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Medical Terminology

As an EMT, you will probably never have to use

more than a few medical terms in the course of your
pre-hospital emergency care activities. and most of
them will probably deal with parts of the body.
Physicians and nurses prefer EMTs to speak in other
than medical terms. But if you are an avid reader,
much of what you read is likely to be freely
sprinkled with medical terms, and if you cannot
translate them you may not understand what you
are reading.
Medical terms are comprised of words, word
roots, combining forms, prefixes, and suffixes-all
little words, if you will, and each with its own
Sometimes medical terms are made up of
two whole words. For example, the word SMALL is
joined with the word POX to form the medical term
SMALLPOX, the name of a disease. Would that it
were all so simple!
Word roots are the foundations of words and
are not used by themselves. THERM is a word root
that means heat; to use it alone would make no
sense. But when a vowel is added to the end of the
word root to make it the combining form THERM/O,
it can be joined with other words or word roots to
form a compound term. THERM/O and METER (an
instrument for measuring) combine to form
THERMOMETER, an instrument for measuring heat
or temperature.
More than one word root or combining form
can be joined to form medical terms;
ELECTROCARDI OGRAM is a good example.
ELECTR/O (electric) is joined to CARDI (heart) and
the suffix -GRAM (a written record) to form the
medical term that means a written record of the
heart's electrical activity.
Prefixes are used to modify or qualify the
meaning of word roots. They usually tell the reader
what kind of where (or in what direction), or how
The term -PNEA relates to breathing, but it
says nothing about the quality or kind of breathing.
Adding the prefix DYS- qualifies it as difficult
ABDOMINAL PAI N is a rather broad term; it
gives the reader no clue as to exactly where the
pain is located either inside or outside the abdomen.

Adding the prefix -I NTRA to ABDOMI NAL
pinpoints the location of the pain, for I NTRA-
PAIN means pain within the abdomen. -
PLEGIA refers to paralysis of the limbs. The prefix
QUADRI informs the reader as to how many limbs
are paralyzed. QUADRI PLEGIA means paralysis of all
four limbs.
Suffixes are word endings that form nouns,
adjectives, or verbs. Medical terms can have more
than one suffix, and a suffix can appear in the
middle of a compound term affixed to a combining
form. A number of suffixes have specialized
meanings. I TI S means inflammation; thus
ARTHRI TI S means inflammation of a joint. -IAC
forms a noun indicating a person afflicted with a
certain disease, as for example, HEMOPHI LI AC.
Some suffixes are joined to word roots to
form terms that indicates a state, quality, condition,
procedure, or process. PNEUMONIA and PSORIASI S
are examples of medical conditions, while
of medical procedures. The suffixes in each case are
Some suffixes combine with word roots to
form adjectives, words that modify nouns by
indicating quality or quantity or by distinguishing
one thing from another. GASTRIC, CARDI AC,
examples of adjectives formed by adding suffixes
(underlined) to word roots.
Some suffixes are added to word roots to express
reduction in size, -OLE and -ULE, for example. An
ARTERIOLE is smaller than an ARTERY, and a
VENULE is smaller than a vein.
When added to word roots, -E and I ZE form
verbs. EXCI SE, and CATHETERI ZE are examples.
Finally, some of what are commonly
accepted as suffixes are actually the combination of
a word root and a suffix. -MEGALY (enlargement)
results from the combination of the word root
MEGAL (large) and the suffix -Y (which forms the
term into a noun). CARDI OMEGALY means
enlargement of the heart.


The following terms are used to denote direction of
movement, position, and anatomical posture.

abduction movement away fromthe body's midline.
adduction movement toward the body's midline.
afferent conducting toward a structure.
anterior the front surface of the body.
anterior to in front of.
caudad toward the tail.
cephalad toward the head.
circumduction circular movement of a part.
craniad toward the cranium.
deep situated remote fromthe surface.
distal situated away fromthe point of origin.
dorsal pertaining to the back surface of the body.
dorsiflexion bending backward.
efferent conducting away froma structure.
elevation raising a body part.
extension stretching, or moving jointed parts into or
toward a straight condition.
external situated outside.
flexion bending, or moving jointed parts closer together.
inferior situated below.
internal situated inside.
laterad toward the side of the body.
lateral situated away fromthe body's midline.
lateral rotation rotating outward away fromthe body's
left lateral recumbent lying horizontal on the left side.
mediad toward the midline of the body.
medial situated toward the body's midline.
medial rotation rotating inward toward the bodY'1
palmar concerning the inner surface of the hand.
peripheral away froma central structure.
plantar concerning the sole of the foot.
posterior pertaining to the back surface of the body.
posterior to situated behind.
pronation lying face downward or turning the hand so
the palmfaces downward or backward.
prone lying horizontal, face down and flat.
protraction a pushing forward, as the mandible.
proximal situated nearest the point of origin.
recumbent lying horizontal, generally speaking.
retraction a drawing back, as the tongue.
right lateral recumbent lying horizontal on the right
rotation turning around an axis.
superficial situated near the surface.
superior situated above.
supination lying face upward or turning the hand so the
palmfaces forward or upward.
supine lying horizontal, flat on the back and face up.
ventral the front surface of the body.


A plane is an imaginary flat surface that divides the body
into sections.
coronal or frontal plane an imaginary plane that passes
through the body fromside to side and divides it into
front and back sections.
midsagittal plane an imaginary plane that passes through
the body fromfront to back and divides it into right and
left halves.
sagittal plane an imaginary plane parallel to the median
plane. It passes through the body fromfront to back and
divides the body into right and left sections.
transverse plane an imaginary plane that passes through
the body and divides it into upper and lower sections.


Prefixes are generally identified by a following dash
(AMBI-). Combining forms have a slash and a vowel
following the word root (ARTHR/O). Suffixes are
generally identified by a preceding dash (-EMIA).

a- (not, without, lacking, deficient) afebrile, without
ab- (away from) abduct, to draw away fromthe midline.
-able, -ible (capable of) reducible, capable of being
reduced (as a fracture).
abdomin/o (abdomen) abdominal, pertaining to the
ac- (to) acclimate, to become accustomed to.
acou (hear) acoustic, pertaining to sound or hearing.
acr/o (extremity, top, peak) acrodermatitis,
inflammation of the skin of the extremities.
acu (needle) acupuncture, the Chinese practice of
piercing specific peripheral nerves with needles to relieve
the discomfort associated with painful disorders.
ad- (to, toward) adduct, to draw toward the midline.
aden/o (gland) adenitis, inflammation of a gland.
adip/o (fat) adipose, fatty; fat (in size).
aer/o (air) aerobic, requiring the presence of oxygen to
live and grow.
af- (to) afferent, conveying toward.
ag- (to) aggregate, to crowd or cluster together.
-algesia (painful) hyperalgesia, overly sensitive to pain.
-algia (painful condition) neuralgia, pain that extends
along the course of one or more nerves.
ambi- (both sides) ambidextrous, able to performmanual
skills with both hands.
ambl/y (dim, dull, lazy) amblyopia, lazy eye.
amphi-, ampho- (on both sides, around both)
amphigonadism, having both testicular and ovarian tis-
amyl/o (starch) amyloid, starchlike.
an- (without) anemia, a reduced volume of blood cells.
ana- (upward, again, backward, excess)anaphylaxis, an
unusual or exaggerated reaction of an organismto a
substance to which it becomes sensitized.
andr/o (man, male) android, resembling a man.
angi/o (blood vessel. duct) angioplasiy, surgery of blood
ankyl/o (stiff) ankylosis, stiffness.
ant-, anti- (against, opposed to, preventing, relieving)
antidote, a substance for counteracting a poison.
ante- (before, forward) antecubital, situated in front of
the elbow.
antero- (front) anterolateral, situated in front and to one
ap- (to) approximate, to bring together; to place close to.
apo- (separation, derivation from) apoplexy, sudden
neurologic impairment due to a cardiovascular disorder.
-arium, -orium (place for something) solarium, a place
for the sun.
arteri/o (artery) arteriosclerosis, thickening of the walls
of the smaller arteries.
arthrio (joint, articulation) arthritis, inflammation of a
joint or joints.
articul/o (joint) articulated, united by joints.
as- (to) assimilate, to take into.
at- (to) attract, to draw toward.
audi/o (hearing) audiometer, an instrument to test the
power of hearing.
aur/o (ear) auricle, the flap of the ear.
aut/o (self) autistic, self-centered
bi- (two, twice, double, both) bilateral, having two
sides; pertaining to two sides.
bi/o (life) biology, the study of life.
blephario (eyelid) blepharitis, inflammation of the
brachi/o (upper arm) brachialgia, pain in the upper arm.
brady- (slow) bradycardia, an abnormally slow heart
bronch/o (larger air passages of the lungs) bronchitis,
inflammation of the larger air passages of the lungs.
bucc/o (cheek) buccal, pertaining to the cheek.
cac/o (bad) cacosmis, a bad odor.
calc/o (bad) calculus, an abnormal hard inorganic mass
such as a gallstone.
calcane/o (heel) calcaneus, the heel bone.
calor /o (heat) caloric, pertaining to heat.
cancr/o (cancer) cancroid, resembling cancer.
capit/o (head) capitates, head-shaped.
caps/o (container) capsulation, enclosed in a capsule or
carcin/o (cancer) carcinogen, a substance that causes
cardi/o (heart) cardiogenic, originating in the heart.
carp/o (wrist bone) carpal, pertaining to the wrist bone.
cat-, cata- (down, lower, under, against, along with)
catabasis, the stage of decline of a disease.
-cele (tumor, hernia) hydrocele, a confined collection of
celi/o (abdomen) celiomyalgia, a pain in the muscles of
the abdomen.
-centesis (perforation or tapping. as with a needle)
abdominocentesis, surgical puncture of the abdominal
cephal/o (head) electroencephalogram, a recording of
the electrical activity of the brain.
cerebr/o (cerebrum) cerebrospinal, pertaining to the
brain and spinal fluid.
cervic /o (neck, cervix) cervical, pertaining to the neck
(or cervix).
cheil/o, chil/o (lip) cheilitis, inflammation of the lips.
cheirio, chir/o (hand) cheiralgia, pain in the hand.
chlor/o (green) chloroma, green cancer. a greenish tumor
associated with myelogenous leukemia.
chol/e (bile, gall) choledochitis, inflammation of the
common bile duct.
chondr/o (cartilage) chondrodynia, pain in a cartilage.
chrom/o, chromat/o (color) monochromatic, being of
one color.
chron/o (time) chronic, persisting for a long time.
-cid- (cut, kill, fall) insecticide, an agent that kills insects.
circum- (around) circumscribed, confined to a limited
-cis- (cut, kill, fall) excise, to cut out.
-clysis (irrigation) enteroclysis, irrigation of the small
co- (with) cohesion, the force that causes various
particlesto unite.
col- (with) collateral, secondary or accessory; a small
side branch such as a blood vessel or nerve.
col/o (colon, large intestine) colitis, inflammation of the
colp/o (vagina) colporrhagia, bleeding fromthe vagma.
com- (with) comminuted, broken or crushed into small
con- (with) congenital, existing fromthe time of birth.
contra- (against, opposite) contraindicated, inadvisable.
cor/e, core/o (pupil) corectopia, abnormal location of the
pupil of the eye.
cost/o (rib) intercostal, between the ribs.
crani/o (skull) cranial, pertaining to the skull.
cry/o (eold) cryogenic, that which produces low
crypt/o (hide, cover, conceal) cryptogenic, of doubtful
cyan/o (blue) cyanosis, bluish discoloration of the skin
and mucous membranes.
cyst/o (urinary bladder, cyst, sac of fluid) cystitis,
inflammation of the bladder.
-cyte (cell) leukocyte, white cell.
cyt/o (cell) cytoma, tumor of the cell.
dacry/o (tear) dacryorrhea, excessive flow of tears.
dactyl/o (finger, toe) dactylomegary, abnormally large
fingers or toes.
de- (down) descending, coming down from.
dent/o (tooth) dental, pertaining to the teeth.
derm/o, dermat/o (skin) dermatitis, inflammation of the
dextr/o (right) dextrad, toward the right side.
di- (twice, double) diplegia, paralysis affecting like parts
on both sides of the body.
dia- (through, across, apart) diaphragm, the partition
that separates the abdominal and thoracic cavities.
dipl/o (double, twin, twice) diplopia, double vision.
dips/o (thirst) dipsomania, alcoholism.
dis- (to free, to undo) dissect, to cut apart.
dors/o (back) dorsal, pertaining to the back.
-dynia (painful condition) cephalodynia, headache.
dys- (bad, difficult, abnormal. incomplete) dyspnea,
labored breathing.
-ectasia (dilation or enlargement of an organ or part)
gastrectasia, dilation (stretching) of the stomach.
ecto- (outer, outside of) ectopic, located away fromthe
normal position.
-ectomy (the surgical removal of an organ or part)
appendectomy, surgical removal of the appendix.
electr/o (electric) electrocardiogram, the written record
of the heart's electrical activity.
-emia (condition of the blood) anemia, a deficiency of
red blood cells.
en- (in, into, within) encapsulate, to enclose within a
encephal/o (brain) encephalitis, inflammation of the
end-, endo- (within) endotracheal, within the trachea.
ent-, ento- (within, inner) entopic, occurring in the
proper place.
enter/o (small intestine) enteritis, inflammation of the
ep-, epi- (over, on, upon) epidermis, the outermost layer
of skin.
erythr /o (red) erythrocyte, a red blood cell.
esthesia (feeling) anesthesia, without feeling.
eu (good, well, normal, healthy) euphoria, an abnormal
or exaggerated feeling of well-being.
ex- (out of, away from) excrement, waste material
discharged fromthe body.
exo- (outside, outward) exophytic, to grow outward or
on the surface.
extra- (on the outside, beyond, in addition to)
extracorporeal, outside the body.
faci/o (face, surface) facial, pertaining to the face.
febr/i (fever) febrile, feverish.
-ferent (bear, carry) efferent, carrying away froma
fibr/o (fiber, fillament) fibrillation, muscular
contractions due to the activity of muscle fibers.
-form (shape) deformed, abnormally shaped.
-fugal (moving away) centrifugal, moving away froma
galact/o (milk) galactopyria, milk fever.
gangli/o (knot) ganglion, a knotlike mass.
gastr/o (stomach) gastritis, inflammation of the stomach.
gen/o (come into being, originate) genetic, inherited.
-genesis (production or origin) pathogenesis, the de-
velopment of a disease.
-genic (giving rise to, originating in) cardiogenic,
originating in the heart.
gloss/o (tongue) glossal, pertaining to the tongue. glyc/o
(sweet) glycemia, the presence of sugar in the blood.
gnath/o (jaw) gnathitis, inflammation of the jaw.
-gram (drawing, written record) electrocardiogram, a
recording of the heart's electrical activity.
-graph (an instrument for recording the activity of an
organ) electrocardiograph, an instrument for measuring
the heart's electrical activity.
-graphy (the recording of the activity of an organ)
electrocardiography, the method of recording the heart's
electrical activity.
gynec/o (woman) gynecologist, a specialist in diseases of
the female genital tract.
gnos/o (knowledge) prognosis, a prediction of the
outcome of a disease.
hem/a, hem/of hemat/o (blood) hematoma, a localized
collection of blood.
hemi- (one-ha1f) hemiplegia, paralysis of one side of the
hepat/o (liver) hepatitis, inflammation of the liver.
heter/o (other) heterogeneous, froma different source.
hidr/o, hidrot/o (sweat) hidrosis, excessive sweating.
hist/o (tissue) histodialysis, the breaking down of tissue.
hom/o, home/o (same, similar, unchanging. constant)
homeostasis, stability in an organism's normal
physiological states.
hydr/o (water, fluid) hydrocephalus, an accumulation of
cerebrospinal fluid in the skull with resulting en
largement of the head.
hypn/o (sleep) hypnotic, that which induces sleep.
hyal/o (glass) hyaline, Glassy, transparent.
hyper- (beyond normal, excessive) hypertension,
abnormally high blood pressure.
hypo- (below normal, deficient, under, beneath)
hypotension, abnormally low blood pressure.
hyster/o (uterus, womb) hysterectomy, surgical removal
of the uterus.
-iasis (condition) psoriasis, a chronic skin condition
characterized by lesions.
iatr/o (healer, physician) pediatrician, a physician that
specializes in children's disorders.
-id (in a state, condition of) gravid, pregnant.
idio (peculiar, separate. distinct) idiopathic, occur- ring
without a known cause.
il- (negative prefix) illegible, cannot be read.
Ile/o (ileum) ileitis, inflammation of the ileum.
ili/o (ilium) iliac, pertaining to the ilium.
im- (negative prefix) immature, not mature.
in- (in, into, within) incise, to cut into.
infra- (beneath, below) infracostal, below a rib, or
below the ribs.
inter- (between) intercostals, between two ribs.
intra- (within) intraoral, within the mouth.
intro- (within, into) introspection, the contemplation of
one's own thoughts and feelings; self-analysis.
ir/o, irid/o (iris) iridotomy, incision of the iris.
ischi/o (ischium) ischialgia, pain in the ischium.
-ismus (abnormal condition) strabismus, deviation of
the eye that a person cannot overcome.
iso- (same, equal, alike) isometric, of equal dimensions.
-itis (inflammation) endocarditis, inflammation within
the heart.
kerat/o (cornea) keratitis, inflammation of the cornea.
kinesi/o (movement) kinesialgia, pain upon movement.
labi/o (lip) labiodental, pertaining to the lip and teeth.
lact/o (milk) lactation, the secretion of milk.
Lal/o (talk) lalopathy, any speech disorder.
Lapar/o (flank, abdomen, abdominal wall) laparotomy,
an incision through the abdominal wall.
laryng/o (larynx) laryngoscope, an instrument for ex-
amining the larynx.
lept/o (thin) leptodactylous, having slender fingers.
leuc/o, leuk/o (white) leukemia, a malignant disease
characterized by the increased development of white
blood cells.
lingu/o (tongue) sublingual, under the tongue.
lip/o (fat) lipoma, fatty tumor.
lith/o (stone) lithotripter, an instrument for crushing
stones in the bladder.
-logist (a person who studies) pathologist, a person who
studies diseases.
log/o (speak) give an account logospasms, spasmodic
-logy (study of) pathology, the study of disease.
lumb/o (loin) lumbago, pain in the lumbar region.
lymph/o (lymph) lymphoduct, a vessel of the lymph
-lysis (destruction) electrolysis, destruction (of hair, for
example) by passage of an electric current.
macr/o (large, long) macrocephalous, having an
abnormally large head.
malac/o (a softening) malacia, the morbid softening of a
body part or tissue.
mamm/o (breast) mammary, pertaining to the breast.
-mania (mental aberration) kleptomania, the
compulsion to steal.
mast/o (breast) mastectomy, surgical removal of the
medi/o (middle) mediastinum, middle partition of the
thoracic cavity.
mega- (large) megacolon, an abnormally large colon.
megal/o (large) megalomaniac, a person impressed with
his own greatness.
-megaly (an enlargement) cardiomegaly, enlargement of
the heart.
melan/o (dark, black) melanoma, a tumor comprised of
darkly pigmented cells.
menlo (month) menopause, cessation of menstruation.
mes/o (middle) mesiad, toward the center.
meta- (change, transformation, exchange) metabolism,
the sumof the physical and chemical processes by which
an organismsurvives.
metr/o (uterus) metralgia, pain in the uterus.
micr/o (small) microscope, an instrument for magnifying
small objects.
mon/o (single, only, sole) monoplegia, paralysis of a
single part.
morph/o (form) morphology, the study of formand
multi- (many, much) multipara, a woman who has given
two or more live births.
myc/o, mycet/o (fungus) mycosis, any disease caused by
a fungus.
my/o (muscle) myasthenia, muscular weakness.
myel/o (marrow, also often refers to spinal cord)
myelocele, protrusion of the spinal cord through a defect
in the spinal column.
myx/o (mucous, slimelike) myxoid, resembling mu-
narc/o (stupor, numbness) narcotic, an agent that in-
duces sleep.
nas/o (nose) oronasal, pertaining to the nose and mouth.
ne/o (new) neonate, a newborn infant.
necr/o (corpse) necrotic, dead (when referring to tis-
Nephr/o (kidney) nephralgia, pain in the kidneys.
neur/o (nerve) neuritis, inflammation of nerve pathways.
noct/i (night) noctambulism, sleep walking.
norm/o (rule, order, normal) normotension, normal
blood pressure.
null/i (none) nullipara, a woman who has never given
birth to a child.
nyct/o (night) nycturia, excessive urination at night.
ob- (against, in front of, toward) obturator, a device
that closes an opening.
oc- (against, in front of, toward) occlude, to obstruct.
ocul/o (eye) ocular, pertaining to the eye.
odont/o (tooth) odontalgia, toothache.
-oid (shape, form, resemblance) ovoid, egg-shaped.
olig/o (few, deficient, scanty) oligemia, lacking in blood
-oma (tumor, swelling) adenoma, tumor of a gland.
o/o- (egg) ooblast, a primitive cell fromwhich an ovum
onych/o (nail) onychoma, tumor of a nail or nail bed.
oophor/o (ovary) oophorectomy, a surgical removal of
one or both ovaries.
-opsy (a viewing) autopsy, postmortemexamination of a
opthalm/o (eye) opthalmic, pertaining to the eyes.
opt/o, optic/o (sight, vision) optometrist, a specialist in
adapting lenses for the correcting of visual defects. or/o
(mouth) oral, pertaining to the mouth.
orch/o, orchid/o (testicle) orchitis, inflammation of the
orth/o (straight, upright) orthopedic, pertaining to the
correction of skeletal defects.
-osis (process, an abnormal condition) dermatosis, any
skin condition.
oste/o (bone) osteomyelitis, inflammation of bone or
bone marrow.
ot/o (ear) otalgia, earache.
ovary/o (ovary) ovariocele, hernia of an ovary.
ov/i, ov/o (egg) oviduct, a passage through which an egg
pachy- (thicken) pachyderma, abnormal thickening of
the skin.
palat/o (palate) palatitis, inflammation of the palate.
pan- (all, entire, every) panacea, a remedy for all
diseases, a "cure-all."
para- (beside, beyond, accessory to, apart from,
against) paranormal, beyond the natural or normal.
path/o (disease) pathogen, any disease-producing agent.
-pathy (disease of a part) osteopathy, disease of a
-penia (an abnormal reduction) leukopenia, deficiency
in white blood cells.
peps/o, pept/o (digestion) dyspepsia, poor digestion.
per- (throughout, completely, extremely) perfusion, the
passage of fluid through the vessels of an organ.
peri- (around, surrounding) pericardium, the sac that
surrounds the heart and the roots of the great vessels.
-pexy (fixation) splendopexy, surgical fixation of the
phag/o (eat) phagomania, an insatiable craving for food.
pharyng/o (throat) Pharyngospasms, spasms of the
muscles of the pharynx.
phas/o (speech) aphasic, unable to speak.
phil/o (like, have an affinity for) necrophilia, an
abnormal interest in death.
phleb/o (vein) phlebotomy, surgical incision of a vein.
-phobia (fear, dread) claustrophobia, a fear of closed
phon/o (sound) phonetic, pertaining to the voice.
phor/o (bear, carry) diaphoresis, profuse sweating.
phot/o (light) photosensitivity, abnormal reactivity of the
skin to sunlight.
phren/o (diaphragm) phrenic nerve, a nerve that carries
messages to the diaphragm.
physic/o (nature) physiology, the science that studies the
function of living things.
pil/o (hair) pilose, hairy.
-plasia (development, formation) dysplasia, poor or
abnormal formation.
-plasty (surgical repair) arthroplasty, surgical repair of
a joint.
-plegia (paralysis) paraplegia, paralysis of the lower
body, including the legs.
pleur/o (rib, side, pleura) pleurisy, inflammation of the
-pnea (breath, breathing) orthopnea, difficult breathing
except in an upright position.
pneum/o, pneumat/o (air, breath) pneumatic, pertaining
to the air.
pneum/o, pneumon/o (lung) pneumonia, inflammation
of the lungs with the escape of fluid.
Pod/o (foot) podiatrist, a specialist in the care of feet.
-poiesis (formation) hematopoiesis, formation of blood.
poly- (much, many) polychromatic, multicolored.
post- (after, behind) postmortem, after death.
pre- (before) premature, occurring before the proper
pro- (before, in front of) prolapse, the falling down, or
sinking of a part.
proct/o (anus) proctitis, inflammation of the rectum.
pseud/o (false) pseudoplegia, hysterical paralysis.
psych/o (mind. soul) psychopath, one who displays
aggressive antisocial behavior.
-ptosis (abnormal dropping or sagging of a part)
hysteroptosis, sagging of the uterus.
pulmon/o (lung) pulmonary, pertaining to the lungs.
py / o (pus) pyorrhea, copious discharge of pus.
pyel/o (renal pelvis) pyelitis, inflammation of the renal
pyr/o (fire, fever) pyromaniac, compulsive fire setter.
quadri- (four) quadriplegia, paralysis of all four limbs.
rach/i (spine) rachialgia, pain in the spine.
radi/o (ray, radiation) radiology, the use of ionizing
radiation in diagnosis and treatment.
re- (back, against, contrary) recurrence, the return of
symptoms after remission.
rect/o (rectum) rectal, pertaining to the rectum.
ren/o (the kidneys) renal, pertaining to the kidneys.
retro- (located behind, backward) retroperineal,
behind the perineum.
rhin/o (nose) rhinitis, inflammation of the mucus
membranes of the nose.
-rrhage (abnormal discharge) hemorrhage, abnormal
discharge of blood.
-rrhagia (hemorrhage from an organ or body part)
menorrhea, excessive uterine bleeding.
-rrhea (flowing or discharge) diarrhea, abnormal
frequency and liquidity of fecal discharges.
sanguin/o (blood) exsanguinate, to lose a large volume
of blood either internally or externally.
sarc/o (flesh) sarcoma, a malignant tumor.
schiz/o (split) schizophrenia, any of a group of emotional
disorders characterized by bizarre behavior (erroneously
called split personality).
scler/o (hardening) scleroderma, hardening of con
nective tissues of the body, including the skin.
-sclerosis (hardened condition) arteriosclerosis,
hardening of the arteries.
scoli/o (twisted, crooked) scoliosis, sideward deviation
of the spine.
-scope (an instrument for observing) endoscope, an
instrument for the examination of a hollow body, such as
the bladder.
-sect (cut) transsect, to cut across.
semi- (one-half, partly) semisupine, partly, but not
completely, supine.
sept/o. seps/o (infection) aseptic, free frominfection.
somat/o (body) psychosomatic, both psychological and
son/o (sound) sonogram, a recording produced by the
passage of sound waves through the body.
spermat/o (sperm, semen) spermacide, agent that kills
sphygm/o (pulse) sphygmomanometer, a device for
measuring blood pressure in the arteries.
splen/o (spleen) splenectomy, surgical removal of the
-stasis (stopping, controlling) hemostasis, the control of
sten/o (narrow) stenosis, a narrowing of a passage or
stere/o (solid, three-dimensional) stereoscopic, a three-
dimensional appearance.
steth/o (chest) stethoscope, an instrument for listening to
chest sounds.
sthen/o (strength) myasthenia, muscular weakness.
-stomy (surgically creating a new opening) colostomy,
surgical creation of an opening between the colon and the
surface of the body.
sub- (under, near, almost, moderately) subclavian,
situated under the clavicle.
super- (above, excess) superficial, lying on or near the
supra- (above, over) suprapubic, situated above the
pubic arch.
sym-, syn- (joined together, with) syndrome, a set of
symptoms that occur together.
tachy- (fast) tachycardia, a very fast heart rate.
-therapy (treatment) hydrotherapy, treatment with
therm/o (heat) thermogenesis, the production of heat.
thorac/o (chest cavity) thoracic, pertaining to the chest.
thromb/o (clot, lump) thrombophlebitis, inflammation of
a vein.
-tome (a surgical instrument for cutting) microtome, an
instrument for cutting thin slices of tissue.
-tomy (a surgical operation on an organ or body part)
thoracotomy, surgical incision of the chest wall.
top/o (place) topographic, pertaining to special regions
(of the body)
trache/o (trachea) tracheostomy, an opening in the neck
that passes to the trachea.
trans- (through, across, beyond) transfusion, the
introduction of whole blood or blood components directly
into the bloodstream.
tri- (three) trimester, a period of three months.
trich/o (hair) trichosis, any disease of the hair.
-tripsy (surgical crushing) lithotripsy, surgical crushing
of stones.
troph/o (nourish) hypertrophic, enlargement of an organ
or body part due to the increase in the size of cells.
ultra- (beyond, excess) ultrasonic, beyond the audible
uni- (one) unilateral, affecting one side.
uUr/o (urine) urinalysis, exanimation of urine.
ureter/o (ureter) ureteritis, inflammation of a ureter.
urethra/o (urethra) urethritis, inflammation of the
vas/o (vessel, duct) vasodilator, an agent that causes
dilation of blood vessels.
ven/o (vein) venipuncture, surgical puncture of a vein.
ventr /o (belly, cavity) ventral, relating to the belly or
vesic/o (blister, bladder) vesicle, a small fluid-filled
viscer/o (internal organ) visceral, pertaining to the
viscera (abdominal organs).
xanth/o (yellow) xanthroma, a yellow nodule in the skin.
xen/o (stranger) xenophobia, abnormal fear of strangers.
xer/o (dry) xerosis, abnormal dryness (as of the mouth or
zo/o (animal life) zoogenous, acquired froman animal.