathy, myopathy, osteopathy
pelv(i), pelv(o) pelvis pelvimetry, pelvic
-penia deficiency, low number eosinopenia, thrombocytopenia, erythropenia
-pepsia digestion dyspepsia, eupepsia
peri- near, around, surrounding pericardium, periodontal, perineurium
-pexy fixation hysteropexy, orchiopexy, gastropexy
phag(o) eat, swallow, consume phagolysis, phagedena, phagocyte
pharyng(o) pharynx pharyngitis, pharyngeal, pharyngoesophageal
phleb(o) vein phlebitis, phlebotomy, phlebosclerosis
-phobia fear of hydrophobia, acrophobia, necrophobia
physi(o) body function, bodily process physiology, physiopathology, physique
-plasia development, formation neoplasia, myelodysplasia, hyperplasia
-plasty surgical repair or restoration arthroplasty, osteoplasty, rhinoplasty
-plegia paralysis paraplegia, diplegia, hemiplegia, monoplegia
-pnea breathing, breath apnea, hyperpnea, orthopnea
pneum(o) air, lung pneumonia, pneumothorax, pneumonocentesis
pod(o) foot podiatrist, podiatric, podalic, podagra
poly- much, many, several, excessive polyuria, polycystic, polyarthritis, polymorphism
post- after postnatal, postcoronary, postoperative
pre- before, in front of, earlier than prenatal, preoperative, premature, preanal
presby(o) old age presbyopia, presbycusis, presbyophrenia
proct(o) anus, rectum proctitis, proctoscopy, proctology
psych(o) mind, mental psychology, psychotropic, psychiatry
-ptosis prolapse, sagging, sagged blepharoptosis, nephroptosis, proptosis
pulmon- lung pulmonary, pulmonology, pulmonectomy
py(o) pus pyorrhea, pyogenic, pyemia, empyema
pyel(o) pelvis of kidney, renal pelvis pyelonephritis, pyelitis, pyeloplasty
pyr-, pyro- fever, heat pyrogen, pyrolysis, pyrogenic
radi(o) x-ray, radiation radiology, radiograph, radioactive, radiotherapy
ren(o) kidney renogram, renal, renoprival
retro- behind, backward, in back of retroocular, retrocolic, retroflexion, retrolental
rhin(o) nose rhinorrhea, rhinitis, rhinoplasty
-rrhagia excessive discharge or flow enterorrhagia, metrorrhagia, menorrhagia
-rrhea excessive discharge or flow gonorrhea, diarrhea, leukorrhea
salping(o) fallopian tube salpingitis, salpingostomy, salpingectomy
scler(o) hard, hardening atherosclerosis, myelosclerosis, arteriosclerosis
-scope instrument used to exam or look microscope, arthroscope, otoscope, anoscope
-scopy examining, viewing arthroscopy, endoscopy, colposcopy, anoscopy
-spasm involuntary contraction angiospasm, vasospasm, bronchospasm
spondyl(o) spine, vertebra, vertebrae spondylosis, spondylopathy, spondylolysis
-stomy surgical opening enterostomy, colostomy, gastrostomy
sub- under, beneath, below sublingual, subcutaneous, subcostal
tachy- fast, rapid tachypnea, tachycardia, tachyarrhythmia
thorac(o) chest, thorax thoracotomy, thoracodorsal, thoracoscopy
thromb(o) blood clot thrombosis, thrombogenic, thrombus
thyr(o) thyroid thyroxine, hypothyroidism, hyperthyroidism
-tomy incision, incise, to cut into gastrotomy, duodenotomy, laparotomy
toxi- poison toxic, toxicology, toxicity
trache- trachea, windpipe tracheitis, tracheoscopy, tracheostomy
trans- across, over, through, transfer transdermal, transfusion, transthoracic, transurethral
-trophy growth, development hypertrophy, hypotrophy, dystrophy
urethr(o) urethra urethritis, urethrotomy, urethroscope
-uria urine pyuria, nocturia, polyuria, albuminuria
vas(o) blood vessel, vas deferens vascular, vasospasm, vasectomy, vasodilator
ven(o) vein venipuncture, venous, venopressor, intravenous
prefix, root, suffix meaning example





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