Appendix A: Word Parts and What They Mean: MedlinePlus (2024)

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Understanding Medical Words: A Tutorial

Appendix A: Word Parts and What They Mean

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Here is a list of word parts. They may be at the beginning, in the middle, or at the end of a medical word.

  • General Words
  • Body Parts and Disorders
  • Positions and Directions
  • Numbers and Amounts
  • Colors
  • Physical Properties and Shapes
  • Good and Bad
  • Procedures, Diagnosis and Surgery

General Words

Part Definition
-acpertaining to
andr-, andro-male
chem-, chemo-chemistry
cyt-, cyto-cell
-blast-, -blasto, -blasticbud, germ
-cyte, -cyticcell
fibr-, fibro-fiber
gluco-, glycol-glucose, sugar
gyn-, gyno-, gynec-female
hetero-other, different
hydr-, hydro-water
idio-self, one's own
-itypertaining to
-ous pertaining to
oxy-sharp, acute, oxygen
pan-, pant-, panto-all or everywhere
pharmaco-drug, medicine
re-again, backward
somat-, somatico-, somato-body, bodily

Body Parts and Disorders

Part Definition
acous-, acouso-hearing
aden-, adeno-gland
adip-, adipo-fat
adren-, adreno-gland
angi-, angio-blood vessel
ateri-, aterio-artery
arthr-, arthro-joint
bronch-, bronchi-bronchus (large airway that leads from the trachea (windpipe) to a lung)
bucc-, bucco-cheek
burs-, burso-bursa (a small, fluid-filled sac that acts as a cushion between a bone and other moving parts)
carcin-, carcino-cancer
cardi-, cardio-heart
cephal-, cephalo-head
Coron- heart
cost- rib
crani-, cranio-brain
cutane skin
cyst-, cysti-, cysto-bladder or sac
dactyl-, dactylo-digit (finger or toe)
derm-, dermato-skin
duodeno-duodenum (the first part of your small intestine, right after your stomach)
gloss-, gloss-tongue
gnath-, gnatho-jaw
hem, hema-, hemat-, hemato-, hemo-blood
hepat-, hepatico-, hepato-liver
hidr-, hidro-sweat
hist-, histio-, histo-tissue
hyster-, hystero-uterus
ileo-ileum (the lower part of the small intestine)
irid-, irido-iris
ischi-, ischio-ischium (the lower and back part of the hip bone)
-iumstructure or tissue
kerat-, kerato-cornea (eye or skin)
lacrim-, lacrimo-tear (from your eyes)
lact-, lacti-, lacto-milk
laryng-, laryngo-larynx (voice box)
lingu-, linguo-tongue
lip-, lipo-fat
lith-, litho-stone
lymph-, lympho-lymph
mamm, mast-, masto-breast
mening-, meningo-meninges (the membranes that surround the brain and spinal cord)
muscul-, musclo-muscle
my-, myo-muscle
myel-, myelo-spinal cord OR bone marrow
myring-, myringo-eardrum
nephr-, nephro-kidney
neur-, neuri-, neuronnerve
odont-, odonto-tooth
onych-, onycho-fingernail, toenail
oo-egg, ovary
oophor-, oophoro-ovary
op-, opt- vision
ophthalm-, ophthalmo-eye
orchid-, orchido-, orchio-testis
ost-, oste-, osteo-bone
ot-, oto-ear
ovari-, ovario-, ovi-, ovo-ovary
phalang- phalanx (any bone in the fingers or toes)
pharyng-, pharyngo-pharynx, throat
phleb-, phlebo-vein
phob-, phobiafear
phren-, phreni-, phrenico-, phreno-diaphragm
pleur-, pleura-, pleuro-rib, pleura (membrane that wraps around the outside of your lungs and lines the inside of your chest cavity)
pneum-, pneuma-, pneumat-, pneumato-air, lung
pod-, podofoot
psych-, psyche-, psycho-mind
proct-, procto-anus, rectum
pyel-, pyelo-pelvis
rect-, recto-rectum
ren-, reno-kidney
retin- retina (of the eye)
rhin-, rhino-nose
salping-, salpingo-tube
sial-, sialo-saliva, salivary gland
sigmoid-, sigmoido-sigmoid colon
splanchn-, splanchni-, splanchno-viscera (internal organ)
sperma-, spermato-, spermo-sperm
splen-, spleno-spleen
spondyl-, spondylo-vertebra
stern- sternum (breastbone)
stom-, stoma-, stomat-, stomato-mouth
thel-, thelo-nipples
thorac-, thoracico-, thoraco-chest
thromb-, thrombo-blood clot
thyr-, thyro-thyroid gland
trache-, tracheo-trachea (windpipe)
tympan-, tympano-eardrum
ur-, uro-urine
uri-, uric-, urico-uric acid
-uriain the urine
varic-, varico-duct, blood vessel
vasculo-blood vessel
ven-, veno- vein
vertebr-vertebra, spine
vesic-, vesico-vesicle (cyst or pouch)

Positions and Directions

Part Definition
ab-, abs-away from
ambi-both sides
ante-before, forward
cycl-circle, cycle
dextr-, dextro-right side
de-away from, ending
dia-across, through
ect-, ecto-, exo-outer; outside
end-, endo-, ent- enter-, entero-, within; inner
epi-Upon, outside of
ex-, extra-beyond
infra-beneath; below
meta-beyond, change
para-alongside, abnormal
post-behind, after
pre-before, in front
retro-backward, behind
sinistr-, sinistro-left, left side
supra-above, upon
sy-. syl-, sym-, syn-, sys-together
trans-across, through

Numbers and Amounts

Part Definition
brady- slow
hyper-above, beyond, excessive
hypo-under, deficient
iso-equal, like
macro-large, long, big
meg-, mega-, megal-, megalo-great, large
mic-, micro-small
mon-, mono-one
olig-, oligo-few, little
poly-many, excessive
tri- three


Part Definition
chlor-, chloro-green
chrom-, chromato-color
erythr-, erythro-red
leuk-, leuko-white
melan-, melano-black
xanth-, xantho-yellow

Physical Properties and Shapes

Part Definition
elect- electrical activity
kin-, kine-, kinesi-, kinesio-, kino-movement
kyph-, kypho-humped
morph-, morpho-shape
rhabd-, rhabdo-rod-shaped, striated
scoli-, scolio-twisted
cry-, cryo-cold
phon-, phono-sound
phot-, photo-light
reticul-, reticulo-net
therm-, thermo-heat
tono-tone, tension, pressure

Good and Bad

Part Definition
-alge-, -algesipain
a-, an-without; lacking
dis-separation, taking apart
-dyniapain, swelling
dys-difficult, abnormal
-eal, -ialpertaining to
-ectasisexpansion or dilation
-emiablood condition
-esis state or condition
eu-good, well
-iasiscondition, formation of
-ites, -itis inflammation
-lysis, -lytic, lyso-, lys-break down, destruction, dissolving
mal-bad, abnormal
-maniamorbid impulse towards an object/thing
myc-, myco-fungus
myx-, myxo-mucus
necr-, necro-death
orth-, ortho-straight, normal, correct
-osiscondition, usually abnormal
-pathy, patho-, path-disease
-peniadeficiency, lack of
-phagia, phagy eating, swallowing
-plasia, -plasticgrowth
pro-favoring, supporting
pro-favoring, supporting
-ptosisfalling, drooping
onco-tumor, bulk, volume
-rrhage, -rrhagicbleeding
-rrhea flow or discharge
sarco-muscular, fleshlike
schisto-split, cleft, division
schiz-, schizosplit, cleft
sclera-, sclero-hardness
-spasmmuscle condition
-stasislevel, unchanging
sten-, steno-narrowed, blocked

Procedures, Diagnosis and Surgery

Parts Definition
-centesissurgical puncture to remove fluid
-desissurgical binding
-ectomycut out, removal
-gram, -graph, -graphyrecording, written
-meterdevice used for measuring
-metry measurement of
-opsyvisual examination
-pexysurgical fixation
-plastysurgical reconstruction
radio- radiation, radius
-scope, -scopy examine, for examining
-stomysurgical opening
-tomycutting; incision
Appendix A: Word Parts and What They Mean: MedlinePlus (2024)


What is the word part for appendix? ›

Our word root is append…which is the appendix. The suffix is itis…. meaning inflammation, or inflammation of.. Appendicitis is the inflammation of the appendix.

What suffix means appendix? ›

Lets see it as a medical term: appendicitis: Appendic/o is the word root meaning appendix. -itis is the suffix meaning inflammation of. What is inflammed? The appendix. Appendectomy: append/o appendix -ectomy is the suffix to remove the appendix.

What are the 5 basic word parts of medical terminology? ›

Medical terms are built from word parts. Those word parts are prefix, word root, suffix, and combining form vowel. When a word root is combined with a combining form vowel the word part is referred to as a combining form.

Is appendix a medical term? ›

A small, fingerlike pouch that sticks out from the cecum (the first part of the large intestine near the end of the small intestine). The appendix is a small, fingerlike pouch that is attached to the end of the colon (large intestine).

What is an appendix in writing examples? ›

An appendix contains information that supplements the reader's understanding of your research but is not essential to it. For example: Interview transcripts. Questionnaires.

What does an appendix look like? ›

Appendix: The appendix is a closed-ended, narrow, worm-like tube up to several inches in length that attaches to the cecum (the first part of the colon). (The anatomical name for the appendix, vermiform appendix, means worm-like appendage.)

Which word part means sperm? ›


What is an example of a word part? ›

Prefixes and suffixes are word parts. that carry meaning. For example, the prefix un- means means “not” or “the opposite of” as in the word unusual, and the suffix -est means “the most” as in the word smartest.

What is the root word for pain? ›

The word "pain" comes from the Latin "poena" meaning a fine, a penalty.

What is the difference between appendix and appendix? ›

**Note: Appendix is singular and appendices is plural.

What is the suffix in medical terminology? ›

Suffix: The suffix appears at the end of a term and may indicate a specialty, test, procedure, function, disorder, or status. Otherwise, it may define whether the word is a noun, verb, or adjective.

What is the medical term ante? ›

Ante = before (Latin) Anterior = near or nearer to the front. Antenatal = before birth. (N.B. do not confuse with Anti- = opposite, against) Anti- = opposite, against.

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