GlobalRPh Medical Terminology Section

Prefixes and Suffixes Medical Terminology

Common Suffixes


-a

(a is a noun ending)

cyanoderma (skin with a bluish discoloration)

Note: When a is used as a suffix, it is a noun ending; a can also be used as a prefix.

 

-ac

pertaining to cardiac (pertaining to the heart)

 

-ad

toward, increase

caudad (toward the tail or end of the body)

 

-al

pertaining to duodenal (pertaining to the duodenum)

 

-algesia

sensitivity to pain

analgesia (without sensitivity to pain)

 

-algia

pain

cephalalgia (pain in the head; a headache)

 

-ar

pertaining to ventricular (pertaining to the ventricle)

 

-ary

pertaining to; relating to pulmonary (pertaining to the lungs)

 

-ate

something that

hemolysate (something that results from hemolysis)

 

-blast

embryonic stage of development leukoblast (immature white blood cell)

 

-cele

swelling or herniation

cystocele (herniation or protrusion of the urinary bladder through the wall of the vagina)

 

-centesis

surgical puncture

amniocentesis (surgical puncture of the amniotic sac to remove fluid for laboratory analysis; an obstetrical procedure)

 

-cide

to kill; to destroy

spermicide (chemical substance that kills spermatozoa

 

-clasis

crushing or breaking up

osteoclasis (the intentional surgical fracture of a bone to correct a deformity)

 

-cyte

cell

leukocyte (white blood cell)

 

-desis

binding or surgical fusion

arthrodesis (fixation of a joint by a procedure designed to accomplish fusion of the joint surfaces)

 

dynia

pain

cephalodynia (pain in the head; a headache)

 

-e

(e is a noun ending)

dermatome (instrument used to cut the skin; i.e., thin slices of skin for grafting)

 

-eal

pertaining to esophageal (pertaining to the esophagus)

 

-ectasia

stretching or dilatation gastrectasia (stretching or dilatation of the stomach)

 

-ectomy

surgical removal

appendectomy (surgical removal of the appendix)

 

-emia

blood condition

hyperglycemia (blood condition in which there is a higher than normal level of glucose in the blood; high blood sugar)

 

-er

one who

radiographer (one who takes and processes X-rays) –

 

esis

condition of

enuresis (condition of urinary incontinence)

 

-gen

that which generates

glycogen (“that which generates sugar”)

 

-genesis

generating; formation

lithogenesis (the formation of stones)

 

-genic

pertaining to, formation, producing

lithogenic (pertaining to the formation of stones)

 

-gram

record or picture

electrocardiogram (record of the electrical activity of the heart)

 

-graph

an instrument used to record

electrocardiograph (instrument used to record the electrical activity of the heart)

 

-graphy

process of recording

electrocardiography (the process of recording the electrical activity of the heart)

 

-gravida

pregnancy

multigravida (a woman who has been pregnant more than once; “many pregnancies”)

 

-ia

condition (ia is a noun ending)

paraplegia (condition of paralysis of the lower half of the body

 

-ian

specialist in a field of study

geriatrician (specialist in the field of study of the aging)

 

-iasis

presence of an abnormal condition

cholelithiasis (abnormal presence of gallstones in the gallbladder)

 

-iatric(s)

relating to medicine, physicians, or medical treatment

pediatrics (field of medicine that deals with children)

 

-iatrician

one who treats; a physician

pediatrician (physician who treats children)

 

-iatrist

one who treats; a physician

psychiatrist (specialist in the study, treatment, and prevention of mental illness)

 

-iatry

medical treatment, medical profession

psychiatry (field of medicine that deals with the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mental illness)

 

-ic

pertaining to

thoracic (pertaining to the thorax)

 

-ical

pertaining to (-ical is the combination of ic al)

neurological (pertaining to the study of nerves)

 

-ician

specialist in a field of study

obstetrician (specialist in the field of study of pregnancy and childbirth)

 

-ile

pertaining to; capable

febrile (pertaining to fever)

 

-ion

action; process

conduction (process in which heat is transferred from one substance to another)

 

-ism

condition

hirsutism (condition of excessive body hair in a masculine distribution pattern)

 

ist

practitioner

pharmacist (practitioner who is licensed to prepare and dispense medications)

 

-itis

inflammation

appendicitis (inflammation of the appendix)

 

-ize

to make; to treat or combine with

anesthetize (to induce a state of anesthesia; to make one “feelingless”)

 

-lepsy

seizure, attack

narcolepsy (seizure or sudden attack of sleep)

 

-lith

stone

rhinolith (stone or calculus in the nose)

 

-lithiasis

presence or formation of stones

cholelithiasis (presence of gallstones)

 

-logy

the study of

biology (the study of living things)

 

-logist

one who specializes in the study of

biologist (one who specializes in the study of living things)

 

-lysis

destruction or detachment

dialysis (removal or detachment of certain elements from the blood or lymph by passing them through a semipermeable membrane)

 

-lytic

destruction

keratolytic (agent used to destroy hardened skin)

 

-mania

a mental disorder; a “madness”

megalomania (mental disorder characterized by delusions of grandeur: the patient believes he or she is someone of great importance)

 

-megaly

enlargement

cardiomegaly (enlargement of the heart)

 

-meter

an instrument used to measure

pelvimeter (instrument used to measure the diameter and capacity of the pelvis)

 

-metry

the process of measuring

pelvimetry (the process of measuring the dimensions of the pelvis)

 

-oid

Resembling

mucoid (resembling mucus)

 

-ole

small or little

arteriole (smallest branch of the arterial circulation; a “small” artery)

 

-oma

tumor

lipoma (fatty tumor) -opia visual condition myopia (a condition of near sightedness)

 

-opsia

visual condition

hemanopsia (blindness in one half of the visual field)

 

-opsy

process of viewing

biopsy (removal of a small piece of living tissue from an organ or part of the body for “viewing” under a microscope)

 

-ory

pertaining to; characterized by

auditory (pertaining to hearing)

 

-osis

condition

cyanosis (condition of blueness)

 

-ous

pertaining to

venous (pertaining to veins)

 

-pathy

disease

adenopathy (disease of a gland)

 

-penia

decrease in; deficiency

leukocytopenia (decrease in the number of white blood cells)

 

-pexy

surgical fixation

colpopexy (surgical fixation of a relaxed vaginal wall)

 

-philia

attracted to

necrophilia (abnormal attraction to dead bodies)

 

-phobia

abnormal fear

necrophobia (abnormal fear of death and dead bodies)

 

-plasia

formation or development

hyperplasia (excessive formation or development)

 

-plasty

surgical repair

rhinoplasty (surgical repair of the nose in which the structure of the nose is changed)

 

-plegia

paralysis

hemiplegia (paralysis of half of the body, of one side of the body)

 

-pnea

breathing

dyspnea (difficult breathing)

 

-ptosis

drooping or prolapse

colpoptosis (prolapse of the vagina)

 

-rrhagia

excessive flow or discharge

gastrorrhagia (bursting forth of blood from the stomach)

 

-rrhaphy

suturing

nephrorrhaphy (operation of suturing the kidney)

 

-rrhea

discharge; flow

rhinorrhea (flow or drainage from the nose)

 

-rrhexis

rupture

arteriorrhexis (rupture of an artery)

 

-scope

an instrument used to view

ophthalmoscope (instrument used to view the interior of the eye)

 

-scopy

the process of viewing with a scope

ophthalmoscopy (the process of using an ophthalmoscope to view the interior of the eye)

 

-stasis

stopping or controlling

hemostasis (stopping or controlling the flow of blood)

venostasis (the trapping or “standing still” of blood in an extremity)

 

-stomy

the surgical creation of a new opening

colostomy (surgical creation of a new opening between the colon and the surface of the body)

 

-tic

pertaining to

cyanotic (pertaining to blueness)

 

-tion

process of

relaxation (the process of reducing tension, as when a muscle relaxes after contraction)

 

-tomy

incision into

phlebotomy (incision into a vein)

 

-tripsy

intentional crushing

lithotripsy (the crushing of a stone in the bladder; may be accomplished by ultrasound or by laser)

 

-ula

small, little

macula (small pigmented spot that appears separate from the surrounding tissue)

 

-ule

“small one”

venule (smallest vein that collects blood from a capillary)

 

-um

a suffix that identifies singular nouns

duodenum (first part of the small intestines)

 

-uria

a characteristic of the urine

hematuria (presence of blood in the urine)common suffixes

 

-us

a suffix that identifies singular nouns

coccus (singular bacterium)

 

-y

(y is a noun ending)

myopathy (abnormal condition of the muscles)

 


 

Increasing your understanding of medical terminology

Word Building Reference– This resource strengthens your understanding of medical terminology. See how common medical terms are created using the various prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

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n o p q r s t u v w x y z

Medical Terminology Intuitive Section Common Suffixes in Medical Terminology
This section was developed for ‘speed learning’ of medical terminology.

a b c1 c2 d e f g h i j k l
m n o p q r s t u v w x y

Additional references:

Prefixes denoting numbers
Prefixes denoting position and/or direction
Prefixes denoting measurement
Medical Terminology Noun Suffixes
Combining forms for color
Common Prefixes
Adjective Suffixes
Specialties and specialists med terms
Instruments, surgical, and diagnostic procedures
Negative prefixes
Common suffixes


Quick Introduction– provides an overview and introduction to medical terminology.
Medical Terms – rules governing singular versus plural versions of medical terms are described.