functioning understanding of medical terminology is not only a requisite for application but a necessity for understanding and working within the fields of anatomy and physiology. The terms that encode the common lingua of medicine are, like the basic building blocks of any language, an operable set of tools that allow for the user to manipulate them for the purpose of conversation and comprehension. With their base in Latin and Greek, the prefixes, suffixes, and roots establish a system of linking and combined terminology.
The medical system in its physicality is based on a set of rules and facts that can be creatively combined to achieve a goal: in the case of medicine, a doctor applies his or her knowledge to execute a complex operation by using the smaller skill-sets carefully developed over time; in the case of the language that supports it, the operational digest of words is utilized to communicate coherently, integrating the foundational bricks of vocabulary to achieve a common understanding.
This lingual support system is epitomized by the word pericarditis, which means inflammation of the outer layer of the heart. Without knowing the actual meaning of the word, a working familiarity with the parts that combine it allows for an initial understanding immediately. For example, pericarditis can be broen down into three parts: peri, card, and it is. Peri is the prefix, which means surrounding. The root, card, means heart. The suffix, itis, means inflammation. Even with a meager understanding of the vast terminology in the medical lingua, a knowledge of the words that are used to construct the language promotes an immediate translation.
Medical terms are systematically constructed by prefixes, suffixes, and roots, and some words even incorporate more than one root. The roots -- a far more vast collection of words that allow for true meaning than the suffixes and prefixes -- are then augmented by terms either inserted in the beginning or tacked on at the end that translate in a way to describe what is happening to that root. Some terms, like mastoid, clavicle, or sternum, do not even demand both a prefix and suffix and are entirely self-sufficient in their basic descriptions.
A functional understanding of these prefixes, suffixes, and combining terms allows for a viable interaction within the language of medicine for any party. As such, any student of anatomy or physiology is demanded by the field to exercise their use of the new language by becoming fluent in it. Each system of the body and natural fields have their own terms, specific to either the blood, digestive system, pharmacology, or even psychiatry, but by developing the skill set of the lingual building blocks, many of these fields can be easily navigated and even provide a lasting language base for medical care for life, treatment, and future, far beyond school.
Dictionary of Prefixes, Suffixes, and Combining Terminology.
to tear away
thorny (skin growths)
Acro extremity. Acrophobia is a fear of heights.
near or beside
Adeno gland. Adenoid is a lymph gland found in the nasopharynx
to stick (together)
air or gas
pertains to Agglutin
refers to Alba
Albinsm is the white appearance of skin lacking melanin.
Neuroalgia is a pain following the course of a nerve
man or male
Anecto without expansion or dilation vessel. Angioplasty is the repair of a blood vessel
Ante-before - as in ante-room, antecedent.
Arthro joint. Arthritis is the inflammation of skeletal joints.
refers to action
process of or precedure
Auto self; automatic, autonomous, autolysis.
Basic or base
good or normal
duality, two; as in bi-lingual, bipolar means life; as in biography, biology.
Blast germ, bud. Osteoblast is the germ of a bone cell.
Blephar eyelid. A blepharoplasty is eyelid surgery.
- brady slow short
Brachi arm. The brachialis muscle moves the arm.
Broncho trachea, windpipe. Bronchitis is the inflammation of the respiratory system.
Brucc cheek. The buccinator muscle is in the cheek
heat or hot
Carcin cancer. A carcinogen is a substance that triggers cancer formation.
Cardia heart. Cardiologist is a heart specialist.
Cephal head. Cephalon is another term for the brain.
Chole bile, gall. Cholecestectomy is removal of the gallbladder.
Chondro cartilage. A chondrocyte is a cartilage cell.
Chroma color; as in chromosome.
Cili eyelash. Supercilia are eyebrows -- the hairs above the eyelashes.
Cost rib. Costal cartilages attach ribs to the sternum.
hip or joint
Cut skin. Cutaneous tissue is skin tissue.
Cysti sac, bladder.
Cyt cell. Cytology is the study of cells.
Dactyl digits. Polydactylism, the presence of more fingers than is normal.
to lie down
Dis negativity; as in disagree, disengage.
duct or canal
to teach or teacher
to draw or lead
two or a pair
work or strength
-dynia pain dys difficulty, faulty, painful.
out or remove
refers to Ec, ect outside, outward, or out
secreting or to secret
excision or removal
to boil out
Ef, effer away or out
anything poured in Endo
within or inside
Entero intestine. Enteritis is inflammation of the intestines.
Erythro red. Erythrocytes are red blood cells cause
good or normal
Ex-from, out of; as in expire, ex-patriot.
milk, Galactose- Milk Sugar.
Gastro stomach, belly.
Glosso tongue. Hypoglossal means "below the tongue."
Glyco sugar. Glycosuria is sugar in the urine.
Hema blood; hemoglobin.
Hepato liver. The hepatic vein drains blood away from the liver.
beyond or excessive - as in hypercritical, or very critical, especially of small faults
Hyster uterus. Hysterectomy is the removal of the uterus.
pertains to -ial refers to iatr treat or cure
ability to -id state of -ide specific quantity of in situ in, position or location.
negativity; as in infidel, inebriated, in Inter-between or among; international, interfaith.
Ileo ileum. Part of the small intestine.
Ilio ilium. Part of the hip bone.
refers to Isch
state or condition
State of -ive attributing; dismissive, unobtrusive
state or acts of J
near, close by, adjoining
cornea or horny
sour or acid
movement or action
Lachry tears. Lacrimal glands secrete tears.
Leuko white. Leukocytes are white cells of the blood.
Lingua tongue. Sublingual glands are beneath the tongue.
Lipo fat. Liposuction is the removal of fat by suction tube.
Lith stone. Lithotripsy is used to treat kidney stones.
Lumbo lower back. Lumbar vertebrae are located in the lower back.
Macul spot, blotch. The macula lutea is a spot on the retina of an eyeball.
Mamm breast. Mammogram is a picture of a breast.
large or big in number - as in megabyte, or a million bytes, or a thousand kilobytes
Meningo membrane. Meninges are the coverings of the brain and spinal cord.
Relating, circling but not directly addressing; metaphysical, metamorphoses
Metro uterus. Endometrium is the inner lining of the uterus.
means one or single - as in monorail, a train which operates on a single rail
Morpho shape. Endomorphs are people whose physical shape extends to the limits of human dimension.
Myelo spinal cord. Poliomyelitis is inflammation of the grey matter of the spinal cord.
Myo muscle. Myo-cardiac infarction is a problem with the heart muscle.
Necro death. Necrosis is death of cell tissue.
Nephro kidney. Nephrons are the functional units of a kidney.
Neuro nerve. Neurons are individual nerve cells.
Oculo eye. An oculist supplies eyeglasses.
Odont tooth. Othodontics refers to repair of teeth.