List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes
This is a list of roots, suffixes, and prefixes used in medical terminology, their meanings, and their etymology. There are a few rules when using medical roots. Firstly, prefixes and suffixes, primarily in Greek, but also in Latin, have a droppable -o-. As a general rule, this -o- almost always acts as a joint-stem to connect two consonantal roots, e.g. arthr- + -o- + logy = arthrology. But generally, the -o- is dropped when connecting to a vowel-stem; e.g. arthr+ itis = arthritis, instead of arthr-o-itis. Secondly, medical roots generally go together according to language: Greek prefixes go with Greek suffixes and Latin prefixes with Latin suffixes. Although international scientific vocabulary is not stringent about segregating combining forms of different languages, it is advisable when coining new words not to mix different lingual roots.

Prefixes and suffixes
The following is an alphabetical list of medical prefixes and suffixes, along with their meanings, origin, and an English example.

Prefix or suffix a-, anababdomin(o)Meaning Denotes an absence of, without away from Of or relating to the abdomen Origin language and etymology Ancient Greek ἀ-/ἀν- (a-/an-), without, not Latin Latin (abdōmen), abdomen, fat around the belly Greek -ακός (-akos) Ancient Greek ἄκανθα (akantha), thorn Example(s) Apathy, Analgia Abduction Abdomen

-ac, -acal acanth(o)-

pertaining to thorn or spine

cardiac, hydrophobiac, pharmacomaniacal acanthion, acanthocyte, acanthoma, acanthulus acoumeter, acoustician


Of or relating to hearing

Greek ἀκουστικός (acoustikos), of or for hearing Greek ἄκρον (akron), highest or farthest point Greek ἀκουστικός (acoustikos), of or for hearing


extremity, topmost

Acrocrany, acromegaly, acroosteolysis, acroposthia paracusis



-ad ad-

toward, in the direction of increase, adherence, motion toward, very Of or relating to a gland Latin

dorsad Adduction

aden(o)-, aden(i)adip(o)adren(o)-aemia (BrE) aer(o)aesthesio(BrE) -al alb-

Ancient Greek ἀδήν, ἀδέν- (adēn, aden-), an acorn; a gland Latin (adeps, adip-), fat Latin Greek ἀναιμία, without blood Greek ἀήρ, ἀέρος Greek αἴσθησις

Adenocarcinoma, adenology, adenotome, adenotyphus Adipocyte adrenal artery Anaemia Aerosinusitis Anesthesia

Of or relating to fat or fatty tissue Of or relating to adrenal glands blood condition air, gas sensation

pertaining to Denoting a white or pale color

Latin -alis Latin albus, white

abdominal Albino

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Greek ἄλγος Greek Greek Ancient Greek ἄλλος (allos), another, other Analgesic Myalgia Myalgia Alloantigen, allopathy

alge(si)-algia alg(i)oallo-

pain pain pain Denoting something as different, or as an addition Denoting something as positioned on both sides; Describing both of two Pertaining to the membranous fetal sac (amnion)


Latin (ambi-, ambo), both, on both sides



Greek ἄμνιον


amph-, amphi- on both sides ananaan(o) andr(o)angi(o)anisoankyl(o)-, ancyl(o)antenot, without back, again, up anus pertaining to a man blood vessel Describing something as unequal

Greek ἀμφί (amphi) Greek Greek Latin Greek ἀνήρ, ἀνδρGreek ἀγγεῖον Ancient Greek ἄνῑσος (anīsos), unequal

Amphicrania, amphismela, amphomycin Analgesia Anaplasia

Andrology, android Angiogram Anisotropic, anisocytosis

Denoting something as crooked or bent Ancient Greek ἀγκύλος (ankýlos), crooked, Ankylosis curved Describing something as positioned in front of another thing Describing something as 'against' or 'opposed to' another separated from, derived from first, primitive Of or pertaining to a male; masculine Of or pertaining to an artery Greek (arsein) Ancient Greek ἀρτηρία (artēría), a wind-pipe, artery (used distinctly versus a vein) Ancient Greek αρθρος (arthros), a joint, limb Latin articulum Latin -arius Greek διάστασις, division Greek, ἀσθένεια Artery, Arteriole Latin (āntē), before, in front of antepartum


Ancient Greek αντι (anti), against

Antibody, antipsychotic

apoarch(i,e,o) arsen(o)arteri(o)-

Ancient Greek ἀπό

Apoptosis archinephron : first formed kidney


Of or pertaining to the joints, limbs


articul(o)-ary -ase -asthenia atel(o)

joint pertaining to enzyme weakness imperfect or incomplete development

Articulation bilary tract Lactase Myasthenia gravis atelocardia : imperfect development of the heart

ather(o)-ation atri(o)aur(i)aut(o)aux(o)-

fatty deposit, Soft gruel-like deposit process an atrium (esp. heart atrium) Of or pertaining to the ear self increase; growth Latin (auris), the ear Greek αὐτοLatin Habitation, Lubrication atrioventricular Aural Autoimmune auxocardia : enlargement of the heart

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Latin (axilla), armpit Axilla


Of or pertaining to the armpit [uncommon as a prefix] nitrogenous compound


azothermia : raised temperature due to nitrogenous substances in blood

Prefix/suffix balanobibioblast(o)blephar(o)brachi(o)Meaning Of the glans penis or glans clitoridis twice, double life germ or bud Of or pertaining to the eyelid Of or relating to the arm Origin language and etymology Greek βάλανος - balanos, acorn, glans Latin Ancient Greek βίος Greek βλαστός Ancient Greek βλέφαρον (blépharon), eyelid Latin (brachium), from Ancient Greek βραχίων (brachiōn), arm Ancient Greek βραχύς (brachys), short, little, shallow Balanitis Binary Biology Blastomere Blepharoplast Brachium of inferior colliculus brachycephalic Example(s)


Indicating 'short' or less commonly 'little' 'slow' bronchus Of or pertaining to the cheek bursa (fluid sac between the bones)


Ancient Greek βραδύς (bradys), slow

Bradycardia Bronchiolitis obliterans

Latin (bucca), cheek Latin

Buccolabial Bursitis

bas(o) base [(alkaline,the opposite of acid]

Prefix or suffix capillcapitcarcin(o)cardi(o)carp(o)Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)

Of or pertaining to hair Pertaining to the head (as a whole) cancer Of or pertaining to the heart Of or pertaining to the wrist

Latin (capillus), hair Latin (caput, capit-), the head Greek καρκίνος (karkinos), crab Ancient Greek καρδία (kardía), heart Latin (carpus) < Ancient Greek καρπός (karpós), wrist; NOTE: This root should not be confused with the mirror root carp(o)meaning fruit. Greek κατά (kata) Ancient Greek κήλη (kēlē)

Capillus Capitation Carcinoma Cardiology Carpopedal


down, under pouching, hernia

Cataract Hydrocele, Varicocele Amniocentesis Cephalalgy Ceratoid Cerebellum Cerebrology

-centesis cephal(o)cerat(o)cerebell(o)cerebr(o)-

surgical puncture for aspiration Of or pertaining to the head (as a whole) Of or pertaining to the cornu; a horn Of or pertaining to the cerebellum Of or pertaining to the brain

Ancient Greek κέντησις (kentēsis) Ancient Greek κεφαλή (képhalē), the head Ancient Greek κέρας, κερατ- (kéras, kerat-), a horn Latin (cerebellum), little brain Latin (cerebrum), brain

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Latin (cervix, cervīc-), neck, cervix Greek χημεία Ancient Greek χείρ, χειρο- (cheir, cheiro-), hand Cervicodorsal Chemotherapy Chiropractor

cervicchem(o)chir(o)-, cheir(o)chlor(o)chol(e)cholecyst(o)-

Of or pertaining to the neck, the cervix chemistry, drug Of or pertaining to the hand

Denoting a green color Of or pertaining to bile Of or pertaining to the gallbladder

Ancient Greek χλωρός (chloros), green, yellow-green Ancient Greek χολή (cholē), bile Ancient Greek χοληκύστις (cholēkýstis), gallbladder < χολή (cholē), bile, gall + κύστις (kýstis), bladder Ancient Greek χονδρός (chondros) Ancient Greek χρῶμα Latin < Latin (cilium), eyelash; eyelid

Chlorophyll Cholaemia Cholecystectomy

chondr(i)ochrom(ato)-cidal, -cide cili-

cartilage, gristle, granule, granular color killing, destroying Of or pertaining to the cilia, the eyelashes; eyelids Denoting something as 'around' another on this side break with, together, in association colon

Chondrocalcinosis Hemochromatosis bacteriocidal Ciliary

circumcisclast cocol-, colo-, colonocolp(o)comcontra corcor-, core-, corocordi-

Latin (circum), around Latin (cis) Greek κλαστός Latin


osteoclast coenzymes Colonoscopy

Of or pertaining to the vagina with, together against with, together Of or pertaining to eye's pupil

Ancient Greek κόλπος (kólpos), bosom, womb; hollow, depth Latin Latin Latin Ancient Greek κόρη (kórē), girl, doll; pupil of the eye




Of or pertaining to the heart [Uncommon as a prefix] Applied to processes and parts of the body describing them likened or similar to horns crown Of or pertaining to the ribs Of or relating to the hip, haunch, or hip-joint Belonging or relating to the cranium

Latin (cor, cordi-), heart

Commotio cordis


Latin (cornū), horn


Latin corōna (“garland, crown”) Latin (costa), rib Latin (coxa), hip Costochondral Coxopodite


Latin (cranium) < Ancient Greek κρᾱνίον (krānion), the cranium, skull, bones enclosing the brain εκκρίνει ecrine Greek κρύος Latin cutis Ancient Greek κύανος, κυάνεος (kýanos, kyáneos), blue Greek κύκλος (kuklos)


-crine cry(o)cutanecyan(o)cyclcyph(o)-

to secrete cold skin Denotes a blue color circle, cycle

Endocrine Cryoablation Subcutaneous Cyanopsia

Denotes something as bent (uncommon as Ancient Greek κυφός (kȳphós), bent, hunchback a prefix)


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Ancient Greek κύστις (kýstis); bladder, cyst Cystotomy

cyst(o)-, cyst(i)cyt(o)-cyte

Of or pertaining to the urinary bladder

cell cell

Greek κύτος Greek

Cytokine Leukocyte

Prefix/suffix dacryodactyl(o)tear Of or pertaining to a finger, toe Meaning Origin language and etymology Greek δάκρυ Ancient Greek δάκτυλος (dáktylos), finger, toe Latin deLatin (dens, dentis), tooth Ancient Greek δέρμα, δέρματ(dérma, démat-), skin, human skin Greek δέσις (desis) Latin dexter Greek διLatin Ancient Greek διά (diá), through, during, across Latin Latin (digitus), finger, toe Digit polydipsia hydroadipsia, oligodipsia Latin disLatin (dorsum), back Latin duodeni Dissection dorsal, Dorsocephalad Duodenal atresia Diacetyl Dentist Dermatology Dactylology Example(s)

dedentdermat(o)-, derm(o)-desis dextr(o)dididia-

away from, cessation Of or pertaining to teeth Of or pertaining to the skin

binding right, on the right side two apart, separation (same as Greek meaning)

arthrodesis Dextrocardia Diplopia


apart, separation Of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root] suffix meaning "(condition of) thirst"'


separation, taking apart

dors(o)-, dors(i)- Of or pertaining to the back duodenoduodenum, twelve: upper part of the small intestine (twelve inches long on average), connects to the stomach force, energy, power pain bad, difficult

dynam(o)-dynia dys-

Greek δύναμις (dunamis) Vulvodynia Greek δυσDysphagia, dysphasia


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix -eal ecect(o)-ectasis, -ectasia pertaining to out, away outer, outside

Meaning Latin

Origin language and etymology


Greek ἐκ- (ek-) Greek ἐκτός Ancient Greek ἔκτασις Ectopic pregnancy Bronchiectasis, Telangiectasia Mastectomy

expansion, dilation


Denotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part. Resection, excision vomiting condition blood condition (AmE) Of or pertaining to the brain. Also see Cerebro. Denotes something as 'inside' or 'within' Red

Ancient Greek ἐκτομή (ectomē), excision

-emesis -emia encephal(o)-

Greek ἕμεσις Greek ἀν-αιμία, without blood Ancient Greek ἐγκέφαλος (enképhalos), the brain

Hematemesis Anemia Encephalogram


Ancient Greek ἐνδο- (endo-), inside, internal

Endocrinology, Endospore

Eosin comes from Eos, the Greek word for 'dawn' and Eosinophil granulocyte the name of the Greek Goddess of the Dawn. Ancient Greek ἔντερον (énteron), intestine Ancient Greek ἐπι- (epi-), before, upon, on, outside, outside of Ancient Greek ἐπίσιον- (epísion), the pubic area, loins; vulva Ancient Greek ἐρυθρός (erythros), red Greek οἰσοφάγος Gastroenterology Epistaxis, epicardium, episclera, epidural Episiotomy


Of or pertaining to the intestine [Same as Greek meaning: on, upon]


Of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loins Denotes a red color gullet (AmE)

erythr(o)-esophageal, -esophago esthesioeuexexoextra-


sensation (AmE) true, good, well, new out of, away from Denotes something as 'outside' another outside

Greek αἴσθησις Greek Latin Ancient Greek ἐξω- (exo-), outside of, external Latin Eukaryote Exophthalmos Exoskeleton Extradural hematoma

Prefix/suffix faci(o)fibr(o) filliMeaning Of or pertaining to the face fiber fine, hair like Cuneiform fossa ovalis Frontonasal Origin language and etymology Example(s)

Latin (faciēs), the face, countenance Facioplegic Fibroblast

-form, -iform Used to form adjectives indicating 'having the form of' Latin (forma), form, shape fossa frontA hollow or depressed area; trench or channel Of or pertaining to the forehead Latin (fossa), ditch, pit Latin (frōns, front-), the forehead

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix galact(o)gastr(o)milk Of or pertaining to the stomach Meaning Origin language and etymology Greek γάλα, γαλακτAncient Greek γαστήρ (gastēr), γαστρ-, stomach, belly Ancient Greek -γενής (-genēs) < γεν-νάειν (gen-náein), to be born Greek Latin (genū), knee Latin (gingīva), gum Ancient Greek γλαυκός (glaukos), grey, bluish-grey Ancient Greek γλῶσσα, γλῶττα (glōssa, glōtta), tongue Greek γλυκός, sweet Example(s) Galactorrhea Gastric bypass


(1) Denotes the sense 'born in, from' (2) Denotes the sense 'of a certain kind' Formative, pertaining to producing Of or pertaining to the knee Of or pertaining to the gums Denoting a grey or bluish-grey colour

(1) Endogen; (2) Heterogenous Cardiogenic shock Genu valgum Gingivitis Glaucoma

-genic genugingivglauc(o)-

gloss(o)-, glott(o)-

Of or pertaining to the tongue


glucoglycognath(o)-gnosis gon(o)-gram, -gramme -graph

glucose sugar Of or pertaining to the jaw knowledge seed, semen; also, reproductive record or picture instrument used to record data or picture

Glucocorticoid Glycolysis

Ancient Greek γνάθος (gnáthos), jaw Greek Ancient Greek γόνος Greek γράμμα (gramma) Ancient Greek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation

Gnathodynamometer diagnosis, prognosis Gonorrhea Angiogram Electrocardiograph

-graphy gyn(aec)o- (BrE), gyn(ec)o- (AmE)

process of recording woman Greek γυνή, γυναικ-

Angiography Gynecomastia

Prefix/suffix halluchemat-, haemato(haem-, hem-) hema or hemohemangi or hemangiohemihepat- (hepatic-) Meaning to wander in mind Of or pertaining to blood Origin language and etymology Classical Latin to wander in mind Example(s) Hallucinosis

Latin (hæma) < Ancient Greek αἵμα, αἱματ- Hematology, older form (haima, haimat-), blood Haematology Greek Hematological malignancy

blood (AmE) blood vessels one-half Of or pertaining to the liver

Ancient Greek ἡμι- (hēmi-), "half" Ancient Greek ἥπαρ, ἡπατο- (hēpar, hēpato-), the liver Ancient Greek ἕτερος (héteros), the other (of two), another; different Greek ἱδρωτGreek ἱστός Ancient Greek ὅμοιος (homoios)

Cerebral hemisphere Hepatology


Denotes something as 'the other' (of two), as an addition, or different sweat tissue similar


hidr(o)hist(o)-, histiohome(o)-

Hyperhidrosis Histology Homeopathy

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Ancient Greek ὁμο- (homo-), the same, common Incorrect Etymology < Latin (umerus), shoulder Greek ὕδωρ Ancient Greek ὑπέρ (hyper), over, above; beyond, to the extreme Homosexuality


Denotes something as 'the same' as another or common Of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm) water Denotes something as 'extreme' or 'beyond normal' Denotes something as 'below normal' Of or pertaining to the womb, the uterus




Hydrophobe Hypertension


Ancient Greek ὑπ(ο)- (hypo-), below, under Hypovolemia, Ancient Greek ὑστέρα (hystéra), womb Hysterectomy

Prefix/suffix -i-asis iatr(o)condition Of or pertaining to medicine, or a physician [uncommon as a prefix; common as as suffix, see -iatry] Denotes a field in medicine of a certain body component Meaning Origin language and etymology Greek -ίασις Ancient Greek ἰᾱτρός (iātrós), healer, physician Ancient Greek ἰᾱτρός (iātrós), healer, physician Greek -ικός (-ikos) Latin Latin -ica < Greek < -ικά Greek ἴδιος, idios, "one's own" Greek ἰλεός Latin Latin Example(s) Mydriasis Iatrochemistry


Podiatry, Psychiatry

-ic -icle -ics idioileoinfrainter-

pertaining to small organized knowledge, treatment self, one's own ileum below between, among

Hepatic artery Ovarian follicle Obstetrics Idiopathic Ileocecal valve Infrahyoid muscles Interarticular ligament Intracranial hemorrhage Ipsilateral hemiparesis Iridectomy Ischioanal fossa








iris Of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-joint

Greek ἴρις Ancient Greek ἰσχιόν (ischión), hip-joint, ischium

-ism -ismus iso-ist -ite -itis -ium isch-

condition, disease spasm, contraction Denoting something as being 'equal' one who specializes in the nature of, resembling inflammation structure, tissue Restriction Greek ἴσχω Greek -ισμός Ancient Greek ἴσος (ísos), equal Greek -ιστής (-istes) Greek -ίτης

Dwarfism Hemiballismus Isotonic Pathologist Hermaphrodite Tonsillitis pericardium Ischemia

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix kal/i karyokerat(o)Meaning potassium nucleus Greek κάρυον, "nut" Eukaryote Keratoscope Kinesthesia Koilocyte Kyphoscoliosis Origin language and etymology Example(s)

cornea (eye or skin) Greek Greek κινέω Greek κοῖλος (koilos) Greek κυφός

kin(e)-, kin(o), kinesi(o)- movement koil(o)kyph(o)hollow humped

Prefix/suffix labi(o)lacrim(o)lact(i)-, lact(o) lapar(o)laryng(o)Meaning Of or pertaining to the lip tear milk Of or pertaining to the abdomen-wall, flank Of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box is lateral Origin language and etymology Latin (labium), lip Latin Latin Ancient Greek λαπάρᾱ (lapárā), flank Ancient Greek λάρυγξ, λαρυγγ- (lárynx, laryng-), throat, gullet Latin Example(s) Labiodental Lacrimal canaliculi Lactation Laparotomy Larynx


Lateral pectoral nerve Leiomyoma Epilepsy, narcolepsy

lei(o)-lepsis, -lepsy

smooth attack, seizure

Greek λεῖος Greek λῆψις

lept(o)leuc(o)-, leuk(o)lingu(a)-, lingu(o)lip(o)lith(o)log(o)-logist

light, slender Denoting a white color

Greek λεπτός (leptos) Ancient Greek λευκός (leukos), white, bright Leukocyte

Of or pertaining to the tongue

Latin (lingua), tongue


fat stone, calculus speech Denotes someone who studies a certain field: _____-logy

Greek λίπος Greek λίθος Greek λόγος Ancient Greek λογιστής (logistēs), studier, practitioner

Liposuction Lithotripsy

Oncologist, pathologist hematology, urology Lymphedema Lysosome Paralysis


Denotes the academic study or practice of a certain field; Ancient Greek λόγoς (logos) study The study of lymph dissolution Destruction, separation Greek λέμφος, λύμφη Greek Greek λύσις

lymph(o)lys(o)-, -lytic -lysis

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix macr(o)-malacia mamm(o)mammill(o)manumast(o)large, long softening Of or pertaining to the breast Of or pertaining to the nipple Of or pertaining to the hand Of or pertaining to the breast Meaning Origin language and etymology Greek μακρός Greek μαλακία Latin (mamma), breast; udder Latin (mammilla), nipple Latin (manus), hand Ancient Greek μαστός (mastós), breast, women's breast; man's pectoral muscle Greek μέγας Manufacture Mastectomy Example(s) Macrophage Osteomalacia Mammogram

meg(a)-, megal(o)-, -megaly melan(o)-



black color

Ancient Greek μέλας, μελανο- (melas, melano-), black; Melanin dark Ancient Greek μέλος Greek μῆνιγξ, μηνιγγGreek μέρος (meros), part Ancient Greek μέσος (mesos), "middle" Greek μετά Greek μέτρον Greek -μετρία erythromelalgia Meningitis merocrine, meroblastic Mesoderm Metacarpus Sphygmomanometer Optometry Metrorrhagia

melos mening(o)meromes(o)meta-meter -metry metr(o)-

extremity membrane part middle after, behind instrument used to measure or count process of measuring

Pertaining to conditions or instruments Ancient Greek μήτρᾱ (mētrā), womb, uterus of the uterus denoting something as small, or relating to smallness single Ancient Greek μικρός (mikros), small




Greek μονός

Infectious mononucleosis Morphology Musculoskeletal system Myoblast


form, shape muscle Of or relating to muscle

Greek μορφή Latin Ancient Greek μῦς, μυ- (mys, my-), muscle; mouse; mussel Greek μύκης, μυκητ-


fungus Of or relating to bone marrow eardrum mucus


Ancient Greek μυελόν (myelon), marrow; bone-marrow Myeloblast Latin myringa Greek μύξα Myringotomy Myxoma


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix narc(o)nas(o)necr(o)numb, sleep


Origin language and etymology Greek νάρκη Latin (nāsum), nose Greek νεκρός

Example(s) narcolepsy nasal Necrotizing fasciitis Neoplasm Nephrology Nerve

Of or pertaining to the nose death


new Of or pertaining to the kidney Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system [Uncommon as a root: neuro- mostly always used] Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system

Greek νέος Ancient Greek νεφρός (nephrós), kidney Latin (nervus), tendon; nerve; Cognate with the Greek νευρον (neuron) (see below) Ancient Greek νεῦρον (neuron), tendon, sinew; nerve Latin

neur(i)-, neur(o)normo-




Prefix/suffix ocul(o)odont(o)odyn(o)-oesophageal, oesophago- (BrE) -oid ole olig(o)Meaning Of or pertaining to the eye Of or pertaining to teeth pain gullet Origin language and etymology Latin (oculus), the eye Ancient Greek ὀδούς, ὀδοντ- (odoús, odont-), tooth Greek ὀδύνη Greek οἰσοφάγος Oculist orthodontist stomatodynia Example(s)

resemblance to small or little Denoting something as 'having little, having few' Of or pertaining to the shoulder tumor, mass, collection

Greek -οειδής Latin Ancient Greek ὀλίγος (oligos), few



om(o)-oma (singular), -omata (plural) omphal(o)-

Ancient Greek ὠμός (ōmos), shoulder Greek -ωμα

Omoplate Sarcoma, Teratoma

Of or pertaining to the navel, the Ancient Greek ὀμφαλός (omphalós), navel, umbilicus belly-button tumor, bulk, volume Of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe) Of or pertaining to the an egg, a woman's egg, the ovum Of or pertaining to the woman's ovary Of or pertaining to the eye Of or relating to chemical properties of the eye Of or pertaining to the mouth testis Greek ὄγκος Ancient Greek < ὄνυξ, ὀνυχο- (ónyx, ónycho-), nail; claw; talon Ancient Greek ᾠόν, ᾠο- (ōón, ōo-), egg, ovum



Oncology Onychophagy




Neoclassical Greek ᾠοφόρον (ōophóron), ovary, egg-bearing Ancient Greek ὀφθαλμός (ophthalmós), the eye Middle French (optique) < Greek ὀπτικός (optikós); Cognate with Latin oculus, relating to the eye Latin (ōs, or-), mouth Greek ὀρχις (orkhis, orkhi-)



Ophthalmology Opticochemical

or(o)orchi(o)-, orchid(o)-, orch(o)-

Oral Orchiectomy, Orchidectomy

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Ancient Greek ὀρθός (orthos), straight, correct, normal Greek -ωσις Orthodontist


Denoting something as straight or correct a condition, disease or increase


Harlequin type ichthyosis, Psychosis, osteoperosis

osseoossiost(e)-, oste(o)ot(o)-ous ovari(o)ovo-, ovi-, ov-

bony bone bone Of or pertaining to the ear pertaining to Of or pertaining to the ovaries Of or pertaining to the eggs, the ovum addition of oxygen sharp, acid, acute, oxygen

Latin Latin Greek ὀστέον Ancient Greek οὖς, ὠτ- (ous, ōt-), the ear Latin -osus Latin (ōvarium), ovary Latin (ōvum), egg, ovum Ovariectomy Ovogenesis Peripheral ossifying fibroma Osteoporosis Otopathy


Greek ὀξύς Greek ὀξύς

Prefix/suffix pachypalpebrpan-, pant(o)thick Of or pertaining to the eyelid [uncommon as a root] Denoting something as 'complete' or containing 'everything' Of or pertaining to the nipple (of the chest/breast) Meaning Origin language and etymology Greek παχύς Latin (palpebra), eyelid Ancient Greek πᾶς, παν- (pas, pan-), all, every Example(s) pachyderma Palpebra panophobia, panopticon


Latin (papilla), nipple; dimunitive of papula Papillitis (see below) Latin (papula), pimple, pustle; a small elevation or swelling in the skin Ancient Greek παρά (para) Greek πάρεσις Latin parvus Greek πάθος hemiparesis Parvovirus Pathology sociopathy, neuropathy Papulation


Indicates papulosity, a small elevation or swelling in the skin, a pimple, swelling alongside of, abnormal slight paralysis small disease

para-paresis parvopath(o)-pathy

Denotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorder Ancient Greek πάθος (pathos), suffering, accident Of or pertaining to the foot; -footed hip bone deficiency Of or pertaining to the penis Denotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract. Latin pēs, pēd-, foot Latin Greek πενία Greek πέος (peos) Ancient Greek πεπτός (peptós) cooked, digested < πέσσω (péssō) I boil, cook; digest Latin Ancient Greek περί (peri), around

ped-, -ped-, -pes pelv(i)-, pelv(o)-penia peo-pepsia

Pedoscope Pelvis osteopenia Peotomy Dyspepsia


through Denoting something with a position 'surrounding' or 'around' another fixation



Greek πῆξις


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Greek φακός phacolysis, phacometer, phacoscotoma Sarcophagia



-phage, -phagia

Forms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestion eating, devouring Forms nouns that denote a person who 'feeds on' the first element or part of the word Forms nouns that denotes 'feeding on' the first element or part of the word phallus drug, medication Of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavity attraction for Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein

Ancient Greek φαγία (phagía) eating < φαγεῖν (phagein) to eat Greek -φάγος Ancient Greek φαγιστής (phagistēs) eater; see -phagia Ancient Greek φαγία (phagia) eating; see -phagia Greek φαλλός (phallos) Greek φάρμακον


phagocyte Lotophagi




Aphallia pharmacology

Ancient Greek φάρυγξ, φαρυγγ- (phárynx, Pharyngitis, pháryng-), throat, windpipe; chasm Pharyngoscopy Greek φιλία Ancient Greek φλέψ, φλεβ- (phleps, phlebo-), blood-vessel, vein Greek φόβος Greek φωνή Ancient Greek φῶς, φωτ- (phōs, phōt-), light Hemophilia Phlebography, Phlebotomy arachnophobia phonograph, symphony Phosphene

-phil(ia) phleb(o)-

-phobia phon(o)phos-

exaggerated fear, sensitivity sound Of or pertaining to light or its chemical properties, now historic and used rarely. See the common root phot(o)- below. Of or pertaining to light


Ancient Greek φῶς, φωτ- (phōs, phōt-), light Latin pirum, pear Greek φρήν, φρεν-


piriphren(i)-, phren(o)-, phrenico -plasia -plasty -plegia pleiopleur(o)-, pleur(a)

Pear the mind

Piriformis Phrenic nerve, schizophrenia, diaphragm Achondroplasia rhinoplasty paraplegia pleiomorphism Pleurogenous

formation, development surgical repair, reconstruction paralysis more, excessive, multiple Of or pertaining to the ribs

Greek πλάσις Greek πλαστός Greek πληγή Greek pleion Latin (pleura) from Ancient Greek πλευρόν (pleurón), rib, side of the body Greek πλῆξις Ancient Greek πνεύμων, πνευμον(pneumōn, pneumon-), lung < πνεῦμα (pneuma), wind, spirit Ancient Greek Ancient Greek πούς, ποδ- (poús, pod-), foot

-plexy pneum(o)-

stroke or seizure Of or pertaining to the lungs

Cataplexy Pneumonocyte, Pneumonia

pneumat(o)pod-, -pod-, -pus

air, lung Of or pertaining to the foot, -footed


-poiesis poliopolypor(o)-

production Denoting a grey color Denotes a 'plurality' of something pore, porous Ancient Greek πολιός (poliós), grey Ancient Greek πολυς (polys), much, many

hematopoiesis Poliomyelitis Polymyositis

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Ancient Greek πορπύρα (porphýra), purple Porphyroblast Latin (post), after, behind Postoperation, Postmortem Prematurity


Denotes a purple color Denotes something as 'after' or 'behind' another


Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) old age Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important' Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) anus, rectum face Denotes something as 'first' or 'most important'

Medieval Latin (pre-) < (Classical) Latin (præ), before, in front of Greek Latin prīmus, first, most important


Presbyopia Primary

Ancient Greek προ (pro), before, in front of Procephalic


proctology Greek (prosopon), face, mask Ancient Greek πρωτος (prōtos), first; principal, most important Ancient Greek Ancient Greek ψυχή (psyché), breath, life, soul Greek Psychology, psychiatry Prosopagnosia Protoneuron

pseud(o)psych(e)-, psych(o) pterygopsor-ptosis -ptysis

Denotes something false or fake Of or pertaining to the mind

Pertaining to a wing Itching falling, drooping, downward placement, prolapse (a spitting), spitting, hemoptysis, the spitting of blood derived from the lungs or bronchial tubes Of or relating to the lungs.

Lateral pterygoid plate Psoriasis Apoptosis hemoptysis

pulmon-, pulmo-

Latin (pulmo, pulmōn-, usually used in plural), a lung Ancient Greek (pyelos) Greek πύον Greek πῦρ, πυρετός



pelvis pus fever

Pyelonephritis Pyometra Antipyretic

Prefix/suffix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s) quadr(i)four Latin quadriceps


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix radiorerect(o)ren(o)reticul(o)retrorhabd(o)rhachi(o)radiation again, backward rectum


Origin language and etymology Latin Latin Latin Latin (rēnes), kidney Latin Latin Greek ῥάβδος Greek ῥάχις renal reticulocyte radiowave relapse


Of or pertaining to the kidney net backward, behind rod shaped, striated spine

retroversion, retroverted rhabdomyolysis rachial, rachialgia, rachidian, rachiopathy rhinoceros, rhinoplasty


Of or pertaining to the nose

Ancient Greek ῥίς, ῥῑνο- (rhīs, rhīno-), nose Ancient Greek ῥόδον (rhódon), rose Greek -ρραγία Greek -ρραγία Greek ῥαφή Greek -ρροια

rhod(o)-rrhage -rrhagia -rrhaphy -rrhea (AmE) -rrhexis -rrhoea (BrE) rubr(o)-

Denoting a rose-red color burst forth rapid flow of blood surgical suturing flowing, discharge

rhodophyte Hemorrhage

Galactorrhea, Diarrhea

rupture flowing, discharge

Greek ῥῆξις Greek -ρροια diarrhoea

Of or pertaining to the red nucleus of the brain

Latin (ruber), red


Prefix/suffix salping(o)Meaning Of or pertaining to the fallopian tubes Origin language and etymology Ancient Greek σάλπιγξ, σαλπιγγ-, (sálpinx, salpingo-) trumpet (literally) Latin (sanguis, sanguin-), blood Example(s) Salpingectomy, Salpingopharyngeus muscle

sangui-, sanguinesarcoschist(o)schiz(o)-

Of or pertaining to blood


muscular, fleshlike split, cleft Denoting something 'split' or 'double-sided'

Greek σάρξ, σαρκGreek σχιστός (schistos) Ancient Greek σχιζω; Irregular formation of the verb σχίζειν (schizein), to cut, split Greek σκληρός Greek Greek σκολιός (skolios) Greek -σκόπος Greek -σκοπία Greek skotos



scler(o)-sclerosis scoli(o)-scope -scopy scoto-

hardness hardening of the skin twisted instrument for viewing use of instrument for viewing darkness

atherosclerosis Multiple sclerosis scoliosis stethoscope endoscopy scotopic vision

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

Latin Greek σίαλος (sialos) Greek σιγμοειδής Latin Latin (sinus), a curve, bend, bay Greek σῖτος Greek σῶμα Sinusitis sialagogue sigmoid colon

semisial(o)sigmoid(o)sinistr(o)sinussitosomat(o)-, somaticospasmosperma-, spermo-, spermatosplanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)splen(o)spondyl(o)-

one-half, partly saliva, salivary gland sigmoid, S-shaped curvature left, left side Of or pertaining to the sinus food, grain body, bodily

spasm semen, spermatozoa

Greek σπασμός Greek σπέρμα (sperma)

Spasmodic dysphonia Spermatogenesis


Greek σπλάγχνον

spleen Of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra

Greek σπλήν, σπληνGreek σπόνδυλος / σφόνδυλος, (spóndylos / sphóndylos), the spine Latin (sqāmōsus), full of scales; scaly Greek στάσις Greek στακτός Ancient Greek στενός (stenos), narrow; short Ancient Greek στενός (stenos), narrow; short Ancient Greek στῆθος (stēthos), chest, cuirass Greek σθένος Greek στόμα Ancient Greek στόμα, στοματ(stóma, stomat-), mouth Greek -στομία Latin Latin Latin Ancient Greek συν- (syn), with, together

Splenectomy Spondylitis


Denoting something as 'full of scales' or 'scaly'


-stasis -staxis sten(o)-

stop, stand dripping, trickling Denoting something as 'narrow in shape' or pertaining to narrow-ness abnormal narrowing in a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest, the area above the breast and under the neck strength, force, power mouth Of or pertaining to the mouth



Stenosis, Restenosis



sthenostom(a) stomat(o)-

stomatognathic system Stomatogastric

-stomy subsupersuprasy, syl-, sym-, syn-, sys-

creation of an opening beneath in excess, above, superior above, excessive Indicates similarity, likeness, or being together; Assimilates before some consonants: before l to syl-, s to sys-, before a labial consonant to sym-.

colostomy subcutaneous tissue superior vena cava supraorbital vein Synalgia, Synesthesia, Syssarcosis

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix tachyMeaning Denoting something as fast, irregularly fast Origin language and etymology Ancient Greek ταχύς (tachys), fast, quickly Latin Example(s) Tachycardia

-tension, -tensive tetanthecthel(e)-, thel(o)-

pressure rigid, tense case, sheath Of or pertaining to a nipple [uncommon as a prefix]

Hypertension tetanus

Ancient Greek θήκη (theke) Ancient Greek θηλή (thēlē), a teat, nipple Ancient Greek θῆλυς (thēlys), female, feminine Ancient Greek (therapeía) Ancient Greek θερμός (thermós) Latin (thōrāx) < Ancient Greek θώραξ (thōrax), chest, cuirass Ancient Greek θρόμβος (thrómbos), lump, piece, clot of blood Greek θυρεο-ειδής Greek: "thymos," spirit, soul; courage; breath, mind, emotions Greek -τικός Greek τόκος Greek τομή Greek -τομία Greek τόνος Greek -τονία Greek τόπος Latin tortus Greek τοξικόν

Intrathecal Theleplasty


Denoting something as 'relating to a woman, feminine' treatment heat Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neck Of or relating to a blood clot, clotting of blood


therap(o)therm(o)thorac(i)-, thorac(o)-, thoracicothromb(o)-



Thrombus, Thrombocytopenia


thyroid emotions


-tic toco-tome -tomy tono-tony top(o)tort(i)tox(i)-, tox(o)-, toxic(o)trache(o)trachel(o)-

pertaining to childbirth cutting instrument act of cutting; incising, incision tone, tension, pressure tension place, topical twisted toxin, poison


Topical anesthetic Torticollis Toxoplasmosis

trachea Of or pertaining to the neck

Greek τραχεία Ancient Greek τράχηλος (tráchēlos), neck

Tracheotomy tracheloplasty


Denoting something as moving or situated 'across' or Latin (trāns), across, through 'through' Of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structure Ancient Greek θρίξ, τριχ(ο)- (thríx, trich(o)-), hair Greek τρίψις Greek -τροφία, τροφή Greek τύμπανον


trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)-tripsy -trophy tympan(o)-


crushing nourishment, development eardrum

Lithotripsy Pseudohypertrophy Tympanocentesis

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix -ula, -ule ultraumbilicunguismall beyond, excessive Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Of or pertaining to the nail, a claw Meaning Origin language and etymology Latin Latin Latin (umbilīcus), navel, belly-button Latin (unguis), nail, claw Umbilical Unguiform, Ungual Unilateral hearing loss Urology Example(s) Nodule



Latin (unus)


Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system; (specifically) pertaining to the physiological chemistry of urine uric acid

Ancient Greek οὖρον (ouron), urine

uri(c)-, uricourin-

Greek οὐρικός

Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system

Latin (ūrīna), urine < Ancient Greek ουρον (ouron), see above. Latin (uterus), womb, uterus



Of or pertaining to the uterus or womb


Prefix or suffix vaginvaric(o)vas(o)vasculovenMeaning Origin language and etymology Examples

Of or pertaining to the vagina swollen or twisted vein duct, blood vessel blood vessel Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein (used in terms pertaining to the vascular system) Of or pertaining to the belly; the stomach cavities

Latin (vāgīna), sheath, scabbard Latin varix Latin Latin vāsculum Latin (vēna), blood-vessel, vein

Vagina varicose vasoconstriction

Vein, Venospasm


Latin (venter), the belly, the stomach; the womb Latin (venter), the ventricles of the heart, the ventricles of the brain Latin versiō



Of or pertaining to the ventricles; any hollow region inside an organ turning

Cardiac ventriculography anteversion, retroversion Vesica Viscera



Of or pertaining to the bladder Of or pertaining to the internal organs, the viscera

Latin (vēsīca), bladder; blister Latin (viscera), internal organs; plural of (viscerum), internal organ


List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Prefix/suffix xanth(o)xen(o)xer(o)-


Origin language and etymology


Denoting a yellow color, an abnormally yellow color Ancient Greek ξανθός (xanthós), yellow Xanthopathy Foreign, different dry, desert-like Greek ξένος (xenos), stranger Greek ξερός (xeros), dry Xenograft Xerostomia

Prefix/suffix -y Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s) Surgery

condition or process of Latin -ia < Greek -ία

Prefix/suffix zo(o)zym(o)Meaning animal, animal life Origin language and etymology Example(s) Greek ζῷον

fermentation, enzyme Greek ζύμη

English meanings
This section contains lists of different root classification (e.g. body components, quantity, description, etc.). Each list is alphabetized by English meanings, with the corresponding Greek and Latin roots given.

Roots of the body
Roots of bodily concepts
Bodily concept Greek root Latin root Other root Digestion Disease Eating -pepsia -pathy -phagia -

Roots of body parts and components (Internal anatomy, external anatomy, body fluids, body substances)
Body part or component abdomen aorta arm armpit artery back big toe bladder lapar(o)aort(o)brachi(o)arteri(o)cyst(o)Greek root Latin root abdominaort(o)axilldorsallicvesic(o)Other root

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

haemat-, hemat- (haem-, hem-) sangui-, sanguinethromb(o)angi(o)somat-, somoste(o)myel(o)encephal(o)mast(o)steth(o)ot(o)ooophthalm(o)blephar(o)prosop(o)salping(o)lip(o)dactyl(o)cholecyst(o)gon(o)-, phall(o)aden(o)balan(o)trich(o)cheir(o)-, chir(o)cephal(o)cardi(o)cerat(o)enter(o)gnath(o)nephr(o)goncheil(o)-, chil(o)hepat(o)- (hepatic-) episi(o)pneumonmyel(o)vascul-, vascorporossimedullcerebr(o)mamm(o)buccaur(i)ovocul(o)cili-; palpebrfaci(o)adipdigitfront(o)fellgingivcapillmanucapit(o)cordicoxcornurengenulabi(o)jecorpudendoptic(o)- [French] -

blood blood clot blood vessel body bone bone marrow, marrow brain breast chest cheek ear eggs, ova eye eyelid face fallopian tubes fat, fatty tissue finger forehead gallbladder genitals, sexually undifferentiated gland glans penis or clitoridis gums hair hand head heart hip, hip-joint horn intestine jaw kidney knee lip liver loins, pubic region lungs marrow, bone marrow

pulmon(i)- (pulmo-) medull-

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

psychstomat(o)my(o)onych(o)omphal(o)trachel(o)neur(o)thelerhin(o)oophor(o)pyel(o)pe(o)cor-, core-, coropleur(o)thorac(i)-, thorac(o)om(o)dermat(o)- (derm-) crani(o)gastr(o)orchi(o)-, orchid(o)pharyng(o)mentorunguiumbiliccervicnervpapill-, mammillnasovari(o)pelv(i)cost(o)humer(o)sinuscut-, cuticulventr(o)pollicdent(i)lingu(a)digittumureter(o)-

mind mouth muscle nail navel neck nerve; the nervous system nipple, teat nose ovary pelvis penis pupil (of the eye) rib rib cage shoulder sinus skin skull stomach testis throat (upper throat cavity)

throat (lower throat cavity/voice box]) laryng(o)thumb tooth tongue toe tumour ureter urethra urine, urinary System uterine tubes uterus vagina vein vulva womb wrist odont(o)gloss-, glottdactyl(o)cel-, onc(o)ureter(o)urethr(o)-, urethr(a)ur(o)sarping(o)hyster(o)-, metr(o)colp(o)phleb(o)episi(o)hyster(o)-, metr(o)carp(o)-

urethr(o)-, urethr(a)- urin(o)sarping(o)uter(o)vaginvenvulvuter(o)carp(o)-

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes


Roots of color
Color black blue Greek root in English Latin root in English melanocyanonigrvirpurpur-, purpureorub-, rubralbflavjaun - [French] Other root

gray, grey poliogreen purple red chlor(o)porphyr(o)erythr(o)-, rhod(o)-

red-yellow cirrh(o)white yellow leuc-, leukxanth(o)-

Roots of description
(Size, shape, strength, etc.)
Description bad, incorrect bent, crooked big biggest broad, wide cold dead equal false female, feminine flat good, well great hard heavy hollow huge incorrect, bad irregular Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root cac(o)-, dysankyl(o)mega-, megal(o)megisteurycry(o)necr(o)is(o)pseud(o)thelyplatyeumega-, megal(o)scler(o)bar(o)coel(o)megal(o)cac(o)-, dyspoikil(o) mal(e)prav(i)magn(i)maximlat(i)frig(i)mortequ(i)fals(i)plan(i)ben(e)-, bon(i)magn(i)dur(i)grav(i)cav(i)magn(i)mal(e)magn(i)maximlong(i)vir-

large; extremely large megalargest long male, masculine megistmacr(o)arseno-

List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

sten(o)neoorth(o)paleooxybrachymicr(o)bradytachymalac(o)orth(o)pachypoikiloeueuryangust(i)nov(i)rect(i)veteracbrev(i)parv(i)- (rare) minimtard(i)celermoll(i)rect(i)crass(i)variben(e)lat(i)-

narrow new normal, correct old sharp short small smallest slow fast soft straight thick varied, various well, good wide, broad

Roots of position
Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root around left middle right perilevomes(o)dexi(o)circumlaev(o)-, sinistrmedidextr(o)circum-

surrounding peri-

Roots of quantity
(Amount, quantity)
Description Greek root in English Latin root in English double equal few half diploisooligohemidupliequipaucisemimultibisdemi- (French) Other root

many, much polytwice dis-

Article Sources and Contributors


Article Sources and Contributors
List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes  Source:  Contributors: 1exec1, Alansohn, Aliciasuzanne, Altenmann, Antonielly, Arturkjakub, Atomician, BD2412, Ben Ben, Bfigura, Bksambueno, Blanchardb, Bloomingdedalus, Bsplendens, CNutt20, Can't sleep, clown will eat me, Cappycollins, Cburnett, Cptjanie, Cyclonenim, DARTH SIDIOUS 2, DBigXray, Daisy27, DanielDeibler, Darkwyr, Davewho2, Davidruben, Dillard421, Dominus, Dr. F.C. Turner, EagleFan, Eug, Excirial, Fl, Galaxiaad, Gilliam, Glacialfox, Gogo Dodo, Hughcharlesparker, II MusLiM HyBRiD II, Iaconome, Indowiz, Ipoellet, Ishkabob13, Iyw5001, J.delanoy, J04n, Jainnys, JamesBWatson, Janine 07, Jay8g, JerredS, Joanneslaght, John of Reading, Jwillbur, KC109, KakistocraticLaw, Kessy628, Khaled7stars, Khmir2467, Koavf, Kpanz20, L Kensington, LedgendGamer, Logiphile, Louism, Macedonian, Markacohen, Michael Hardy, MicroBio Hawk, Mild Bill Hiccup, Mitch Ames, Mrug2, Murrax, NickCT, NickPenguin, Nono64, Novangelis, Omnipaedista, Open2universe, Ordinary Person, PacoBell, PaddyM, Pdcook, Peter Grey, PhilKnight, Philip Trueman, Pip2andahalf, Plasticup, Rachid Linden, S ried, Sassie580, Schmloof, Sextiliana, Skeptic1981, Skinny McGee, Studio 126, Superiormind, TJRC, TamaraG282, Thingg, Wikipelli, William Avery, Wingspeed, Wonderjolie, Woohookitty, Yworo, 383 anonymous edits

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