GlobalRPh Medical Terminology Section

Prefixes and Suffixes Medical Terminology

Prefixes Denoting Position and/or Direction 


ab-

From, away from.

abduct (to move away from the midline of the body)

 

ad-

Toward, increase.

adduct (movement toward the midline of the body)

 

ambi-

Both, both sides.

ambidextrous (able to use both hands well)

 

ante

Before, in front.

antecubital (“the space” in front of the elbow)

 

circum-

Around.

circumoral (around the mouth)

 

de-

Down, from

descend (to come down from)

Prefixes Denoting Positiondia-

Through.

diagnosis (knowledge through testing)

 

ecto-

Outside

ectopic (outside of its normal location)

 

endo-

Within

endocervical (pertaining to the inner lining of the cervix)

 

epi-

Upon, over

epigastric (upon the stomach)

 

ex-

Out, away from, outside

extract (to remove a tooth from [away from] the oral cavity)

 

exo-

Outside, outward

exogenous (originating outside the body)

 

extra-

Outside, beyond

extrahepatic (outside of the liver)

 

hypo-

Under, below, beneath, less than normal

hypoglossal (under the tongue)

 

 in-

In, inside, within, not

intubate (to insert a tube inside [into] an organ or body cavity)

 

infra-

Beneath, below, under

infrapatellar (below the knee)

 

inter-

Between

intercostal (between the ribs)

 

intra-

Within

intravenous (within a vein)

 

juxta-

Near, beside

juxtaarticular (pertaining to a location near a joint)

 

meso-

Middle

mesoderm (the middle of the three layers of the skin)

 

para-

Near, beside, beyond, two like parts

paracervical (near, or beside, the cervix)

 

peri-

Around

perianal (around the anus)

 

pre-

Before, in front

precordial (the region “of the chest wall” in front of the heart)

 

pro-

In front, before

prognosis (knowledge before)

 

re-

Back, again

reactivate (to make active again)

 

retro-

Backward, behind

retroflexion (an abnormal position of an organ in which the organ is tilted backward)

 

sub-

Under, below

sublingual (under the tongue)

 

supra-

Above, over

suprapubic (above, or over, the pubic area)

 

trans-

Across, through

transurethral (across, or through, the urethra)

 

 

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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Medical Terminology Intuitive Section Prefixes Denoting Position and Direction
This section was developed for ‘speed learning’ of medical terminology.

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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.