logo

Medical Terminology Reference

Word building reference  [ A ]

Use this reference to see how common medical terms are created using the various prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

[ 1 ] Quick Introduction.

[ 2 ] Word Building Reference (See below): new icon   This is a great reference to help strengthen your understanding of medical terminology.   See how common medical terms are created using the various prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

[ 3 ]  Medical Terms - Singular versus plural rules

[ 4 ]  Medical Terminology Exams  new icon   Twenty new exams were created to test your knowledge of medical terminology. 

[ 5 ]  Medical Terms - Prefixes, roots, suffixes (Reference).

Alphabetical Listing  (word building)

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I 
J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q
R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z
>Also check out the medical abbreviations section
>Link to medical terms
Prefix: A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify or change its meaning. Pre means "before." Prefixes may also indicate a location, number, or time.   
Root
: central part of a word.      
Suffix
:  The ending part of a word that modifies the meaning of the word. Example: homeless. Root = 'home' and the suffix is 'less'. It can also refer to a condition, disease, disorder, or procedure.     
 

arrowA

abdominal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: abdomin/o 
1st Root Definition: abdomen
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the abdomen

abduction

Prefix: ab-
Prefix Definition: away from
1st Root Word: duct/o
1st Root Definition: to lead; carry
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ion
Suffix Definition: process
Definition: process of leading or carrying away from

abnormal

Prefix: ab-
Prefix Definition: away from
1st Root Word: norm/o
1st Root Definition: rule; order
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to rule; order being away from

acanthoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: acanth/o
1st Root Definition: spiny thorny
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -oma
Suffix Definition: tumor; mass; fluid collection
Definition: tumor; mass being spiny; thorny

achondroplasia

Prefix: a-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word: chondr/o
1st Root Definition: cartilage
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plasia
Suffix Definition: development; formation
Definition: no development; formation of cartilage

acoustometer

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: acoust/o
1st Root Definition: hearing; sound
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -meter
Suffix Definition: measure
Definition: measuring hearing; sound

acromegaly

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: acr/o
1st Root Definition: extremities; top; extreme point
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -megaly
Suffix Definition: enlargement
Definition: enlargement of the extremities

adduction

Prefix: ad-
Prefix Definition: toward
1st Root Word: duct/o
1st Root Definition: to lead; carry
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ion
Suffix Definition: process
Definition: process of leading; carrying toward something

adenocarcinoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aden/o
1st Root Definition: gland
2nd Root Word: carcin/o
2nd Root Word Definition: cancerous; cancer
Suffix: -oma
Suffix Definition: tumor; mass; fluid collection
Definition: cancerous tumor originating from glandular tissue

adenohypophyseal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aden/o
1st Root Definition: gland
2nd Root Word: hypophys/o
2nd Root Word Definition: pituitary gland
Suffix: -eal
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the pituitary gland

adenology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aden/o
1st Root Definition: gland
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: process of studying glands

adenoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aden/o
1st Root Definition: gland
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -oma
Suffix Definition: tumor; mass; fluid collection
Definition: benign tumor of epithelial tissue with glandular origin

adenotome

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aden/o
1st Root Definition: gland
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tome
Suffix Definition: instrument to cut
Definition: instrument used to cut glands

adipocyte

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: adip/o
1st Root Definition: fat
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -cyte
Suffix Definition: cell
Definition: cells that store fat

adrenal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: adren/o
1st Root Definition: adrenal gland
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the adrenal gland

aerosinusitis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aer/o
1st Root Definition: air
2nd Root Word: sinus/o
2nd Root Word Definition: sinus
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the sinus due to difference in air pressure

ageusia

Prefix: a-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -geusia
Suffix Definition: taste
Definition: without; no taste

allopathy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: all/o
1st Root Definition: other
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pathy
Suffix Definition: disease; emotion
Definition: uses other practices to cure diseases

ambidextrous

Prefix: ambi-
Prefix Definition: around; on both sides; about
1st Root Word: dextr/o
1st Root Definition: right
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ous
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the use of both right and left hands equally

amnesia

Prefix: a-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -mnesia
Suffix Definition: memory
Definition: no memory

amniocentesis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: amni/o
1st Root Definition: amnion (sac surrounding the embryo)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -centesis
Suffix Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid
Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid from the amnion

amylase

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: amyl/o
1st Root Definition: starch
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ase
Suffix Definition: enzyme
Definition: enzyme that turns starch into sugar

amylophagia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: amyl/o
1st Root Definition: starch
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -phagia
Suffix Definition: eating; swallowing
Definition: abnormal condition of eating starch

anal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: an/o
1st Root Definition: anus
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the anus

analgesia

Prefix: an-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word: alges/o
1st Root Definition: sensitivity to pain
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition having no sensitivity to pain

analgesic

Prefix: an-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word: alges/o
1st Root Definition: sensitivity to pain
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to no sensitivity to pain

anaplasia

Prefix: ana-
Prefix Definition: up; apart; backward; again; anew
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plasia
Suffix Definition: development; formation
Definition: cell development; formation apart from other cells

androgen

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: andr/o
1st Root Definition: male
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -gen
Suffix Definition: substance that produces
Definition: substance that produces male hormones

anemia

Prefix: an-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -emia
Suffix Definition: blood condition
Definition: blood condition without or low red blood cells

anemic

Prefix: an-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -emic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to a blood condition
Definition: pertaining to blood condition without or low red blood cells

anesthesia

Prefix: an-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -esthesia
Suffix Definition: nervous sensation
Definition: no sensitivity to pain

angiogram

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: angi/o
1st Root Definition: vessel (blood)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -gram
Suffix Definition: record
Definition: record of blood vessels

angiography

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: angi/o
1st Root Definition: vessel (blood)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -graphy
Suffix Definition: process of recording
Definition: process of recording blood vessels

angiorrhexis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: angi/o
1st Root Definition: vessel (blood)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -rrhexis
Suffix Definition: rupture
Definition: rupture of a blood vessel

anisocytosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: anis/o
1st Root Definition: unequal
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -cytosis
Suffix Definition: condition of cells; slight increase in numbers
Definition: condition of red blood cells being unequal in size

anisotropic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: anis/o
1st Root Definition: unequal
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tropic
Suffix Definition: turning; changing
Definition: unequal values when measured in different directions

ankylosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: ankly/o
1st Root Definition: stiff
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -osis
Suffix Definition: condition; usually abnormal
Definition: abnormal stiffening (of a joint)

antepartum

Prefix: ante-
Prefix Definition: before; forward
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -partum
Suffix Definition: birth; labor
Definition: before labor

antipsychotic

Prefix: anti-
Prefix Definition: against
1st Root Word: psych/o
1st Root Definition: mind
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to mind altering medication

aphallia

Prefix: a-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word: phall/o
1st Root Definition: penis
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of having no penis

aphasia

Prefix: a-
Prefix Definition: no; not; without
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -phasia
Suffix Definition: speech
Definition: not being able to understand or express speech

apoptosis

Prefix: apo-
Prefix Definition: off; away
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ptosis
Suffix Definition: droop; sag; prolapse; protrude
Definition: cells that prolapse away from organisms

appendectomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: append/o
1st Root Definition: appendix
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ectomy
Suffix Definition: removal; excision; resection
Definition: removal; excision; resection of the appendix

arteriole

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arteri/o
1st Root Definition: artery
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ole
Suffix Definition: little; small
Definition: small branch of an artery leading to capillaries

arteriosclerosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arteri/o
1st Root Definition: artery
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -sclerosis
Suffix Definition: hardening
Definition: hardening of an artery

atherosclerosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: ather/o
1st Root Definition: plaque (fatty substance)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -sclerosis
Suffix Definition: hardening
Definition: deposits of plaques of fatty material on the inner walls of arteries

arthritis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arthr/o
1st Root Definition: joint
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of a joint

arthrocentesis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arthr/o
1st Root Definition: joint
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -centesis
Suffix Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid
Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid in a joint

arthrodesis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arthr/o
1st Root Definition: joint
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -desis
Suffix Definition: to bind; tie together
Definition: surgical immobilization of a joint by melding adjacent bones

articulation

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: articul/o
1st Root Definition: joint
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ation
Suffix Definition: process; condition
Definition: process; condition of being jointed

arteriostenosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: arteri/o
1st Root Definition: artery
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -stenosis
Suffix Definition: tightening; stricture
Definition: narrowing the caliber of an artery

atelocardia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: atel/o
1st Root Definition: incomplete
2nd Root Word: cardi/o
2nd Root Word Definition: heart
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of an incomplete development of the heart

atrioventricular

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: atri/o
1st Root Definition: atrium (upper heart chamber)
2nd Root Word: ventricul/o
2nd Root Word Definition: ventricle (of heart or brain)
Suffix: -ar
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the atrium and ventricle of the heart

aural

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aur/o
1st Root Definition: ear
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the ear or sense of hearing

autoimmune

Prefix: auto-
Prefix Definition: self; own
1st Root Word: immun/o
1st Root Definition: immune; protection; safe
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: immune response of an organism against any of its own tissues
or cells

auxocardia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aux/o
1st Root Definition: growth; acceleration
2nd Root Word: cardi/o
2nd Root Word Definition: heart
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of an enlarged heart

auxology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: aux/o
1st Root Definition: growth; acceleration
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of human growth

axilla

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: axill/o
1st Root Definition: armpit
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -a
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the armpit
 
 Next >
Medical Calculators - A thru Z
Lab Values - A thru Z