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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


GlobalRPh Medical Terminology Section- Letter Z

Prefixes and Suffixes Medical Terminology beginning with Z

Medical terminology is used to precisely describe the human body components, processes, illnesses, medical procedures, and pharmacology. Medical terms are used in the field of medicine, and clinical settings. This section deals with all med terms beginning with the letter Z, and features medical roots, prefixes and suffixes. Introduction to Medical Terminology.

Medical Terminology - Letter Z 


pertaining to or containing the element zinc


animal life


girdle, belt


union, junction, pair, yoke, tied together


enzyme, ferment




Word Building and Medical Terms beginning with the letter Z





Prefix denoting element zinc.

A trace element and a micronutrient, zinc is essential for cell division, immune function, protein, and DNA synthesis, and enhancing brain function. Approximately 250-300 of the body’s proteins need zinc as a cofactor. Zinc also enables testosterone production in men.



From Greek zōion denoting animal life.


Study of animals, from tiny insects to the largest blue whale. Zoologists investigate the classification, evolution, anatomy, physiology, behaviors, and ecological distribution of the Animal kingdom.



Denoting an encircling area or structure, belt-like, or girdle.

Zona Pellucida

A relatively thick, extracellular coat surrounding all mammalian eggs. Zona pellucida plays a vital role in oogenesis, fertilization, sperm binding, and preventing polyspermy and ectopic pregnancy. To fertilize the egg, the sperm must penetrate the zona pellucida. After fertilization, zona pellucida degenerates and decomposes, to permit implantation.


Zona glomerulosa

The outermost layer of the adrenal cortex that secretes mineralocorticoids, mainly aldosterone. Aldosterone is vital in regulating the uptake of K+ and Na+ levels in the kidney.

Zona fasciculata

The middle and the largest layer of the adrenal cortex that secretes glucocorticoids, especially cortisol. Cortisol helps control blood glucose, regulates metabolism, and mediates stress response.



Greek zugon denoting union, fusion, pair, yoke, or pair.


The first diploid cell formed from the fusion of haploid oocyte (egg) and spermatozoa (sperm). In humans and other animals, the zygote, then, undergoes a series of divisions and grows into an embryo.


Process of formation of a zygote.



Prefix indicating fermentation. Greek zym = ferment


Fermentation Science, Zymurgy, or Zymology, studies alcoholic fermentation, biochemical changes, and industrial significance. The first zymologist was Louis Pasteur, who is best known as the father of immunology. It was he who first discovered and connected the presence of yeast as an enabler of fermentation.



Zymogens, or proenzymes, are inactive enzyme precursors that upon hydrolysis become catalytically active enzymes. Proteases (enzymes that hydrolyze proteins) are synthesized as zymogens in the stomach and pancreas. For example, the pancreas secretes proteolytic trypsin as the zymogen, trypsinogen. It is converted into fully active trypsin in the small intestine by the action of the enterokinase enzyme.


Synthesis of a zymogen.




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




Increasing your understanding of medical terminology

Additional references:

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.

Medical Terminology Intuitive Section hot-anim 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.