Medical Terminology

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Medical Terminology (rev. 7/08)

As an EMT,f. you will probably never have to use more than a few medical terms in the course of your pre-hos- pital~ emergency care activities. and most of them will probably deal with parts of the body. Physicians and nurses prefer EMTfs to speak in other than medical terms. But if you are an avid reader, much of what you read is likely to be freely sprinkled with medical terms, and if you cannot translate them. you may not under- stand what you are reading.

Medical terms are comprised of words, word roots, combining forms, prefixes, and suffIXessuffixes-all little words, if you will, and each with its own definition.

Sometimes medical terms are made up of two whole words. For example,. the word SMALL is joined with the

.word POX to form the medical term SMALLPOX, the name of a disease. Would that it were all so simple!

Word roots are the foundations of words and are not used by themselves. THERM is a word root that means heat; to use it alone would make no sense. But when a vowel is added to the end of the word root to make it the combining form THERM/O, it can be joined with other words or word roots to form a compound term. THERM/O and METER (an instrument for measuring) combine to form THERMOMETER, an instrument for measuring heat or temperature.

More than one word root or combining form can be joined to form medical terms; ELECTcrROCARDIOGRAM is a good example. ELECTcrR/O (electric) is joined to CARDI (heart) and the suffix -GRAM (a written record)

.to form the medical term that means a written record of the heart's electrical activity.

Prefixes are used to modify or qualify the meaning of word roots. They usually tell the reader what kind of. where (or in what direction), or how many.

The term -PNEA relates to breathing, but it says nothing about the quality or kind of breathing. Adding the prefIXprefix DYS- qualifies it as difficult breathing.

ABDOMINAL PAIN is a rather broad term; it gives the reader no clue as to exactly where the pain is locat- ed either inside or outside the abdomen.
Adding the prefix -INTRA to ABDOMINAL pinpoints the location of the pain, for INTRA-ABDOMINAL

PAIN means pain within the abdomen. -PLEGIA refers to paralysis of the limbs. The prefix QUADRI informs the reader as to how many limbs are paralyzed. QUADRIPLEGIA means paralysis of all four limbs.

Suffixes are word endings that form nouns, adjec- tives, or verbs. Medical terms can have more than one suffIXsuffix, and a suffIXsuffix can appear in the middle of a com- pound term affIXedaffixed to a combining form. A number of suffixes have specialized meanings. ITIS -ms means in- flammation; thus ARTHRITIS means inflammation of a joint. -IAClAC forms a noun indicating a person afflicted

R-18 * Medical Terminology

with a certain disease, as for example, HEMOPHILIAC.

Some suffixes are joined to word roots to form terms

that indicatethat indicates a state, quality, condition, procedure, or process. PNEUMONIA and PSORIASIS are examples of medical conditions, while APPENDECTOcroMY and ARTHRO- SCOPpY are examples of medical procedures. The suffixes in each case are underlined.

Some suffixes combine with word roots to form ad- jectives, words that modify nouns by indicating quality or quantity or by distinguishing one thing from anoth- er. GASTRI--.C., CARDIACc., FIBRQOUSIlS, ARTHRTICm..c., and DIAPHORETICQ are all examples of adjectives formed by adding suffIXessuffixes (underlined) to word roots.

Some suffixes are added to word roots to express re- duction in size, -OLE and -ULE, for example. An AR-


TERIOQLE is smaller than an ARTERY, and a VENULEllLE is smaller than a vein.

When added to word roots, -E and -–IZE form verbs.. EXCISE,. and CATHETERI.ZE. are examples.

Finally, some of what are commonly accepted as suffIXessuffixes are actually the combination of a word root and a suffix. -MEGALY (enlargement) results from the combination of the word root MEGAL (large) and the suffIXsuffix -Y (which forms the term into a noun). CAR- DIOMEGALY means enlargement of the heart.

The following terms are used to denote direction of moveme~nt, position, and anatomical posture.
abduction movement away from the body's midline.

adduction movement toward the body's midline.

afferent conducting toward a structure.

anterior the front surface of the body.

anterior to in front of.

caudad toward the tail.

cephalad toward the head.

circumduction circular movement of a part.

craniad toward the~ cranium.

deep situated remote from the surface.

distal situated away from the point of origin.

dorsal pertaining to the back surface of the body.

dorsiflexion bending backward.

efferent conducting away from a structure.

elevation raising a body part.

extension stretching, or moving jointed parts into or toward a straight condition.

external situated outside.

flexion bending, or moving jointed parts closer together.

inferior situated below.

internal situated inside.

laterad toward the side of the body.

lateral situated away from the body's midline. I

lateral rotation rotating outward away from the

Ibody's midline.

' left lateral recumbent lying horizontal on the left i /


mediad toward the midline of the body.

medial situated toward the body's midline.

medial rotation rotating inward toward the bodY'1 midline.

palmar concerning the inner surface of the hand.

peripheral away from a central structure.

plantar concerning the sole of the foot.

posterior pertaining to the back surface of the body.

posterior to situated behind.

pronation lying face downward or turning the hand so the palm faces downward or backward.

prone lying horizontal,. face down and flat.

protraction a pushing forward,. as the mandible. ,

proximal situated nearest the point of origin.

recumbent lying horizontal,. generally speaking.

retraction a drawing back,. as the tongue.

right lateral recumbent lying horizontal on the right side.

rotation turning around an axis.

superficial situated near the surface.

superior situated above.

supination lying face upward or turning the hand so the palm faces forward or upward.

supine lying horizontal,. flat on the back and face up.

ventral the front surface of the body.
A plane is an imaginary flat surface that divides the body into sections.

coronal or frontal plane an imaginary plane that passes through the body from side to side and divides it into front and back sections.

midsagittal plane an imaginary plane that passes through the body from front to back and divides it into right and left halves.

sagittal plane an imaginary plane parallel to the me- dian plane. It passes through the body from front to back and divides the body into right and left sections.

transverse plane an imaginarzy plane that passes throughfuroUgh the body and divides it into upper and lower sections.
Prefixes are generally identified by a following dash (AMBI1-). Combining forms have a slash and a vowel fol- lowing the word root (ARTHR/jO). SuffIXesSuffixes are generally identified by a preceding dash (-EMIA).

  1. a- (not, without, lacking, deficient) afebrile,. without fever.

ab- (away from) abduct, to draw away from the midline.

-able, -ible (capable ofil) reducible, capable of being re- duced (as a fracture).

abdomin/o (abdomen) abdominal, pertaining to the e abdomen.

ac- (to) acclimate,. to become accustomed to.

1 acou (hear) acoustic,. pertaining to sound or hearing.

acr/o (extremity,. tTop, . peak) acrodermatitis,. inflam- mation of the skin of the extremities.

acu (needle) acupuncture,. the Chinese practice of 3 piercing specific peripheral nerves with needles to re-

lieve the discomfort associated with painful disorders.

ad- (to,. toward) adduct,. to draw toward the midline.

aden/o (gland) adenitis,S. inflammation of a gland.

adip/o (fat) adipose,. fatty; fat (in size).

aer/o (air) aerobic,. requiring the presence of oxygen to live and grow.

I af- (to) afferent, conveying toward.

ag- (to) aggregate,. to crowd or cluster together.

-algesia (painful) hyperalgesia, overly sensitive to pain..

t -algia (painful condition) neuralgia, pain that extends along the course of one or more nerves.

ambi- (both sides) ambide.xtrous,. able to perform manual skills with both hands.

ambl/y (dim,. dull, lazy) amblyopia, lazy eye.

amphi-, ampho- (on both sides, around both) amphigonadism,. having both testicular and ovarian tis- sues.

amyl/o (starch) amyloid,. starchlike.

an- (without) anemia, a reduced volume of blood cells.

ana- (upward, again, backward, excess) anaphylaxis~,. an unusual or exaggerated reaction of an organism to a substance to which it becomes sensitized.

andr/o (man., male) android, resembling a man.

angi/o (blood vessel. duct) angioplasiy,. surgery of blood vessels.

ankyl/o (stiff) ankylosis,. stiffness.

ant-,. anti- (against, opposed to, preventing, reliev- ing) antidote,. a substance for counteracting a poison.

ante- (before, forward) antecubital, situated in front of the elbow.

antero- (front) anterolateral, situated in front and to one side.

ap- (to) approximate,. to bring together; to place close to.

apo- (separation, derivation from) apoplexy,. sudden neurologic impairment due to a cardiovascular disor- der.

-arium, -orium (place for something) solarwium, a place for the sun.

arteri/o (artery) arteriosclerosis,. thickening of the walls of the smaller arteries.

arthrio (joint, articulation) arthritis,. inflammation of a joint or joints.

articul/o (joint) articulated,. united by joints.

as- (to) assimilate,. to take into.

at- (to) attract,. to draw toward.

audi/o (hearing) audiometer,. an instrum~ent to test the power of hearing.

Medical Terminology * R-19

aur/o (ear) auwriicle,. the flap of the ear.

aut/o (self) autistic,. self-centered

bi- (two, twice, double, both) bilateral, having two sides; pertaining to two sides.

bi/o (life) biology, the study of liUfe.

blephario (eyelid) blepharitis, inflamniationinflammation of the eyelid.

brachi/o (upper arm) brachialgia, pain in the upper armnn.

brady- (slow) bradycardia, an abnonnallyabnormally slow heart rate.

Bronchbronch/oia (larger air passages of the lungs) bronchitis,. inflammation of the larger air passages of the lungs.

bucc/o (cheek) buccal, pertaining to the cheek.

cac/o (bad) cacosmis,. a bad odor.

calc/o (bad) calculus,. an abnormal hard inorganic mass such as a gallstone.

calcane/o (heel) calcaneus,. the heel bone.

calor /o 0 (heat) caloric,. pertaining to heat.

cancr/o (cancer) cancroid, resembling cancer. .

capit/o (head) capitatecapitates,. head-shaped.

caps/o (container) capsulation,. enclosed in a capsule or container.

carcin/o (cancer) carcinogen,. a substance that causes cancer.

cardi/o (heart) cardiogenic,. originating in the heart.

cCarp/io (wrist bone) carpal,. pertaining to the wrist bone.

cat-, cata- (down, lower, under, against, along with) catabasis,. the stage of decline of a disease.

-cele (tumor, hernia) hydrocele,. a confined collection of water.

celi/o (abdomen) celiomyalgia, a pain in the muscles of the abdomen.

-centesis (perforation or tapping. as with a needle) abdominocentesis, surgical, surgical puncture of the abdominal cavity.

cephal/o (head) electroencephalogram,. a recording of the electrical activity of the brain.

cerebr/o (cerebrum) cerebrospinal, pertaining to the brain and spinal fluid.

cervic /o 0 (neck, cervix) cervical,. pertaining to the neck (or cervix).

cheil/o, chil/o (lip) cheilitis,. inflammation of the lips.

cheiriocheirio,. chir/o (hand) cheiralgia, pain in the hand.

chlor /o0 (green) chloroma, green cancer. a greenish tumor associated with myelogenous leukemia.

chol/e (bile, gall) choledochitis, inflammation of the common bile duct.

chondr/o (cartilage) chondrodynia, pain in a carti- lage.

chrom/o, chromat/o (color) monochromatic,. being of one color.

chron/o (time) chronic, persisting for a long time.

-cid- (cut, kill, fall) insecticide, an agent that kills in- sects.

, ,'. circum- (around) circumscribed, confined to a limited



-cis- (cut, kill, fall) excise, to cut out.

R-20 * Medical Terminology


-clysis (irrigation) enteroclysis, i, irrnigation of the small intestine..

co- (with) cohesion, the force that causes various par- f ticles to unite.

' col- (with) collateral, secondary or accessory; a small side branch such as a blood vessel or nerve.

col/o (colon, large intestine) colitis,. inflammation of the colon.

colp/o (vagina) colporrhagia, bleeding from the vagma.

com- (with) comminuted, broken or crushed into small


con- (with) congenital,. existing from the time of birth.

contra- (against, opposite) contraindicated, inadvisable.

cCor/le, core/o (pupil) corectopia, abnormal location of the pupil of the eye.

cCost/fo (rib) intercostal, between the ribs.

cCrani/fo (skull) cranial,. pertaining to the skull.

cCry/fo (eold) cryogenic,. that which produces low tem-


crypt/o (hide, cover, conceal) cryptogenic,. of doubt- ful origin.

cyan/o (blue) cyanosis,. bluish discoloration of the skin and mucous membranes.

cCyst/fo (urinary bladder,. cyst, sac of fluid) cystitis,. inflammation of the bladder.

-cyte (cell) leukocyte,. white cell.

cCyt/fo (cell) cytoma, tumor of the cell.

dDacry/fo (tear) dacryorrhea, excessive flow of tears.

dactyl/o (finger,. toe) dactylomegary,. abnormally large fingers or toes.

de- (down) descending, coming down from.

dDent/fo (tooth) dental,. pertaining to the teeth.

dDerm/fo,. dermat/o (skin) dermatitis,. inflammation of the skin.

dDextr/fo (right) dextrad, toward the right side.

di- (twice,. double) diplegia, paralysis affecting like parts on both sides of the body.

dia- (through,. across, apart) diaphragm,. the partition that separates the abdominal and thoracic cavities.

dDipl/fo (double,. tTwin,. twice) diplopia, double vision.

dipsfo dips/o (thirst) dipsomania, alcoholism.

dis- (to free, to undo) dissect, to cut apart.

dDors/ f o0 (back) dorsal,. pertaining to the back.

-dynia (painful condition) cephalodynia, headache.

dys- (bad, difficult. , abnormal. incomplete) dyspnea, labored breathing.

-ectasia (dilation or enlargement of an organ or part) gastrectasia, dilation (stretching) of the stomach.

ecto- (outer. , outside of) ectopic,. located away from the normal position.

-ectomy (the surgical removal of an organ or part) appendectomy, surgical removal of the appendix.

electr/o (electric) electrocardiogram, the wWritten record of the heart's electrical activity.

-emia (condition of the blood) anemia, a deficiency of red blood cells.


en- (in, into, within) encapsulate,. to enclose within a container.

encephal/o (brain) encephalitis,. inflammation of the brain.

end-, endo- (within) endotracheal, within the trachea.

ent-, ento- (within, inner) entopic,. occurring in the proper place.

enter/o (small intestine) enteritis,. inflammation of the intestine.

ep-, epi- (over, on, upon) epidermis,. the outermost layer of skin.

erythr /o 0 (red) erythrocyte,. a red blood cell.

esthesia (feeling) anesthesia, without feeling.

eu (good, well, normal, healthy) euphoria, an abnor- mal or exaggerated feeling of well-being.

ex- (out of, away from) excrement, waste material dis- charged from the body.

exo- (outside, outward) exophytic,. to grow outward or .on the surface.

extranra- (on the outside, beyond, in addition to) extraco1]Jorporeal, outside the body.

faci/o (face, surface) facial,. pertaining to the face.

febr/i (fever) febrile,. feverish.

-ferent (bear, carry) efferent, carrying away from a center.

fibr/o (fiber, fi"llament) fibrillation, muscular contrac- tions due to the activity of muscle fibers.

-form (shape) deformed, abnormally shaped.

-fugal (moving away) centrifugal, moving away from a center.

galact/o (milk) galactopyria, milk fever.

gangli/o (knot) ganglion, a knotlike mass.

gastr/o (stomach) gastritis, inflammation of the stomach.

gen/o (come into being, originate) genetic, inherited.

-genesis (production or origin) pathogenesis, the de- velopment of a disease.

-genic (giving rise to, originating in) cardiogenic, originating in the heart.

gloss/o (tongue) glossal, pertaining to the tongue. glyc/o (sweet) glycemia, the presence of sugar in the blood.

gnath/o (jaw) gnathitis,. inflammation of the jaw.

-gram (drawing, written record) electrocardiogram,. a recording of the heart's electrical activity.

-graph (an instrument for recording the activity of an organ) electrocardiograph, an instrument for mea- suring the heart's electrical activity.

-graphy (the recording of the activity of an organ) electrocardiography,. the method of recording the heart's electrical activity.

gynec/o (woman) gynecologist, a specialist in dis- eases of the female genital tract.

gnos/o (knowledge) prognosis, a prediction of the out- come of a disease.

hem/a, hem/of hemat/o (blood) hematoma, a local- ized collection of blood.

hemi- (one-ha1f)t1 hemiplegia, paralysis of one side of the body.

hepat/o (liver) hepatitis,. inflammation of the liver.

heter/o (other) heterogeneous,. from a different source.

hidr/o, hidrot/o (sweat) hidrosis,. excessive sweating.

hHist/o I 0 (tissue) histodialysis,. the breaking down of tis- sue.

hom/o, home/o (same, similar, unchanging. con- stant) homeostasis,. stability in an organism's normal physiological states.

hydr/o (water,. fluid) hydrocephalus,. an accumulation of cerebrospinal fluid in the skull with resulting en- largement of the head.

hypn/o (sleep) hypnotic, that which induces sleep.

hyal/o (glass) hyaline,. Glassy,. transparent.

hyper- (beyond normal, excessive) hypertension, ab- normally high blood pressure.

.hypo- (below normal, deficient,. under, beneath) hypotension, abnormally low blood pressure.

hHyster/oIa (uterus, womb) hysterectomy,. surgical re- moval of the uterus.

-iasis (condition) psoriasis,. a chronic skin condition characterized by lesions.

iIatr/o I 0 (healer,. physician) pediatJicianpediatrician, a physician that specializes in children's disorders.

-id (in a state, condition of) gravid,. pregnant.

idio (peculiar, separate. distinct) idiopathic,. occur- ring without a known cause.

ill- (negative prefix) illegible,. cannot be read.

Ile/o 10 (ileum) ileitis,. inflammation of the ileum.

ili/o (ilium) iliac,. pertaining to the ilium.

im- (negative prefix) immnunature, not mature.

in- (in, into, within) incise,. to cut into.

infra- (beneath, below) infracostal, below a rib,. or below the ribs.

inter- (between) intercostalintercostals,. between two ribs.

intra- (within) intraoral, within the mouth.

intro- (within, into) introspection, the contemplation of one's own thoughts and feelings; self-analysis.

ir/o,. irid/o (iris) iridotomy,. incision of the iris.

ischi/o (ischium) ischialgia, pain in the ischium.

-ismus (abnormal condition) strabismus,. deviation of the eye that a person cannot overcome.

iso- (same, equal, alike) isometric,. of equal dimensions.

-itis (inflammation) endocarditis,. inflammation with- in the heart.

kerat/o (cornea) keratitis,. inflammation of the cornea.

kinesi/o (movement) kinesialgia, pain upon move- ment.

labi/o (lip) labiodental, pertaining to the lip and teeth.

lact/o (milk) lactation,. the secretion of milk.

Lal/loa (talk) lalopathy,. any speech disorder.

Lapar/o I 0 (flank,. abdomen, abdominal wall) laparotomy,. an incision through the abdominal wall.

Medical Terminology * R-21

laryng/o (larynx~) laryngoscope.., an instrument for ex- amining the larynx.

lept/o (thin) leptodactylous,. having slender fingers.

leuc/o, leuk/o (white) leukemia, a malignant disease characterized by the increased development of white

blood cells.

lingu/o (tongue) sublingual, under the tongue.

lip/o (fat) lipoma, fatty tumor.

lith/o (stone) lithotriptorlithotripter,. an instrument for crushing stones in the bladder.

-logist (a person who studies) path1'wologist,. a person who studies diseases.

log/o (speak), give an account logospasms,. spas- modic speech.

-logy (study of) patho1'wlogy,. the study of disease.

lumb/o (loin) lumbago,. pain in the lumbar region.

lymph/o (lymph) lymphoduct,. a vessel of the lymph

, system.

-lysis (destruction) electrolysis,. destruction (of hair,. for example) by passage of an electric current.

macr/o (large, long) macrocephalous,. having an ab- normally large head.

mMalac/oIa (a softening) malacia, the morbid softening of a body part or tissue.

mamm/o (breast) mammmymammary,. pertaining to the breast.

-mania (mental aberration) kleptomania, the compul- sion to steal.

mast/o (breast) mastectomy. , surgical removal of the breast.

medi/o (middle) mediastinum, middle partition of the thoracic cavity. .

mega- (large) megacolon. , an abnormally large colon.

megal/o (large) megalomaniac. , a person impressed with his own greatness.

-megaly (an enlargement) cardiomegaly. , enlargement of the heart.

mMelan/oIa (dark, black) melanoma, , a tumor comprised of darkly pigmented cells.

mMenlo (month) menopause. , cessation of menstrua- tion.

mes/o (middle) mesiad. , toward the center.

meta- (change, transformation, exchange) ~ metabolism, the sum of the physical and chemical ! processes by which an organism survives.

~ metr/oIa (uterus) metralgia, pain in the uterus.


r micr/o (small) microscope. , an instrument for magni- r fyingmagnifying small objects.

r moan/oto (single, only,. sole) monoplegia, paralysis of a ! single part.

t morph/oIa (form) molrphology. , the study of form and t shape.

multi- (many, much) multipara, a woman who has given two or more live births.

myc/o, mycet/o (fungus) mycosis. , any disease caused by a fungus.

my/o (muscle) myasthenia, muscular weakness.

R-22 * Medical Terminology


myel/o (marrow, also often refers to spinal cord) myelocele, protrusion of the spinal cord through a de-

Ifectdefect in the spinal column.

myx/o (mucous, slimelike) myxoid, resembling mu-


narc/o (stupor, numbness) narcotic, an agent that in-

duces sleep. ,

nas/o (nose) oronasal, pertaining to the nose and mouth.

ne/o (new) neonate. , a newbornm infant.

necr/o (corpse) necrotic, dead (when referring to tis- sue).

Nephr/o 10 (kidney) nephralgia. , pain in the kidneys.

neur/o (nerve) neurUJitis. , inflammation of nerve path-


noct/i (night) noctambulism, sleep walking.

norm/o (rule, order, normal) normotensionrrwtension, normal blood pressure.

.nulli/i (none) nuullUiipara, a woman who has never given birth to a child.

nyct/o (night) nycturUJia, excessive urination at night. ,

ob- (against, in front of, toward) obturator. , a device that closes an opening.

oc- (against, in front of, toward) occlude. , to obstruct.

ocul/o (eye) ocular. , pertaining to the eye.

odont/o (tooth) odontalgia. , toothache.

-oid (shape, form, resemblance) ovoid, egg-shaped.

olig/o (few, deficient, scanty) oligemia. , lacking in blood volume.

-oma (tumor, swelling) adenoma, tumor of a gland.

o/0/o0- (egg) ooblast. , a primitive cell from which an ovum develops.

onych/o (nail) onychoma, tumor of a nail or nail bed.

oophor/o (ovary) oophorectomy. , a surgical removal of one or both ovaries.

-opsy (a viewing) autopsy. , postmortem examination of a body.

opthalm/o (eye) opthalmic. , pertaining to the eyes.

opt/o, optic/o (sight, vision) optometrist, a specialist I in adapting lenses for the correcting of visual defects.. or/o (mouth) oral. , pertaining to the mouth.

orch/o, orchid/o (testicle) orchitis. , inflammation of the testicles.

orth/o (straight, upright) orthopedic. , pertaining to the correction of skeletal defects.

-osis (process, an abnormal condition) dermatosis. , any skin condition.

oste/o (bone) osteomyelitis. , inflammation of bone or bone marrow.

oOt/oto (ear) otalgia. , earache.

ovariovary/ojo (ovary) ovariocele. , hernia of an ovary.

ov/i, ov/o (egg) oviduct. , a passage through which an egg passes.

pachy- (thicken) pachyderma, abnormal thickening of the skin.

palat/o (palate) palatitis. , inflammation of the palate.

pan- (all,. entire. , every) panacea, a remedy for all dis- eases,. a "cure-all."

para- (beside. , beyond. , accessory to. , apart from,. against) paranormal, beyond the natural or normal.

pPath/jo (disease) pathogen, any disease-producing agent.

-pathy (disease of a part) osteopathy, disease of a


-penia (an abnormal reduction) leukopenia, deficien- cy in white blood cells. ,: :

peps/jo, pept/jo (digestion) dyspepsia, poor digestion.

per- (throughout. , completely. , extremely) perfusion, the passage of fluid through the vessels of an organ.

peri- (around. , surrounding) pericardiumwn, the sac that surrounds the heart and the roots of the great vessels.

-pexy (fixation) splendopexy. , surgical fixation of the spleen.

pPhag/jo (eat) phagomania, an insatiable craving for .food.

pharyng/jo (throat) Pharyngospasms, spasms of the muscles of the pharynx.

pPhas/jo (speech) aphasic, unable to speak.

pPhil/jo (like, have an affinity for) necrophilia, an ab- normal interest in death.

pPhleb/jo (vein) phlebotomy, surgical incision of a vein.

-phobia (fear. , dread) claustrophobia, a fear of closed


pPhon/jo (sound) phonetic, pertaining to the voice.

pPhor/o j 0 (bear. , carry) diaphoresis, profuse sweating.

pPhot/jo (light) photosensitivity, abnormal reactivity of the skin to sunlight.

pPhren/jo (diaphragm) phrenic nerve, a nerve that car- ries messages to the diaphragm.

physiphysic/jo (nature) physiology, the science that studies the function of living things.

pPil/jo (hair) pilose,. hairy.

-plasia (development, formation) dysplasia, poor or abnormal formation.

-plasty (surgical repair) arthroplasty, surgical repair of a joint.

-plegia (paralysis) paraplegia, paralysis of the lower body., including the legs.

pPleur/ojo (rib, side, pleura) pleurisy, inflammation of the pleura.

-pnea (breath, breathing) orthopnea, difficult breath- ing except in an upright position.

pPneum/jo, pneumat/jo (air, breath) pneumatic, per- taining to the air.

pPneum/jo, pneumon/jo (lung) pneumonia, inflamma- tion of the lungs with the escape of fluid.

Pod/jo (foot) podiatrist, a specialist in the care of feet.

-poiesis (formation) hematopoiesis, formation of blood.

poly- (much, many) polychromatic, multicolored.

post- (after. , behind) postmortem, after death.

pre- (before) premature. , occurring before the proper time.

.-=-- "p:~

pro- (before. , in front of) prolapse, the falling down, or sinking of a part.

proct/o (anus) proctitis, inflammation of the rectum.

pseud/o (false) pseudoplegia, hystericall paralIysis.

psych/o (mind. soul) psychopath. , one who displays aggressive antisocial behavior.

-ptosis (abnormal dropping or sagging of a part) hysterop tos is, sagging of the uterus.

pulmon/o (lung) pulmonary. , pertaining to the lungs.

py / o 0 (pus) pyorrhea. , copious discharge of pus.

pyel/o (renal pelvis) pyelitis, inflammation of the renal pelvis.

pyr/o (fire. , fever) pyromaniac. , compulsive fire setter.

quadri- (four) quadriplegia, paralysis of all four limbs.

rach/i (spine) rachialgia, pain in the spine.

radi/o (ray,. radiation) radiology, the use of ionizing radiation in diagnosis and treatment.

re- (back, a. Against,. contrary) recurrence, the return of ; symptoms after remission.

rect/o (rectum) rectal, pertaining to the rectum.

ren/o (the kidneys) renal, pertaining to the kidneys.

retro- (located behind,. backward) retroperineal,


, hindbehind the perineum.

rhin/o (nose) rhinitis, inflammation of the mucus membranes of the nose.

-rrhage (abnormal discharge) hemorrhage, abnormal discharge of blood.

-rrhagia (hemorrhage from an organ or body part) menorrhea, excessive uterine bleeding.

-rrhea (ftlowing or discharge) diarrhea,. abnormal fre- quency and liquidity of fecal discharges.

sanguin/o (blood) exsanguinate, to lose a large vol- ume of blood either internally or externally.

sarc/o (ftlesh) sarcoma,. a malignant tumor.

schiz/o (split) schizophrenia, any of a group of emo- tional disorders characterized by bizarre behavior (er- roneously called split personality).

scler/o (hardening) scleroderma,. hardening of con- nective tissues of the body, including the skin.

-sclerosis (hardened condition) arteriosclerosis, hardening of the arteries.

scoli/o (twisted,. crooked) scoliosis, sideward devia- tion of the spine.

-scope (an instrument for observing) endoscope, an instrument for the examination of a hollow body, such as the bladder.

-sect (cut) transsect, to cut across.

semi- (one-half,. partly) semisupine, partly, but not completely, supine.

sept/o. seps/o (infection) aseptic, free from infection.

somat/o (body) psychosomatic, both psychological and physiological.

son/o (sound) sonogram,. a recording produced by the passage of sound waves through the body.

spermat/o (sperm,. semen) spermacide, ~ agent that kills sperm.

Medical Terminology * R-23

sphygm/o (pulse) sphygmomanometer, a device for measuring blood pressure in the arteries.

splen/o (spleen) splenectomy, surgical removal of the spleen.

-stasis (stopping,. controlling) hemostasis, the con- trol of bleeding.

sten/o (narrow) stenosis, a narrowing of a passage or opening.

stere/o (solid. , three-dimensional) stereoscopic, a three-dimensional appearance.

steth/o (chest) stethoscope, an instrument for listen-


ing to chest sounds.

sthen/o (strength) myasthenia, muscular weakness.

-stomy (surgically creating a new opening) colostomy, surgical creation of an opening between the colon and the surface of the body.

sub- (under. , near. , almost. , moderately) subclavian, situated under the clavicle.

t super- (above,. excess) superficial,. lying on or near the surface.

supra- (above,. over) suprapubic, situated above the pubic arch.

sym-,. syn- (joined together,. with) syndrome, a set of symptoms that occur together.

tachy- (fast) tachycardia, a very fast heart rate.

-therapy (treatment) hydrotherapy, treatment with water.

therm/o (heat) thermogenesis, the production of heat.

thorac/o (chest cavity) thoracic,. pertaining to the chest.

thromb/o (clot,. lump) thrombophlebitis, inflamma- tion of a vein.

-tome (a surgical instrument for cutting) microtome,. an instrument for cutting thin slices of tissue.

-tomy (a surgical operation on an organ or body part) thoracotomy, surgical incision of the chest wall.

R-24 * Medical Terminology


top/o (place) topographic, pertaining to special re., gions (of the body)

trache/o (trachea) tracheostomy, an opening in the neck that passes to the trachea.

trans- (through, across, beyond) transfusion, the in- troduction of whole blood or blood components directly into the bloodstream.

tri- (three) trimester, a period of three months.

trich/o (hair) trichosis, any disease of the hair.

-tripsy (surgical crushing) lithotripsy, surgical crush- ing of stones.

troph/o (nourish) hypertrophic, enlargement of an organ or body part due to the increase in the size of cells.

ultra- (beyond, excess) ultrasonic, beyond the audible range.

uni- (one) unilateral, affecting one side.

uUr/jo (urine) urinalysis, exalninationexanimation of urine. .

ureter/o (ureter) ureteritis, inflammation of a ureter.

urethrurethra/o j 0 (urethra) urethritis, inflammation of the ure-


vVas/to (vessel, duct) vasodilator, an agent that causes dilation of blood vessels. '

ven/to (vein) venipuncture, surgical puncture of a vein.

ventr /o / 0 (belly, cavity) ventral, relating to the belly or


vesic/o (blister, bladder) vesicle, a small fluid-filled blister.

viscer/o (internal organ) visceral, pertaining to the viscera (abdominal organs).

xanth/o (yellow) xanthroma, a yellow nodule in the skin.

xen/o (stranger) xenophobia, abnormal fear of

c; strangers.


xer/o (dry) xerosis, abnormal dryness (as of the mouth or eyes).

zZo/o% (animal life) zoogenous, acquired from an animal.

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