Human Anatomical Terminology – Essential Components



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Human Anatomical Terminology – Essential Components

1. Prefixes Indicating Location, Direction, and Tendency


Prefix Meaning Example____________________________
Ab- from, away abnormal - away from normal

Ad- to, near, toward adrenal - near the kidney

Ante- before antepartum - before delivery of child

Brady- slow bradycardia - slow heart beat

Brev- short brevity - in a short time

Circum- around circumocular - around the eye

Co- with, together coordinate - work together

Con- with, together congenital - with birth

Contra- against contraindicated - not indicated

Counter- against counterirritant - against irritation

Dis- apart from disarticulated - taking a joint apart

Ect- outside ectonuclear - outside the nucleus

End- within endocardium - membrane lining inner heart

Epi- upon, on top of epidermis - upon the skin

Ex- out from exhalation - breathe out

Hypo- under, lower hypodermic - under the skin

Hyper- above, higher hyperactive - higher level activity

Im- not immature - not mature

In- not incurable - not curable

Infra- under, below infrapatellar - below the knee

Peri- around pericardium - sac around the heart

Post- after postmortem - after death

Pre- before prenatal - before birth

Pro- before prognosis - a fore-knowing

Super- above, on top superciliary - above the eyebrow

Supra- above, on top suprapubic - above the pubic bone

Sym- with, together symphony - sounds played together

Syn- with, together synarthrosis - union of bones

Trans- through, across transurethral - through the urethra

2. Prefixes Indicating Number and Measurement


Prefix Meaning Example____________________________
Uni- one unicycle - one wheel

Mono- one mononuclear - one nucleus

Bi- two bilateral - two sides

Bin- two binocular - two eyes

Di- two dicephalic - two heads

Ter- three tertiary - the third part or stage

Tri- three trilobar - three lobes

Quadr- four quadriceps - muscle with four heads

Tetra- four tetracylcine - a four-ringed molecule

Prefix Meaning Example____________________________
Poly- many polydactyly - many digits (more than 5)

Oligo- few oligosaccharide - few sugars linked together


Micro- small microscope - equipment to view small things

Macro- large macrophage - large eating cell

Mega- great, enormous megadontia - huge teeth

3. Prefixes Denoting Organs, Structures, Things


Prefix Meaning Example____________________________
Acoust- sound acoustics - quality of sound

Aud- ear, hear audition - to hear someone

Abdomin/o abdomen abdominal - relating to the abdomen

Acr/o extremity, limbs acromegaly - abnormally large limbs

Blast/o early, embryonic blastocyte - embryonic type cell

Aden/o gland adenopathy - disease of a gland

Angi/o vessel angiogram - picture of a vessel

Arthr/o joint arthritis - inflammation of a joint

Bucc/o cheek buccolabial - relating to cheek and lip

Cardi/o heart cardiology - study of the heart

Corp- body corpus callosum - connecting body

Chondr/o cartilage chondrocyte - cartilage cell

Cephal/o head cephalic - relating to the head

Cyst/o bladder cystoscopy - view of the bladder

Cyt/o cell cytokinesis - cell movement

Dent/o tooth dental - referring to teeth

Dermat/o skin dermatitis - skin inflammation

Duoden/o duodenum duodenal - relating to the duodenum

Encephal/o brain encephalitis - brain inflammation

Gastr/o stomach gastrointestinal - stomach and intestine

Hepat/o liver hepatitis - liver inflammation

Gloss/o tongue glossopathy - tongue disease

Glute- buttocks gluteus minimus - small buttocks muscle

Laryng/o larynx laryngitis - larynx inflammation

My/o muscle myocardium - heart muscle

Nephr/o kidney nephrologist - one who studies kidneys

Neur/o nerve neurosurgeon - surgeon of nervous system

Oste/o bone osteocyte - bone cell

Ot/o ear otitis media - middle ear inflammation

Ophthalm/o eye exophthalmos - eyes bulge out

Path/o disease pathological - relating to disease

Pneumon/o lung pneumonia - condition of the lung

Rhin/o nose rhinoplasty - reform the nose

Stomat/o mouth, opening stomatitis - mouth inflammation

Thorac/o chest or thorax thoracocentesis - puncture of the thorax

4. Suffixes Denoting Relations, Conditions, and Agents


Suffix Meaning Example____________________________
-ac related to cardiac - related to the heart

-ious related to contagious - communicable by contact

-ic related to pyloric - related to pyloric valve of stomach
-ism condition mutism - condition of being mute

-osis condition scoliosis - S-shaped condition of backbone

-tion condition constipation - constant blockage condition
-ist agent (a person) opthalmologist - eye doctor

-or agent operator

-er agent examiner

-ician agent physician


5. Suffixes Used for Surgical and Operative Terminology
Suffix Meaning Example____________________________
-centesis to puncture amniocentesis - puncture the amnion (fluid)

-ectomy to cut out and remove appendectomy - cut out & remove appendix

-ostomy to cut and form opening colostomy - opening to drain the colon

-otomy to cut or slice tracheotomy - cut the trachea

-pexy to fix or repair gastropexy - repair the stomach

-plasty to reform or repair rhinoplasty - reform the nose

-rraphy to suture, sew ateriorraphy - suture an artery

-scopy to view otoscope - instrument to view ear


6. Other Suffixes Used in Anatomy
Suffix Meaning Example____________________________
-algia pain neuralgia - nerve pain

-cide kill or destroy germicide - substance that kills germs

-emia of the blood cholesterolemia - cholesterol in the blood

-gram writing or record electrocardiogram - record of heart action

-graph recording instrument electrocardiograph - records the heart

-itis inflammation appendicitis - appendix inflammation

-ology the study of ophthalmology - study of the eye

-oma tumor lymphoma - tumor of lymphatics

-orrhea flow menorrhea - flow during menstruation

-malacia soft osteomalacia - bone softening

-phasia speech dysphasia - slurred or blunted speech

-phobia fear arachnophobia - fear of spiders





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