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Medical TERMINOLOGY

Medical terminology is composed of a prefix, root word, and suffix:
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.
Additional resources:   [Intro to med terms] [Med terms rules] [Med term reference] [Word building reference]  [Practice Exams]

Alphabetical Listing of Med Terms

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

Med terms C- medical root meanings

Medical terminology is used to precisely describe the human body components, processes, illnesses, medical procedures, and pharmacology. Medical terminology is used in the field of medicine, and clinical settings. This section deals with all med terms beginning with the letter C and includes medical root meanings subject to various prefix and suffixes.

Check out the new section

This section was developed for 'speed learning' of medical terminology. Start by reviewing the meanings for a block of medical terms, and then go back and choose a previous term randomly and try to recall the meaning of that particular medical term before hovering over the term to determine the answer. These frequent mini-tests will accelerate the learning process and in a relatively short period of time, you will be able to quickly recall the meaning of all of the listed medical terms. This method of learning is superior to flash cards because of the frequent exposure and testing of your recall.

 

cac/o   bad
calc/o   calcium
calcane/o   calcaneus (heel bone)
calci/o   calcium
calcul/o, -calculia   to compute
cali/o   calyx
calic/o   calyx
calor/i   heat
campt/o   bent
capillar/o   capillary (tiniest blood vessel)
capn/o   carbon dioxide
-capnia   carbon dioxide
caps/o, capsul/o   capsule, container
carcin/o   cancerous; cancer
cari/o   caries, rottenness
cardi/o   heart
carp/o   wrist bones (carpals)
cata-   down
-cataphasia   affirmation
cathar/o, cathart/o   cleansing, purging
-cathisia, -kathisia   sitting
caud/o   tail; lower part of body
caus/o   burn; burning
cauter/o   heat; burn
cav/o, cavit/o   hollow, cavity
cec/o   cecum (first part of colon)
-cele   hernia
celi/o   belly; abdomen v
-centesis   surgical puncture to remove fluid
centr/o   center
cephal/o   head
cerebell/o   cerebellum (posterior part of the brain)
cerebr/o   cerebrum (largest part of the brain)
cerumin/o   cerumen
cervic/o   neck; cervix (neck of uterus)
-chalasia   relaxation
-chalasis   relaxation
cheil/o   lip
chem/o   drug; chemical
-chezia   defecation; elimination of wastes
chir/o   hand
chlor/o   green
chlorhydr/o   hydrochloric acid
chol/e   bile; gall
cholangi/o   bile; vessel
cholecyst/o   gallbladder
choledoch/o   common bile duct
cholesterol/o   cholesterol
chondr/o   cartilage
chore/o   dance
chori/o   chorion (outermost membrane of the fetus)
chorion/o   chorion
choroid/o   choroid layer of eye
-chroia   skin coloration
chrom/o   color
chron/o   time
chrys/o   gold
chyl/o   chyle
chym/o   to pour
cib/o   meal
-cide   killing
-cidal   pertaining to killing
cine/o   movement
circum-   around
cirrh/o   orange-yellow
cis/o   to cut
-clasis   to break
-clast   to break
claustr/o   enclosed space
clavicul/o   clavicle (collar bone)
cleid/o   clavicle
clin/o   to slope, bend
-clysis   irrigation; washing

coagul/o   coagulation (clotting)
-coccus   berry-shaped bacterium
coccyg/o   coccyx (tail bone)
cochle/o   cochlea (inner part of ear)
-coimesis   sleeping
col/o   colon (large intestine)
coll/a   glue
colon/o   colon (large intestine)
colp/o   vagina
comat/o   deep sleep
comi/o   to care for
-coma   deep sleep
con-   together; with
coni/o   dust
conjunctiv/o   conjuctiva (lines of eyelids)
consci/o   awareness, aware
constrict/o   narrowing, binding
-constriction   narrowing
contra-   against; opposite
contus/o   to bruise
cor/o   pupil
core/o   pupil
corne/o   cornea
coron/o   crown or circle  (example:  Coron/ary arteries encircle
the heart)
corpor/o   body
cortic/o   cortex, outer region
cost/o   rib
cox/o   hip
crani/o   skull
cras/o   mixture; temperament
crin/o   secrete
-crine   to secrete; separate
-crit   to separate
critic/o   crisis, dangerous
cry/o   cold
crypt/o   hidden
cubit/o   elbow, forearm
culd/o   cul-de-sac
cupr/o   copper
-cusis   hearing
cutane/o   skin
cyan/o   blue
cycl/o   ciliary body of eye; cycle; circle
-cyesis   pregnancy
cyst/o   urinary bladder; cyst; sac of fluid
cyt/o   cell
-cyte   cell
-cytosis   condition of cells; slight increase in numbers

Additional Resources

Check out the following resources to support your learning and understanding of roots, suffixes and prefixes in medical terminology:

 

 

Word Building and Medical Terms beginning with the letter
C

 

calc/o, calci/o

Prefix denoting calcium.

Calcemia 

Calcemia denotes the presence of calcium in the blood, the normal level being 8 to 10.3 mg/dL. If the calcium levels fall behind the lower limit it's called hypocalcemia, whereas if it surpassed the upper limit it's called hypercalcemia.

calcane/o           

Prefix denoting calcaneus, or heel bone. Calcaneus forms the foundation of the rear part of the foot. Found at the hindfoot, just below the talus, tibia, and fibula of the lower leg, the calcaneus is the largest bone in the foot; Plays a vital role in weight-bearing and stability.

Calcaneodynia

Calcaneodynia or heel pain, a common clinical condition, is mainly caused by stress fractures or bony or soft-tissue disorders.

 

calcul/o   

Prefix denoting calculus. The word "calculus" (plural: calculi) is the Latin form for pebble or stone. Medically, calculus is a stone, for example, renal calculus or kidney stone. Kidney stones may develop due to decreased urine volume or increased excretion of stone-forming minerals such as calcium, oxalate, urate, cystine, xanthine, or phosphate.

 

cali/o, calic/o

Prefix denoting calyx (plural: calyces). Anatomically speaking, calyces or renal calyces are the cuplike structures in the mammalian kidney, that act as reservoirs of urine before it flows into the bladder.

 

calor/i  

Latinized root word calor denoting heat or warmth.

Calorie: a unit of heat, or energy.

Calorimeter: a device used to measure heat transfer.

Calorimetry: the science of measuring heat transfer into or out of a system during a chemical reaction or physical process.

 

campt/o          

The Greek roots "campo" or "campto" denotes
"bent"
.

Campomelic dysplasia

Campomelic dysplasia (CMPD), a rare form of ‘bent-bone’ skeletal dysplasia, is often a life-threatening condition in newborn babies. A relatively large head with a flat face, small lower jaw, cleft palate, abnormally developed sex organs, and spine deformities are other characteristics of CMPD.

 

capillar/o              

Prefix denoting capillary (plural: capillaries).

Capillaries are tiny blood vessels that connect the arterial system to the venous system. The walls of capillaries act as semipermeable membranes that permit the exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, nutrients, and waste between the bloodstream and the tissues of the body.

 

capn/o, -capnia

Greek (kapno) for carbon dioxide.

Capnography

Also known as end-tidal CO2 monitoring, capnography assesses ventilation. It consists of a numerical readout and a waveform. The numerical readout is capnometry, which is the partial pressure of carbon dioxide in exhaled air; also called the end-tidal CO2 (ETCO2), the normal value of which is 35-45 mmHg. The capnograph is the waveform, denoting a patient’s cardio-respiratory system.

Hypercapnia

Hypercapnia, or hypercarbia, is elevated levels of CO2 in the blood; PaCO2 greater than 45 mm Hg.

 

Hypocapnia

Hypocapnia, or hypocarbia, is when the CO2 level in blood is lower than normal; pCO2 less than 35 mmHg.

 

caps/o, capsul/o             

Prefix denoting capsule, container, or sac-like enclosure. The renal capsule, for example, is the membranous sheath surrounding the kidney.

 

carcin/o                 

Prefix denoting cancer. Used to form compound words such as carcinogen or carcinoma.

Carcinogen

Agent or factor that can cause cancer. Chemicals, medical or environmental radiation, some viruses, lifestyle factors, and even some drugs, for example.

Carcinoma

Carcinoma is cancer or malignancy that begins in the epithelial cells and accounts for about 80 to 90 percent of all cancer cases. There are different subtypes:

  • Basal cell carcinoma - only develops in the skin
  • Adenocarcinoma - develops in an organ or gland
  • Squamous cell carcinoma - originates in the squamous epithelium Renal cell carcinoma - develops in the renal tubules.

Skin, kidney, liver, and breast cancers are the most common causes of carcinoma.

 

cari/o     

Prefix denoting caries or rottenness especially, tooth decay.

Dental caries

Dental caries, or cavities, most commonly known as tooth decay, is the erosion of tooth enamel caused by bacteria and dietary sugars.

 

cardi/o   

Prefix denoting heart; Latinized form of Greek kardia = heart.

Cardiac: Pertaining to the heart. Cardiac muscle, for example. Cardiac muscle or myocardium is an involuntary striated muscle tissue found only in the heart. It performs coordinated contractions, forcing blood throughout the body.

Cardiac tamponade

Compression of the heart due to accumulation of pericardial fluid (exudate, transudate, or blood) in the pericardial sac. It impairs cardiac filling.

Cardiology

Cardiology is a medical specialty concerned with the structure and function of the heart. It also deals with the diagnosis and treatment of the disorders of the heart. A cardiologist is a doctor who diagnoses, assesses, and treats diseases of the cardiovascular system.

Cardiograph

A non-invasive diagnostic instrument that registers the duration and intensity of the heart’s movements

Cardiogram

The graphic output a cardiogram produces. It is used to determine the structure and function of the heart, as well as in assessing the potential and established heart disorders.

Cardiocentesis

Surgical puncture of the heart, for removing effusion or tamponade (cardio = heart; -centesis =surgical puncture).

Cardiomegaly

The medical term for a bigger-than-normal heart. It is not a disease, but rather a leading sign of coronary artery diseases, heart valve problems, or arrhythmias.

 

Cardiomyopathy

A progressive disease of the myocardium, or the heart muscle, in which the heart is abnormally enlarged, thickened, or rigid. As a result, the heart fails to pump blood efficiently and maintain a normal electrical rhythm. Cardiomyopathy is a leading cause of heart failure, irregular heartbeats, and heart valve problems and the most common reason for needing a heart transplant.

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation

Cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), the first-aid given to provide oxygenation and circulation to the body during cardiac arrest.

Cardiovascular disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD), a group of diseases, whether congenital or acquired, of the heart and the blood vessels. Among the most important are coronary or ischemic heart disease, atherosclerosis, and stroke.

Cardiovascular system

The cardiovascular system, or the circulatory system, is a network composed of the heart as a centralized pump, blood vessels that distribute blood throughout the body, and the blood itself, for transportation of gases and nutrients.

 

carp/o

Prefix denoting carpus = wrist.

Carpal bone

Carpus or wrist is made up of eight small irregularly shaped bones that are seated in two neat rows of four. Carpal bones join the hand to the two long bones in the forearm — the radius and ulna. The eight carpal bones are: Scaphoid, Lunate, Trapezium, Trapezoid, Capitate, Hamate, Triquetrum, and Pisiform.

 

-cataphasia        

Suffix denoting acataphasia. Acataphasia is a speech disorder where the same word or phrase is repeated involuntarily.

cathar/o, cathart/o       

From Greek katharsis, meaning ‘purification’, ‘cleansing, or ‘purging’.

Cathartic

A purgative drug or substance. A cathartic is administered to stimulate peristalsis, to increase the fluid level in the gut, to soften feces after surgery, to cleanse the bowel before endoscopy, or to remove toxins from the stomach.

 

-cathisia, -kathisia

Suffix denoting "to sit".

Akathisia (Greek = "not to sit")

A neuropsychiatric syndrome manifested by a compelling need to move and not to sit still. Akathisia is a side effect of older antipsychotic drugs but it can occur with newer antipsychotics as well. Health conditions such as Parkinson's disease, brain injury, or encephalitis can also bring on akathisia.

 

caud/o  

Prefix denoting tail, or hind/posterior part of the body.  Related terms include caudal anesthesia and caudal canal.

 

caus/o  

Prefix denoting "burning" or "corroding".

Causalgia

Often referred to as Type 2 Complex Regional Pain Syndrome (CRPS II), causalgia is intense burning pain and extreme sensitivity to the slightest touch, usually in the hand or foot. The pain is generally localized to the wound site; the most common being the brachial plexus. Occurs after an injury to a peripheral nerve

 

cauter/o

Prefix denoting "heat" or "burn".

Cautery

Heat or caustic agents that can burn and destroy abnormal cells or tissue. Cauterization can be either electrocautery (using electricity) or chemical (using chemicals such as silver nitrate) cautery. Electrocauterization is often used in tumor removal.

 

cav/o, cavit/o

Prefix denoting cavity - a hollow area or space.

Anatomically, a body cavity is a fluid-filled space that houses and protects internal organs, or viscera. The two main cavities are the ventral and dorsal cavities. The ventral cavity is further subdivided into thoracic and abdominopelvic cavities by the diaphragm. Whereas the dorsal cavity is subdivided into the cranial and spinal cavities.

 

cec/o    

Prefix denoting cecum.

Cecum

A large, thin-walled pouch that forms the first part of the large intestine. Found at the junction between the ileum and colon at the right side of the abdomen, the cecum serves as the reservoir of undigested food which it receives from the ileum.

 

-cele     

Prefix denoting swelling or hernia in an organ or tissue.

Hydrocele

A hydrocele is the swelling in the scrotum, the pouch that holds testicles. It is most common in babies however it can affect males of any age.

Vesicocele

Herniation of the bladder into the vaginal canal; also called a cystocele.

Varicocele

Swelling or enlargement of pampiniform plexus, the venous network in the scrotum. Caused by sluggish blood flow or vein dysfunction, varicocele affects 1 in 5 men and can lead to infertility.

Omphalocele

Congenital herniation of abdominal organs due to abdominal wall defect. As a result, the anterior abdomen does not close properly allowing the abdominal organs to stick outside through the umbilical cord.

 

celi/o

Prefix denoting belly or abdomen.

Celiopathy

The medical term for abdominal diseases

Celiac Disease

A digestive disorder caused by an autoimmune reaction to gluten; gluten elicits inflammation in the small intestinal mucosa, thereby preventing nutrient absorption causing malnutrition. It can even lead to permanent intestinal damage.

 

-centesis    

Suffix denoting puncture or perforation; usually to remove the fluid.

Abdominocentesis

Also referred to as paracentesis, abdominocentesis involves surgical puncture of the abdomen to obtain peritoneal fluid for testing or to diagnose abdominal pathology.

 

Amniocentesis

Surgical puncture of the amniotic sac to remove the amniotic fluid. It is a prenatal test used to diagnose chromosomal abnormalities and fetal infections as well as for sex determination.

Arthrocentesis

Arthrocentesis, or joint aspiration, involves surgical puncture of the joint to remove the synovial fluid.

Pericardiocentesis

Pericardiocentesis (PCC), also called pericardial tap, is the surgical puncture of the heart to remove the pericardial fluid. Usually done for the early management or diagnosis of symptomatic pericardial effusion and cardiac tamponade.

Culdocentesis

Transvaginal puncture and peritoneal fluid aspiration from the posterior cul-de-sac (pouch of Douglas). Though rarely performed ever since the availability of ultrasound, culdocentesis is used to diagnose ascites, hemoperitoneum (bleeding into the peritoneal cavity), ectopic pregnancy, and ruptured ovarian cysts.

Thoracentesis

Thoracentesis, or pleural tap, involves removing excess pleural fluid from the space between the chest wall and lung. Pleural effusion, infection, and lung cancer are the most common reasons for doing a thoracentesis.

 

cephal/o            

Prefix denoting head.

Cephalodynia - headache

Cephalalgia

The medical term for headaches. Cephalalgia can be primary cephalalgia with no known cause, (migraine, tension-type headache, and cluster headache) or secondary cephalalgia resulting from another illness that involves cephalalgia and, generally, other symptoms.

 

cerebell/o            

Prefix denoting cerebellum. Literally "little brain", the cerebellum is the largest part of the hindbrain responsible for movement execution and motor control.

 

cerebr/o         

Prefix denoting cerebrum. Cerebrum, the uppermost and the largest part of the brain.

Accounting for two-thirds of the total weight of the brain, the cerebrum consists of right and left hemispheres connected by a bundle of nerve fibers called the corpus callosum. The cerebrum is divided into four sections called lobes: the frontal, temporal, parietal, and occipital. Each handles specific functions such as motor function, cognition, sensory impulse interpretation, speech, and emotional responses.

 

cerumin/o         

From Latin cera denoting wax.

Cerumen

Commonly known as the ear wax, cerumen is an oily emulsion in the external auditory canal (EAC). It coats and protects the ear canal, taps fine dust, and repels water away from tympanic membranes. The acidic nature of cerumen prevents bacterial growth, thus aiding in the prevention of ear infections.

Ceruminous gland

Specialized apocrine sweat glands that secrete cerumen into the external auditory canal.

 

cervic/o               

Prefix denoting neck or a cervix.

Cervix

The lowest part of the uterus protruding into the vaginal cavity.

Cervical vertebrae

The first seven stacked bones of the neck or cervical spine; labeled as C1 through C7.

Cervicitis

Infectious or noninfectious swelling or inflammation of the cervix.

Cervical spondylosis

Also called arthritis of the neck, cervical spondylosis, is the wear and tear changes of the bones, discs, and joints of the neck.

 

-chalasia, -chalasis

Greek khálasis = "relaxation.

Achalasia

An esophageal motility disorder where the esophagus fails to move food into the stomach. It occurs due to impaired esophageal peristalsis and failure of the lower esophageal sphincter (LES) to relax.

 

cheil/o   

Prefix denoting lip.

Cheiloplasty

Cheiloplasty, or lip surgery, cosmetic intervention to correct a defect of the lip - cleft palate, for example.

Cheilosis

Cheilosis, or cheilitis, inflammation of the lip or corners of the mouth. Cheilitis can be angular, contact, exfoliative, actinic, glandular, granulomatous, plasma cell, or simplex.

 

chem/o 

Prefix denoting chemical or drug.

Chemotherapy

Use of cytotoxic drugs or chemicals to treat any disease. For example, cancer treatment to kill rapidly proliferating cells.

 

 

-chezia   

Suffix denoting "to defecate" or "to eliminate".

Dyschezia

Strained or painful defecation; can be congenital or acquired.

Hematochezia

Hematochezia refers to fresh blood in the stool, usually from the colon or rectum. Bleeding can also arise from hemorrhoids, the blood vessels present in the smooth muscles of the rectal or anal wall.

 

chir/o     

Prefix denoting hand.

Chiropractic

A complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) that uses hands-on spinal manipulation and adjustment to heal the body. Chiropractic treatment appears to be effective for relieving pain and spasms.

chlor/o  

Prefix denoting green or greenish hue.

Chlorophyll 

A green photosynthetic pigment found in plants; chlorophyll is the reason why plants are green.

 

chlorhydr/o      

Prefix denoting hydrochloric acid.

Hydrochloric acid

Chemically, a colorless, aqueous solution of hydrogen chloride gas. Hydrochloric acid (HCl) is the main component of gastric juice produced by the parietal cells of the stomach lining. HCl acts as the primary digestant, especially of proteins by activating pepsinogen, the precursor to proteolytic pepsin. This corrosive chemical also acts as a disinfectant, fighting off bacteria.

 

 

chol/e

Prefix denoting bile or gall.

Cholecystectomy 

Laparoscopic removal of a diseased gallbladder; procedure of choice for symptomatic gallstones and other gallbladder conditions.

Cholecystitis

Swelling or inflammation of the gallbladder, accompanied by right upper abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and/or fever; caused by cystic duct obstruction by a gallstone.

Cholecystography

Radiography of the gallbladder and biliary channels, following the oral administration of a radiopaque dye. The cholecystogram helps define gallbladder diseases and their treatment.

Cholelithiasis

Symptomatic or asymptomatic presence of gallstones in the gallbladder.

 

cholangi/o        

Prefix denoting bile vessel.

Cholangiocytes

The heterogeneous population of epithelial cells that line epithelial cells that line intrahepatic and extrahepatic bile ducts.

Cholangiography 

X-ray of the bile duct; one of the first tests done to observe obstruction, bile leak, malignancy, and congenital cysts. Two major types of cholangiography are intravenous cholangiography and percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography.

Cholangiocarcinoma

Malignancies of the biliary duct epithelium.

 

choledoch/o     

Prefix denoting common bile duct.

Choledochectomy

Surgical removal of the common bile duct; performed when neoplastic, traumatic, or inflammatory diseases affect the duct.

Choledochitis

Acute or chronic inflammation of the common bile duct arising from infections, jaundice, or liver damage.

Choledocholith

Common bile duct stone; occurs when gallstones obstruct the common bile duct and bile fails to flow past it, instead of backing up into the liver.

Choledology

Study of the common bile duct, its role in bile transfer, and associated diseases.

 

cholesterol/o     

Prefix denoting cholesterol.

Cholesterol

A waxy fat, or lipid produced naturally by the liver, and also comes from eating certain foods, such as meat, poultry, and dairy products. The main function of cholesterol is in the synthesis of bile acids steroid hormones and vitamin D synthesis as well as maintaining cellular membrane rigidity and fluidity.

Cholesterolemia

A condition referring to circulatory cholesterol. Cholesterolemia can be hypercholesterolemia (blood cholesterol level >200 mg/dl) or hypocholesterolemia (blood cholesterol level <160 mg/dL).

 

chondr/o      

Prefix denoting cartilage.

Chondrectomy - the cutting or removal of cartilage

Chondrin - a resilient bluish-white gelatinous substance that forms the matrix of cartilage

Chondritis - Infection or inflammation of the cartilage

Chondroblast- progenitor cells that form cartilage

Chondroblastoma - a benign cartilaginous neoplasm

 

chori/o   chorion/o         

Prefix denoting chorion.

Chorion

The outermost extraembryonic membranes surrounding the developing embryo. In mammals, chorion eventually becomes the fetal part of the placenta.

 

choroid/o             

Prefix denoting choroid.

Choroid

The vascular layer between the retina and the sclera. The choroid provides oxygen and nourishment to the outer retina and maintains the eye’s volume and temperature.

 

-chroia  

Suffix denoting skin coloration or complexion.

Dyschroia  - skin discoloration or dark complexion due to certain skin conditions.

 

chrom/o        

Prefix denoting pigment or color.

Chromocyte - a pigmented cell, as in red blood cells or erythrocyte.

Chromoendoscopy - a dye-based endoscopic technique, used to diagnose malignancies or diseases of the gastrointestinal tract.

Chromogenesis- the biosynthesis of colors, particularly applied to microorganisms.

Chromophobe - resistance to stains or dyes.

Chromatophobia - fear or aversion to colors; also known as chromophobia.

Chromosomes - organized bundles of tightly coiled DNA found in the nucleus of the cell; named so because they are stainable by colorful dyes.

 

chron/o 

Prefix denoting time.

Chronobiology

The science of biological clock or circadian rhythm.

 

chrys/o  

Prefix indicating gold.

Chrysiasis

Blue-gray skin pigmentation induced by gold salt therapy (aurotherapy), used in the treatment of infectious, rheumatoid, and psoriatic arthritis.

 

chyl/o

Prefix denoting chyle.

Chyle

A mixture of lymphatic fluid and chylomicrons, formed in the small intestine during fat digestion.

 

chym/o  

Prefix denoting juice or to pour.

Chyme

A partially digested, acidified mass of food and gastric juices passes from the stomach into the small intestine.

-cide -cidal           

Suffix denoting killing.

Bacteriocidal

Bacterial killing; as in bactericidal drugs.

Fungicidal

Killing fungi or their spores.

Spermicidal

Immobilizing or killing sperms; contraceptive.

 

cine/o    

Prefix denoting movement.

Cineangiography

Motion-picture recording of fluoroscopic images of the blood vessels, for diagnosing cardiovascular diseases.

 

circum-

Prefix denoting around or encircling.

Circumcision

The surgical removal of the foreskin or the prepuce covering the glans penis.

 

 

cirrh/o  

Prefix denoting orange-yellow.

Cirrhosis

An irreversible diseased condition of the liver, characterized by jaundice, cholestasis, liver enlargement, and edema. The term 'cirrhosis' comes from Greek kirrhos, meaning
"orange-yellow", which is the color of the cirrhotic liver.

 

 

-clasis   -clast     

Suffix denoting anything that destroys, or resorbs. Osteoclast, for example.

Osteoclast, specialized multinucleated giant cells that dissolute and resorb bone; plays a key role in bone remodeling.

 

claustr/o             

Prefix denoting an enclosed or confined space.

Claustrophobia

An intense horror of being shut up in small, confined spaces such as closets, elevators, rooms, caves, or other enclosed areas.

 

 

clavicul/o             

Prefix denoting clavicle or collarbone.

Clavicle

An elongated, S-shaped bone that extends between the sternum and the acromial end of the scapula; simply, the collarbone.

Clavicular

Of or related to clavicle

 

 

cleid/o  

Prefix denoting clavicle or collarbone.

Cleidomastoid

The collar bone which articulates with the shoulder and sternum on either end to form the sternocleidomastoid muscles ((SCM), the paired neck muscle.

Cleidocranial dysplasia

A rare inherited condition characterized by abnormal growth of collarbones and skull.

 

clin/o      

Prefix denoting slope, bend, slant, or inclination.

Clinometer

An instrument used for measuring elevation angles or tilt.

 

-clysis  

Suffix denoting irrigation or washing.

Enteroclysis

Rectal injection of large quantities of water, to clear the colon of the feces, mucus, or gas; done before radiography of the small intestine or certain surgeries to cleanse the bowel.

 

coagul/o            

Prefix denoting coagulation.

Coagulation

The process by which a liquid transforms into a solid, especially of the blood. In physiology, coagulation, or clotting results in hemostasis, the cessation of blood loss from a wound site, followed by repair.

Coagulants

Substances that induce coagulation.

 

coccus  

Spherical, ovoid, or generally a berry-shaped, bacterium. Examples are enterococcus, meningococcus, pneumococcus, staphylococcus, and streptococcus.

 

coccyg/o

Prefix denoting coccyx.

Coccyx

The tailbone; the terminal part of the vertebral column, representing a vestigial tail in apes and humans. Comprising three to five coccygeal vertebrae, the coccyx serves as the attachment point for multiple muscles, ligaments, and tendons. In humans, the coccyx provides weight-bearing support when in a seated position.

 

 

cochle/o               

Prefix denoting cochlea.

Cochlea

A hollow, snail-shell like structure that makes up the hearing part of the inner ear ('cochlea' is the Greek word for snail). The cochlea is composed of sensory hair cells and auditory ganglion neurons, which translate vibrations into neural messages. These messages are then carried up to the brain.

 

-coimesis              

Suffix denoting sleep or sleeping.

Dyscoimesis

Sleep disorder; trouble falling or staying asleep.

 

col/o colon/o 

Prefix denoting colon or large intestine.

Colon

A tubular organ that begins at the end of the small intestine, where it is called the cecum and ends at the rectum. The colon makes up the longest part of the large intestine and is subdivided into four parts: ascending, transverse, descending, and sigmoid colon. The colon works alongside other abdominal organs to remove waste and maintain fluid and electrolyte balance.

 

Colonoscopy

A diagnostic test that views the inside of the colon and rectum, using a colonoscope (a flexible tube with a mini camera); used to screen for colorectal cancer and colorectal polyps.

 

colp/o  

Prefix denoting vagina.

Colpitis

Infection or inflammation of the vagina; vaginitis.

Colpotomy

A colpotomy, also known as a vaginectomy, is a procedure where an incision is made in the vaginal wall to diagnose an ectopic pregnancy or to perform pelvic surgery.

Colpodynia

Vaginal pain.

Colposcopy

A gynecological examination done to check the vulva, vaginal walls, and uterine cervix for abnormalities or vaginal bleeding. It is also used to evaluate an abnormal Pap smear.

 

Colpopexy

Surgical correction of apical prolapse (descent of the uterus or vaginal vault; often associated with a vaginal birth or hysterectomy).

 

comat/o          

Prefix denoting coma.

Coma    

Coma, or deep sleep, a state where the patient is in an unresponsive state and is aware of neither external environment nor inner needs; caused by brain injury or dysfunction of the brain stem or both cerebral hemispheres.

Comatose

Being unconscious or in a coma stage.

 

 

coni/o    

Prefix indicating dust.

Coniofibrosis

Lung fibrosis caused by dust inhalation.

Coniophage

Alveolar macrophages that ingest dust particles.

Coniophobia

Irrational fear of dust.

 

 

conjunctiv/o        

Pertaining to the conjunctiva. A thin, transparent, vascularized mucous membrane that covers the anterior surface of the eyeball and posterior side of the eyelids; keeps the eye moist and lubricated.

Conjunctivitis

Inflammation of the conjunctiva; also called pink eye.

 

 

consci/o             

Prefix denoting awareness or having knowledge of.

 

 

constrict/o   -constriction              

Combining form denoting narrowing.

Vasoconstriction

Narrowing of the blood vessels (arteries, arterioles, and veins); occurs when the smooth muscles in blood vessels tighten. Also called vasospasm, vasoconstriction keeps the body in a healthy balance.

 

contra-  

Prefix denoting against; the opposite.

Contraceptive

Any device or medication that works against conception; birth control.

 

contus/o            

Prefix denoting agitated, to bruise, or shaken together.

Contusion

A contusion, or bruise, is caused when an injured or broken blood vessel leaks blood into the surrounding area; a common sports injury.

 

cor/o     core/o 

Prefix denoting pupil.

Anisocoria

Unequal pupil sizes caused by trauma, inflammation of the optic nerve, tumor, aneurysm, or concussion.

 

 

corne/o  

Indicating cornea. The cornea is the clear, dome-shaped multi-layered sheet of cells covering the front of the eye. It serves as the eye's protective barrier and the first point of entry for light.

Corneal abrasion

A superficial scratch on the cornea, commonly caused by an eyelash, fingernail, dust, or contact lens.

Corneal transplant

Surgical replacement of a damaged or diseased cornea with healthy corneal tissue; also called keratoplasty, or corneal grafting.

 

coron/o  

Prefix denoting crown or encircle, as in coronary arteries. They are a pair of arteries that branch from the aorta and encircle the heart in the manner of a slightly crooked crown. The word
"coronary" is derived from the Greek "koron" meaning crown.

 

 

corpor/o     

Prefix denoting body or body system.

Corporeal

Of or related to a physical form or body.

 

cortic/o

Prefix denoting cortex or outer region.

In anatomy and zoology, the cortex or cortical may refer to the outermost region of an organ (bones, kidney, and brain), or a  gland (adrenal).

 

 

cost/o   

Prefix denoting rib.

Costochondral joint

Joints where each rib connects with its costal cartilage.

Costochondritis

Tenderness or swelling of the costochondral junctions of ribs or chondrosternal joints of the anterior chest wall.

 

 

cox/o   

Prefix denoting hip.

Coxa vara

A progressive childhood deformity of the hip.

Coxitis

Inflammation of the hip(s), caused by trauma, arthritis, or sepsis.

 

 

crani/o

Prefix denoting cranium or skull.

Cranial cavity

The cranial cavity, or intracranial space, houses and protects the brain, its meninges, and vasculature.

Craniotomy

Surgical removal of bone flap, a section of the skull, to better access the brain. Usually done either to remove a tumor and blood clots or to treat an aneurysm.

 

crin/o    -crine    

Combining forms denoting to secrete; separate. For example, endocrine (secreting internally) and exocrine (secreting externally) glands.

 

 

critic/o   

Prefix denoting a crisis, dangerous situation, or an emergency.

 

cry/o      

Prefix denoting cold, icy, or frost.

Cryogenics

Branch of modern science that deals with the production and uses of a wide variety of materials at ultra-low temperatures.

Cryonics

Ultra-low temperature freezing of corpses or a severed head.

Cryotherapy

Therapeutic application of extremely cold dry air, between −110°C and −140°C - to treat skin conditions such as warts. It is also used in prostate, cervical, and liver cancer treatment.

 

 

crypt/o

Prefix denoting hidden or covered.

Cryptogenic

Of hidden or unknown origin, as in Cryptogenic cirrhosis (cirrhosis of uncertain etiology)

 

 

cubit/o 

Prefix denoting elbow, forearm.

Cubital fossa

The cubital fossa, chelidon, or elbow, a triangular-shaped depression located between the anatomical arm and the forearm; also known as
"antecubital".

Cubital Tunnel Syndrome

A peripheral nerve compression syndrome, where the ulnar nerve at the elbow becomes compressed or irritated at the elbow.

 

 

culd/o  

Of or related to the cul-de-sac. Also known as the pouch of Douglas, cul-de-sac is a small fluid-filled pouch in the female pelvis located between the uterus and the rectum.

 

 

cupr/o  

Prefix denoting copper, one of the essential nutrients for the body. Trace amounts of this heavy metal are needed in red blood cell production, iron absorption, regulation of heart rate and blood pressure, bone development, and strengthening the immune system.

 

-cusis    

Suffix denoting hearing.

Presbycusis

Progressive hearing loss in both ears; commonly linked to aging.

 

 

cutane/o        

Prefix denoting skin.

Cutaneous membrane

Skin; a  multi-layered membrane composed of epithelial and connective tissues; covers and protects the outside of the body.

Cutaneous respiration

Breathing through the skin; typical examples are frogs and earthworms.

Cutaneous Nerves

Mixed peripheral nerve supplying to the nerve endings, smooth muscle, and glands.

 

 

cyan/o 

Prefix denoting blue.

Cyanosis

An unusual bluish or purplish tinge in the skin and mucous membranes; usually due to lack of oxygen in the blood.

Cyanoderma

Same as cyanosis. Bluish discoloration of the skin.

 

cycl/o   

Prefix denoting a circle or cycle; the ciliary body of the eye.

Cycloplegia

Paralysis of the ciliary muscle resulting in vision impairment. Ophthalmologists use a cycloplegic eye drop to temporarily paralyze the ciliary body, to measure vision problems

Iridocyclitis

Inflammation of the iris and ciliary body caused by an injury to the eye or infections,

 

 

-cyesis

Suffix denoting pregnancy.

Pseudocyesis

Pseudocyesis, or phantom pregnancy, a rare condition characterized by the typical pregnancy symptoms except for the presence of a fetus.

 

 

cyst/o    

Prefix denoting urinary bladder or cyst.

Cyst

Abnormal closed sac-like structures, typically filled with fluid, air, or solid material. Cysts are often the result of an infection or clogged glands like sebaceous glands. Cysts can occur anywhere in the body - skin, meibomian glands of the eye, breast, hair follicles, sweat glands, ovary, pancreas, or kidney.

 

 

cyt/o -cyte

Suffix denoting a cell. Examples include erythrocyte (RBC), leukocyte (WBC), and lymphocyte.

-cytosis  

A condition where there are irregular or unusual numbers of cells, as in leukocytosis (elevated leukocyte or white blood cell count) and lymphocytosis (elevated lymphocyte count).

 

Med terms C- medical root meanings