Human Anatomy & Physiology: Latin and Greek Word-Part List



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Human Anatomy & Physiology: Latin and Greek Word-Part List (prefixes, suffixes, roots)
Students of any biology course should learn to recognize the meaning of word parts as they often give clues to the meaning of a scientific term, function, or process. Science terminology is predominately based in the Latin and Greek languages.
The following list of prefixes, suffixes, and roots will be used in this and most Biology (bio = life, logy = study of) courses.
To help with pronunciation, word parts need to be linked together. The linkage for many word parts is “o”. For example, linking the root “cardi” with the suffix “-pathy” would make the word difficult to pronounce; therefore an “o” is used to link the root with the suffix. The completed word is written “cardiopathy” and pronounced kar-de-op-ah-the (heart disease).
Accurate spelling of each work is also important. Changing one letter may change the word part and its meaning. Examples include: “ileum” is a part of the small intestine & “ilium” is a bone in the hips, “ped” refers to the foot & “pedia” refers to children, “ab” means away & “ad” means toward. Finding a word in a dictionary, glossary, or index requires a knowledge of spelling – at least the beginning of a word. For example, pneumonia and psychology have a silent “p”.
By the end of this course you should be able to: (1) Understand the importance of medical terminology and how it can be incorporated into the study of the human body, (2) Differentiate between a prefix, suffix, word root, and a compound term, (3) Link word parts to form medical terms, (4) Differentiate between singular and plural endings of medical terms, (5) Dissect (cut) compound medical terms into parts to analyze their meaning, and (6) Recognize and pronounce commonly used prefixes, suffixes, and root words used in medical terminology. The last page of this “Word Part” packet has a list of singular and plurals word forms.
Word Part #1

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

a-, an, non

Without, Not

Apnea, Anuria, Nonstriated

Not breathing, Without urine, Muscle not striated

ab-, ef-

Away

Abductor muscle, Efferent Neuron

Muscle pulling away from midline (deltoid), Carrying info away from brain

ad-, af-

Toward

Afferent neuron, Adductor muscle

Carry info toward brain, Muscle pulling toward midline (groin)

adi-, lip(o)-

Fat

Adipose, Liposuction

Fat tissue, Removing (by suction) fat from the body

-alg

Pain

Neuralgia, Fibromyalgia

Nerve pain, Muscle pain

ana-

Up

Anabolic reaction

Building up molecules (bonding amino acids together to make proteins)

ang(i)-

Vessel

Angiogenesis, Vasodialator

Making of a new blood vessel, Medicines that widen a vessel

ante-, pre-, pro-

Before

Prenatal, Antebrachial, Promonocyte

Before birth, Before the upper arm, Before the monocyte is mature

anti-, contra-

Against, Resisting

Antibody, Contraception

Resisting a foreign body (pathogen), Against conception (egg + sperm)

aqua(e)-, hydr

Water

Aqueous, hydrocephalus

Water solution, Water (cerebral spinal fluid – CSF) on the brain

arthr(o), artic-

Joint

Arthritis, Articulation

Joint inflammation, Joint (where two bones meet)

-ase

Enzyme

Maltase, Lipase

Enzyme breaking down maltose, Enzyme breaking down lipids/fats

audi-

Hear

Auditory nerve

Nerve connecting the ear to the brain

aut(o)-

Self

Autoimmunity

Self-immunity (when a persons antibodies attack its own cells/tissues)

bi-, di-, diplo-

Two

Bicuspid, Diencephalon, Diplococcus

2 pointed (tooth or heart valve), 2 parts within the brain, 2 round bacteria

brachy-, brev(i)-

Short

Brachydactyly, Fibularis brevis

Short digits (toes or fingers), Short muscle in the lower leg

brady-

Slow

Bradycardia

Slower than normal heart rate

bronch-

Airway

Bronchitis

Airway (bronchus – tube entering lungs) inflammation

card-

Heart

Cardiology

Study of the heart

cat-

Down

Catabolic reaction

Breaking down molecules (protein bonds being broken to form amino acids)

Word Quiz #2

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

cent-

100, 100th

Century, Centigram

100 years, 1/100th of a gram

-centesis

Puncture

Amniocentesis

Puncture to aspirate (remove) amniotic fluid from amniotic sac

cephal-, -ceps

Head

Hydrocephalus, Biceps femoris

Water in brain (in the head), 2-headed (2 tendons) muscle by femur

chol-, cystic

Gallbladder

Cholecystokinin, Cystic duct

Hormone causing gallbladder contraction, Tube (for bile) from gallbladder

chondr-

Cartilage

Chrondrocyte

Cartilage cell

-cide

Kill

Spermacide

Sperm killer

circ-, peri-

Around

Circumcision, Periodontal

Cut around (ex. male foreskin), Around the teeth

-clast

Break, Destroy

Osteoclast

Bone breaker (cells that destroy cells, thus shaping a bone)

co-, con-, sym-, syn-, sys-

Together, With

Congenital, Synthesis, System

Born with, Put together, Organs working together

coel-, sinu-

Cavity, Space

Coelom, Frontal sinus

Body cavity, Space in the frontal bone


Word Part #3

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

corp-, soma-

Body

Corpus luteum, Somatic cell

Yellow body (former follicle in ovary), Body cell (all non-sex cells)

-crine

Secrete, Release

Endocrine gland

Glands that secrete hormones into the bloodstream

cut, derm

Skin

Subcutaneous, Dermatitis

Below the skin, Skin inflammation

cyan-

Blue

Cyanosis

Condition causing skin to turn blue (due to low oxygen levels)

-cyte

Cell

Leukocyte

White blood cell

dactyl, digit

Finger or Toe

Syndactyly

Fingers or Toes that are together (webbed)

dec(k)

10, 1/10th

Decade, Dekagram, Deciliter

10 years, 10 grams, 1/10th of a liter

dent, dont

Tooth/Teeth

Dentalgia, Orthodontist

Tooth pain, Doctor that straightens teeth

dia-, per-, trans-

Through, Separate, Across

Diarrhea, Permaeable, Transcutaneous

Flow through (intestines), Across a membrane, Across skin

dys-, mal-

Bad, Painful, Difficult

Dyspnea, Malnutrition, Malabsorption

Difficult breathing, Bad nutrition/diet, Poor nutrient absorption


Word Part #4

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

-ectomy, -tom, -sect

Cut, Cut out

Appendectomy, Lobotomy, Dissect

Cut out appendix, Cut out cerebral (brain) lobe, Cut in two

ectop-

Displaced

Ectopic pregnancy

Displaced pregnancy (embryo implant outside uterus – usually oviduct)

edem-

Swelling

Lymphedema

Swelling of tissues due to the accumulation of lymph

-emesis

Vomiting

Hyperemesis

Excessive vomiting

-emia

Blood condition

Hypoglycemia

Low blood sugar

en, endo-, intra-

Inside, Within

Endosteum, Intraocular

Cavity/space inside a bone, Inside the orbit or eye socket

epi-

Upon, Over, Above

Epidermis, Epididymis

Layer of skin over the dermis, Coiled tubes above the testes

equi-, homo-, iso-

Same, Equal, Balanced

Homeostasis, Isotonic

Constant internal balance (of body functions), Equal solute (ICF & ECF)

erythr-

Red

Erythrocyte

Red blood cell

-esthe

Sensation

Anesthesia

With sensation or feeling

Word Part #5

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

ex-, ecto-

Outside

Extracelluar fluid

Solute/fluid located outside of cells

fasci-

Bundle

Muscle or nerve fascicle

A bundle or grouping of muscle or nerve cells

foram-

Opening

Infraorbital foramen

An opening in the bone below the eye for nerves & vessels to pass

gastr-

Stomach

Gastric bypass surgery

Surgery for obese patients to dramatically reduce stomach size

-gen, poie-, blast

Create, Form

Oogenesis, Hemopoiesis, Osteoblast

Create an egg, Form new blood cells, Make new bone cells

ger (o, i) -

Aging, Old

Gerontology, Geriatrics

Study of aging, Branch of medicine dealing with older patients

glom-

Ball

Glomerulus

A ball of capillaries in the kidney where metabolic waste is filtered

gloss/tt, lingu

Tongue

Hypoglossal, Sublingual

Cranial nerve connected under the tongue, Salivary gland under tongue

gluc-, gly, -ose

Sugar

Glucose, Glycogen

Monosaccharide of carbohydrates (sugars), Big molecule made of glucose

gyn

Woman

Gynecologist

Doctor specializing in the treatment of females & their repro system


Word Part #6

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

-gram

Something written

Electrocardiogram (ECG)

Print out of the electrical activity of the heart

-graph

Writing apparatus

Electrocardiograph

Apparatus/machine used to make an electrocardiogram

-graphy

Use of writing apparatus

Electrocardiography

The use of the electrocardiograph

hem-

Blood

Hemothorax

Blood that has leaked into the chest cavity

hemi-, semi-

Half

Cerebral hemisphere

One half of the brain (left or right cerebral hemisphere)

hepat-

Liver

Hepatitis

Inflammation of the liver (usually caused by viral infection)

hex-

Six

Hexose

A sugar containing 6 carbons (glucose = C6H12O6)

hist-

Tissue

Histology

Study of tissues

hyper-

Over, Excessive

Hypertonic, Hyperesthesia

Greater solute concentration, Excessive/over sensitivity

hypo-, infra-, infer-,sub-

Under, Below, Less

Hypotonic, Infraorbital, Inferior, submandibular

Lesser solute concentration, below eye, under the jaw


Word Part #7

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

hyster-, metr-

Uterus

Hysterectomy, Endometrium

Cutting out of uterus, Inner lining of uterus (lost each month in females)

-iasis, -osis

Condition of

Cholelithiasis, Nephrosis

Having gallstones, Kidney disorder

-itis

Inflammation of

Appendicitis

Inflammation (swelling, redness, warmth, & pain) of the appendix

inter-

Between

Interstitial Fluid

An extracellular fluid found between cells

kilo-, milli-

1000, 1000th

Kilogram, Milligram

1000 grams, 1000th of a gram

kin-

To move, Divide

Kinesiology, Cytokinesis

Study of body movement (mechanics of muscles), Cell Division

lact-

Milk

Lactose

Milk sugar

lapar-

Abdomen

Laparscopy

Abdomen viewed (small holes in abdomen replace large surgical incisions)

leuk(c)-

White

Leucopoeisis

The making of white blood cells (wbc’s)

lig-

Connect, Bind

Ligaments, Ligase

Connective tissue joining bone to bone, Enzyme that forms bonds


Word Part #8

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

-logy, -ist, -ician

Study of, Specialist

Cardiology, Pharmacist, Dietician

Study of heart, Drug/medicinal specialist, Nutrition specialist

lys, lyze

Break apart, Dissolve

Hydrolysis, Lysosome

Breaking down macromolecules, Organelle that digests/dissolves

macr-, mega, magn-

Large

Macrophage, Magnum foramen

Big WBC that eats/digests, Large opening in skull for spinal cord

mamm-, mass-, pect-

Breast, Chest

Mammary, Massectomy, Pectoralis

Breast tissue, Breast removal, Chest muscle

-mania

Obsession, Compulsion

Kleptomania

Compulsion to steal

med-, meso-, meta-

Middle

Mediastinum, Mesoderm, Metaphase

Middle space of chest cavity, Middle germ layer, Chromosomes in middle

-megaly

Enlargement

Splenomegaly

Enlargement of the spleen (usually due to infection)

melano-

Black

Melanocyte

Black pigmented cells of the skin

mens-

Month

Menstrual cycle

The ≈28 day cycle involving the endometrium of the uterus

-metric, -meter

Measurement, Length

Isometric, Spirometer

Using skeletal muscle w/o movement, Breathing/air measurement


Word Part #9

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

micro-, -ole, -ule

Small

Microscope, Arteriole, Venule

Apparatus used to view small objects, Small artery, Small vein

mnem-

Memory

Amnesia

Loss of memory

mono-, uni-

One

Monozygotic, Unicellular

Twins coming from the same zygote (identical), 1-celled organism

morph, -plasty

Shape

Morphology, Rhinoplasty

Differentiating/distinguishing by shape, Nose shaping (surgical repair)

mort, necr-

Death

Post mortem, Necrotic tissue

After death, dead tissue

multi-, poly-

Many

Multinucleate, Polysaccharide

Many nuclei (ex. Skeletal muscle), Many monosaccharides

mut-

Change

Mutation

Any change in the sequence of DNA

myo-

Muscle

Myopathy, Myofibril

Muscle disease, Skeletal muscle cell

nas-, rhin

Nose

Nasal septum, Rhinovirus

Division/wall in the nasal cavity, Virus frequently infecting the nose

nat-

Birth

Prenatal

Before birth


Word Part #10

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

neo-

New

Neonatal

Newborn

nephr-, ren

Kidney

Nephrosclerosis, Renal vein

Hardening of the kidney, Vessel carrying blood away from kidney

o(o), ovi

Egg

Oophorectomy, Oviduct

Removal of ovary (egg maker), Tube transporting egg to uterus

oct

Eight

Octet rule

Atoms’ desire to fill its outer shell with 8 electrons (allows bonding)

ocu, ophth, opt, orbit

Eye

Orbicularis occuli, Ophthalmologist

Muscle around eye (allows winking), Eye doctor

-oid

Resembling, Shape of

Sigmoid colon

S-shaped (end of colon, connects to rectum)

olig-

Little, Few

Oliguria

Very little urine produced

-oma, onco

Tumor

Melanoma, Oncologist

Tumor in the melanocytes of the skin, Tumor specialist

-opia

Vision

Hyperopia

Farsightedness (can see distance well, vision is blurry up close)

or(a)

Mouth

Orbicularis oris

Muscle around the mouth (allows puckering)


Word Part #11

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

-scopy

To view, See

Arthroscopic surgery

Inserting a camera into a joint to aid in surgery

ost-

Bone

Osteoblast, Osteomyelitis

Maker of new bone cells, Bone infection

-ostomy

Make an opening

Tracheostomy

Make an opening in the trachea/windpipe – due to blocked pharynx/throat)

ot

Ear

Otoscope

Instrument used to view the ear

palp, tact

Touch, Feel

Palpate, Tactile

Feeling for physical abnormalities (bumps, hardness, swelling, etc.)

para

Beside

Parathyroid glands

Small glands imbedded into the sides of the thyroid gland (in neck)

path

Disease

Pathogenic bacteria

Disease causing bacteria (tetanus, E. coli, streptococcus, etc.)

ped, pod

Foot, Feet

Pedal, Podiatrist

Involving the foot, Foot specialist

pent

Five

Pentose

5 carbon sugar (deoxyribose, ribose)

phago

Eat, Feed

Phagocyte

Eating cell (ex. – WBC’s engulfing bacteria & dead cells)


Word Part #12

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

pharm

Drug

Psychopharmic

Drugs that affect the mind

-phasia

Speech

Dysphagia

Difficulty speaking

phleb

Vein

Phlebotomist

One who specializes in drawing blood

photo, lumen

Light

Photoreceptor, Gastric lumen

Light sensitive cells of the eye, Space where digested food travels

phobia, phobe

Fear

Hydrophobia

Fear of water (HAPoexaminophobe – One who fears HAP tests)

phys

Function

Physiology

Study of how something functions

-plasia

Growth, Formation

Hyperplasia

Excessive growth (tumor)

plegia

Paralysis

Quadriplegia

Paralysis of all four limbs

pnea, spir

Breathing

Apnea ,Inspire

Moments of breathing cessation (usually during sleep), Breathing in

pneum, pulmon

Lungs, Air

Pneumothorax, Pulmonary embolus

Air seeping into chest cavity, A blood clot stuck in the lungs


Word Part #13

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

post

After

Post natal

After birth

prim

First

Primary bronchus

First branching of the airway beyond the trachea

proct

Rectum, Anus

Proctoscope, Proctologist

Apparatus used to view the rectum, Colon-Rectum-Anus specialist

pseudo

False

Pseudounipolar neuron

Neuron common in the eye

psych, phren, -noia

Mind

Psychosis, Scizzophrenia

General term for conditions affecting the brain, Split mind

quad, tetra

Four

Quadriceps, Tetralogy of Fallot

The 4 large muscles (of the ventral thigh), 4 conditions of “blue babies”

re-, retro

Back, Again, Past

Reinfect, Retrograde amnesia

To become infected again, Inability to remember events of the recent past

-rrhea

Flow, Discharge

Diarrhea, Otorrhea

Flow through (feces through intestines), Ear discharge

schlero

Hard (ening)

Arteriosclerosis, Scleroderma

Hardening of the arteries, Hardening of the skin (and other tissues)

sept, tox

Poison, Contaminate

Antiseptic, Cytotoxin

Against poison (germ killer – lysol), Cell poison


Word Part #14

Word Part

Meaning

Example(s)

Meaning of Example(s)

sten

Narrowing

Pyloric stenosis

Narrowing of the distal stomach where it feeds into the small intestinge

strat

Layer

Stratified squamous epithelia

Many layers of flat cells (the skin is an example)

super, supra

Above, Over

Superier vena cava, Supraorbital

Veins bringing blood from above the heart, Over the eye

tachy

Fast

Tachycardia

Faster than normal heart rate

-tension

Pressure

Hypertension

High blood pressure (pressure exerted on artery walls)

therm

Heat

Thermoreceptor

Nerve receptors that detect changes in temperature

thromb

Clot

Thrombocyte

Clotting cell (also called a platelet)

-tonic

Strength

Isotonic

Equal concentration of solute between ICF and ECF

tri-, tert-

Three, Third

Triglyceride, Tertiary bronchus

Lipid containing a glycerol & 3 fatty acids, 3rd division off trachea (airway)

zyg

Union

Zygote

Union of egg and sperm

☺ The following information will be helpful to you but will not be on any of the weekly word part quizzes.


Singular Plural
-us (thrombus, nucleus) -i (thrombi, nuclei)

-a (ampulla) -ae (ampullae)

-ix, -ex (appendix, cortex) -ices (appendices, cortices)

-ax (thorax) -aces (thoraces)

-ur (femur) -ora (femora)

-on (mitochondrion), -um (flagellum) -a (mitochondria, flagella)

-en (lumen, foramen) -ena or –ina (lumena, foramina)

-is (neurosis) -es (neuroses)



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