Medical Terminology – Word Parts (Prefix, Root, or Suffix)

  • General Words
  • Body Parts and Disorders
  • Positions and Directions
  • Numbers and Amounts
  • Colors
  • Physical Properties and Shapes
  • Good and Bad
  • Procedures, Diagnosis and Surgery
  • General Words

    Part

    Definition

    -ac pertaining to
    andr-, andro- male
    auto- self
    bio- life
    chem-, chemo- chemistry
    cyt-, cyto- cell
    -blast-, -blasto, -blastic bud, germ
    -cyte, -cytic cell
    fibr-, fibro- fiber
    gluco-, glycol- glucose, sugar
    gyn-, gyno-, gynec- female
    hetero- other, different
    hydr-, hydro- water
    globin, -globulin protein
    gluco-, glycol- glucose, sugar
    idio- self, one’s own
    -ity pertaining to
    karyo- nucleus
    neo- new
    -ous pertaining to
    oxy- sharp, acute, oxygen
    pan-, pant-, panto- all or everywhere
    pharmaco- drug, medicine
    re- again, backward
    somat-, somatico-, somato- body, bodily

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    Body Parts and Disorders

    Part

    Definition

    acous-, acouso- hearing
    aden-, adeno- gland
    adip-, adipo- fat
    adren-, adreno- gland
    angi-, angio- blood vessel
    ateri-, aterio- artery
    arthr-, arthro- joint
    blephar- eyelid
    bronch-, bronchi- bronchus  (large airway that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to a lung)
    bucc-, bucco- cheek
    burs-, burso- bursa (a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts)
    carcin-, carcino- cancer
    cardi-, cardio- heart
    cephal-, cephalo- head
    chol- bile
    chondr- cartilage
    Coron- heart
    cost- rib
    crani-, cranio- brain
    cutane skin
    cyst-, cysti-, cysto- bladder or sac
    dactyl-, dactylo- digit (finger or toe)
    derm-, dermato- skin
    duodeno- duodenum (the first part of your small intestine, right after your stomach)
    -esthesio sensation
    gloss-, gloss- tongue
    gastr- stomach
    gnath-, gnatho- jaw
    grav- heavy
    hem, hema-, hemat-, hemato-, hemo- blood
    hepat-, hepatico-, hepato- liver
    hidr-, hidro- sweat
    hist-, histio-, histo- tissue
    hyster-, hystero- uterus
    ileo- ileum (the lower part of the small intestine)
    irid-, irido- iris
    ischi-, ischio- ischium (the lower and back part of the hip bone)
    -ium structure or tissue
    kerat-, kerato- cornea (eye or skin)
    lacrim-, lacrimo- tear (from your eyes)
    lact-, lacti-, lacto- milk
    laryng-, laryngo- larynx (voice box)
    lingu-, linguo- tongue
    lip-, lipo- fat
    lith-, litho- stone
    lymph-, lympho- lymph
    mamm, mast-, masto- breast
    mening-, meningo- meninges (the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)
    muscul-, musclo- muscle
    my-, myo- muscle
    myel-, myelo- spinal cord OR bone marrow
    myring-, myringo- eardrum
    nephr-, nephro- kidney
    neur-, neuri-, neuron nerve
    oculo- eye
    odont-, odonto- tooth
    onych-, onycho- fingernail, toenail
    oo- egg, ovary
    oophor-, oophoro- ovary
    op-, opt- vision
    ophthalm-, ophthalmo- eye
    orchid-, orchido-, orchio- testis
    ossi- bone
    osseo- bony
    ost-, oste-, osteo- bone
    ot-, oto- ear
    ovari-, ovario-, ovi-, ovo- ovary
    phalang- phalanx (any bone in the fingers or toes)
    pharyng-, pharyngo- pharynx, throat
    phleb-, phlebo- vein
    phob-, phobia fear
    phren-, phreni-, phrenico-, phreno- diaphragm
    pleur-, pleura-, pleuro- rib, pleura (membrane that wraps around the outside of your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity)
    pneum-, pneuma-, pneumat-, pneumato- air, lung
    pod-, podo foot
    prostat- prostate
    psych-, psyche-, psycho- mind
    proct-, procto- anus, rectum
    pyel-, pyelo- pelvis
    rachi- spine
    rect-, recto- rectum
    ren-, reno- kidney
    retin- retina (of the eye)
    rhin-, rhino- nose
    salping-, salpingo- tube
    sial-, sialo- saliva, salivary gland
    sigmoid-, sigmoido- sigmoid colon
    splanchn-, splanchni-, splanchno- viscera (internal organ)
    sperma-, spermato-, spermo- sperm
    spirat- breathe
    splen-, spleno- spleen
    spondyl-, spondylo- vertebra
    stern- sternum (breastbone)
    stom-, stoma-, stomat-, stomato- mouth
    thel-, thelo- nipples
    thorac-, thoracico-, thoraco- chest
    thromb-, thrombo- blood clot
    thyr-, thyro- thyroid gland
    trache-, tracheo- trachea (windpipe)
    tympan-, tympano- eardrum
    ur-, uro- urine
    uri-, uric-, urico- uric acid
    -uria in the urine
    vagin- vagina
    varic-, varico- duct, blood vessel
    vasculo- blood vessel
    ven-, veno- vein
    vertebr- vertebra, spine
    vesic-, vesico- vesicle (cyst or pouch)

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    Positions and Directions

    Part

    Definition

    ab-, abs- away from
    ambi- both sides
    ante- before, forward
    circum- around
    cycl- circle, cycle
    dextr-, dextro- right side
    de- away from, ending
    dia- across, through
    ect-, ecto-, exo- outer; outside
    en- inside
    end-, endo-, ent- enter-, entero-, within; inner
    epi- Upon, outside of
    ex-, extra- beyond
    infra- beneath; below
    inter- between
    intra- within
    meso- middle
    meta- beyond, change
    para- alongside, abnormal
    per- through
    peri- around
    post- behind, after
    pre- before, in front
    retro- backward, behind
    sinistr-, sinistro- left, left side
    sub- under
    super- above
    supra- above, upon
    sy-. syl-, sym-, syn-, sys- together
    trans- across, through

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    Numbers and Amounts

    Part

    Definition

    bi- two
    brady- slow
    deca-, decem- ten (except “December” means the 12th month)
    diplo- double
    duo- two
    duode-, duodecim- twelve
    centi- hundred
    hemi- half
    homo- same
    hyper- above, beyond, excessive
    hypo- under, deficient
    iso- equal, like
    macro- large, long, big
    meg-, mega-, megal-, megalo- great, large
    -megaly enlargement
    mic-, micro- small
    mon-, mono- one
    multi- many
    novem-, eleven
    octo-, eight (except “October” means the 10th month)
    olig-, oligo- few, little
    penta- five
    poly- many, excessive
    quadri- four
    semi- half
    septem- nine
    sex- six
    tachy- fast
    tetra- four
    tri- three
    uni- one

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    Color

    Part

    Definition

    chlor-, chloro- green
    chrom-, chromato- color
    Cyano- blue
    erythr-, erythro- red
    leuk-, leuko- white
    melan-, melano- black
    xanth-, xantho- yellow

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    Physical Properties and Shapes

    Part

    Definition

    -cele bulge 
    elect- electrical activity
    kin-, kine-, kinesi-, kinesio-, kino- movement
    kyph-, kypho- humped
    morph-, morpho- shape
    rhabd-, rhabdo- rod-shaped, striated
    scoli-, scolio- twisted
    cry-, cryo- cold
    phon-, phono- sound
    phos- light
    phot-, photo- light
    reticul-, reticulo- net
    therm-, thermo- heat
    tono- tone, tension, pressure

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    Good and Bad

    Part

    Definition

    -alge-, -algesi pain
    a-, an- without; lacking
    anti- against
    contra- against
    dis- separation, taking apart
    -dynia pain, swelling 
    dys- difficult, abnormal 
    -eal, -ial pertaining to
    -ectasis expansion or dilation
    -emesis vomiting
    -emia blood condition
    -esis state or condition
    eu- good, well
    -ia condition
    -iasis condition, formation of   
    -ism condition
    -ites, -itis         inflammation
    -lysis, -lytic, lyso-, lys- break down, destruction, dissolving
    mal- bad, abnormal
    -malacia softening
    -mania morbid impulse towards an object/thing
    myc-, myco- fungus
    myx-, myxo- mucus
    necr-, necro- death
    normo- normal
    -odyn pain
    -oma tumor
    -oid resembling
    orth-, ortho- straight, normal, correct
    -osis condition, usually abnormal
    -pathy, patho-, path- disease  
    -penia deficiency, lack of
    -phagia, phagy eating, swallowing
    -phasia speech
    -plasia, -plastic growth
    -plegia paralysis
    -pnea breathing
    -poiesis production
    -praxia movement
    pro- favoring, supporting
    pseudo- false
    pro- favoring, supporting
    -ptosis falling, drooping
    pyo- pus
    pyro- fever
    onco- tumor, bulk, volume
    -rrhage, -rrhagic bleeding
    -rrhea  flow or discharge
    -rrhexis  rupture
    sarco- muscular, fleshlike
    schisto- split, cleft, division
    schiz-, schizo split, cleft
    sclera-, sclero- hardness
    -sclerosis hardening
    -sis condition
    -spasm muscle condition
    spasmo- spasm
    -stasis level, unchanging
    sten-, steno- narrowed, blocked 
    -taxis movement
    -trophy growth

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    Procedures, Diagnosis and Surgery

    Parts

    Definition

    -centesis surgical puncture to remove fluid
    -desis surgical binding
    -ectomy cut out, removal  
    -gram, -graph, -graphy recording, written
    -meter device used for measuring
    -metry measurement of
    -opsy visual examination
    -ostomy opening
    -otomy Incision
    -pexy surgical fixation
    -plasty surgical reconstruction
    radio- radiation, radius
    -rrhaphy suture
    -scope, -scopy examine, for examining
    -stomy surgical opening
    -tomy cutting; incision
    -tripsy crushing

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