Mastering Medical Terminology

Common Prefixes and their meanings.

Root MeaningExample
Acou, Acu   hearingAcoustics
Acro, Acro   extremity  Acromium
Aden, Adeno gland     Adenoma – tumor with a gland like structure
AdipfatAdipose tissue
Alg, Algia    pain Neuralgia – pain along a nerve
Angi(o)vessel  Angiocardiography – x-ray of the blood vessels and heart
Ater (i)     ArteriesAteriosclerosis – hardening of the arteries
Artgrm ArthroJoint  arthropathy – disease of joint
Aut, AutoSelf Autolysis- destruction of cells of the body
Biolife, living  Biopsy – examination of tissue removed from a living body
Blast germ, budBlastocyte – an embryonic or undiferrentiated cell
Brachi       arm   Biceps Bracii – the biceps located on the arm
Blephar  eyelid Biepharitis – inflammation of the eyelids
Bronchtrachea, windpipeBronchoscopy – direct visual examination of the bronchii
bucc cheek Buccocrvical – pertaining to the cheek and neck
carcincancer   carcinogenic – causing cancer
caud, caudal   tail  away from the head, inferior
cecr, cecropertaining to deathnecrotic tissue
cephalheadhydrocephalus – enlargement of the head
cerbro braincerebrospinal fluid – fluid in the cranium and spinal canal
cheillip  Cheilosis – dry scaling of the lip
ChirhandChiropractic – system of healthcare based on manual manipulation of the spine
Cholebile, gall  Cholecystogram – x-ray of the gall bladder
Chrondr, chondri, chondrio cartilagechondrocyte – cartilage cell
Chrom, chromat, chromatocolor hyperchromic – highly colored
colo  coloncolon
corp, corporthe body
cortic   outer layer
costrib costal cartilage
craniskullcraniotomy – surgical opening of the  skull
cry, cryo     coldcryotherapy – using cold for therapy
cut skinsubcutaneous – under the skin
cysti, cystosac/bladdercystoscope – instrument to look at the interior of the bladder
cyt, cyto, cyte   cell cytology – the study of cells
dactyl, dactylodigits of fingerspolydactylia – above normal number of fingers or toes
derma, dermato   skin dermatosis – skin disease
enterointestineenteritis – inflammation of the intestine
erythr red erythrocyte – red blood cell
fasci a band
gangliswelling, plexus
gastr stomachgastrointestinal – pertaining to the stomach and intestines
gloss, glossotongue hypoglossal – located under the tongue
gyn (ec) female
hem, hematblood      hematoma – blood beneath the skin
hepat, hepatoliverhepatitis – inflammation of the liver
hist, histio tissue    histology – study of tissues
homeo, homounchanging/steadyhomeostasis – achievement of a steady state
hydrowater    hydrotherapy – water therapy
hysteruterushysterectomy – surgical removal of the uterus
ileo, ileumpart of the intestineileocecal valve – folds at the opening between ileum and cecum
ilio, ilium   flaring part of hip bone iliosacral – pertaining to the ilium and sacrum
labi  lip
lachry, lacri  tearsnasolacrimal – pertinent to the nose and lachrymal apparatus
laryngo   windpipe
leuco, leukowhite leukocyte – white blood cell
lip,lipo      fat lipoma – fatty tumor
Mamm  breastmammography
Mast   breast  mastitis
massa to feel, touch
masser to massage
melan black
meningo membranemeningitis – inflammation of the membranes of the spinal cord and brain
metrouterus endometrium – lining of the utereus
morphoform/shapemorphology – study of form and structure of things
myhelomarrow, spinal cordpoliomyeitis – inflammation of the gray matter of the spinal cord
myomusclemyocardium – heart muscle
narc numbness/stupor     narcotic
 nephrokidney nephrosis – degeneration of kidney tissue
neuronerve neuroblastoma – malignant tumor of the nervous system
nutri  nutrition
 oculo eye binocular – pertaining to the two eyes
odont tooth orthodontic – proper positioning of the teeth
oo egg oocyte
ophthalmeyeophthalmology – science of the eye and it’s diseases
or  mouthorifice
orb   circle
oss,osseo, osteo boneostema – bone tumor
oto    earotosclerosis – formation of bone in the labyrinth of the ear
patho disease   Pathology – study of disease
pec, peksolidify  pectose
pept, pepto   digestion
phag, phagoto eat phagocytosis – a cell that eats migroorganisme, other cells
pharyng  throat
philic,philoto like/have affinity forhemophilic – have an affinity to bleeding
phob, phobia  fear  massageshoolphobia – fear of massage school
phot   light






phren                   mind/diaphragm

pleur(o)             the lining of the chest cavity             Pleuritis – inflammation

pneumo              lung                         pneumothorax – air in the thoracic cavity

pod                      foot                          podiatry – study of foot disorders

procto                anus/rectum        proctoscopy

pseud, pseudo     false                     pseudoangina – false angina

psycho                soul/mind            psychology, psychiatry

pulmo                  lung

pyel                       pelvis

pyo                      pus                         pyuria – pus in urine

pyloro              opening between stomach and duodenum

reno, ren        kidney

rhin, rhino        nose

sarc                  flesh

scler, sclero     hard                     scleroderma – hardening of the skin

sep, septic       poison/toxic      septicemia – presence of bacterial toxins in blood (blood poisoning)

ser                   watery substance

soma, somato       body               somatic – of the body

splen(o)             spleen

spondylo          relationship to the spine

statis, stat         stand still           homeostasis – achievement of a steady state

tars                     ankle                   tarsals

therm                heat                    thermometer

thorac            chest

tom, tomo       section/layer

tox                    poison

ur(o), uret, ureth   urine, urinary

viscer           organ