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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.
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Alphabetical Listing (word building)

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Medical Terminology Reference

Use this reference to see how common medical terms are created using the various prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

capillus

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: capill/o
1st Root Definition: capillary
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -us
Suffix Definition: structure; thing
Definition: relating to capillaries

carcinogen

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: carcin/o
1st Root Definition: cancerous; cancer
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -gen
Suffix Definition: substance that produces
Definition: substance that produces cancer

carcinogenic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: carcin/o
1st Root Definition: cancerous
2nd Root Word: cancer
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -genic
Suffix Definition: produced by or in
Definition: potential of producing cancer

cardiac

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ac
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the heart

cardiogenic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -genic
Suffix Definition: produced by or in
Definition: produced by or in the heart

cardiogram

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -gram
Suffix Definition: record
Definition: record of muscle activity within the heart

cardiograph

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -graph
Suffix Definition: instrument for recording
Definition: instrument for recording the muscle activity within the heart

cardiologist

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logist
Suffix Definition: specialist in the study of
Definition: specialist in the study of the heart

cardiology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of disease; treatment of the heart

cardiotoxicity

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word: toxic/o
2nd Root Word Definition: poison
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: toxicity that affects the heart

carpopedal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: carp/o
1st Root Definition: carpals (wrist bones)
2nd Root Word: ped/o
2nd Root Word Definition: child; foot
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the wrist and foot

catabolism

Prefix: cata-
Prefix Definition: down
1st Root Word: bol/o
1st Root Definition: cast; throw
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ism
Suffix Definition: process; condition
Definition: process of breaking down molecules in metabolism

cephalalgia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cephal/o
1st Root Definition: head
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -algia
Suffix Definition: pain
Definition: headache

cephalic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cephal/o
1st Root Definition: head
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the head

ceratoid

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cerat/o
1st Root Definition: horn; cornea
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -oid
Suffix Definition: resembling; derived from
Definition: resembling a horn (shape)

cerebellum

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cerebell/o
1st Root Definition: cerebellum (posterior part of the brain)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -um
Suffix Definition: structure; tissue; thing
Definition: structure of the posterior part of the brain

cerebrology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cerebr/o
1st Root Definition: cerebrum (largest part of the brain)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of the cerebrum

cervicodorsal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cervic/o
1st Root Definition: neck; cervix (neck of uterus)
2nd Root Word: dors/o
2nd Root Word Definition: back (of body)
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the neck and back

chemotherapy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: chem/o
1st Root Definition: drug; chemical
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -therapy
Suffix Definition: treatment
Definition: treatment of disease using chemicals; drugs

chlorophyll

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: chlor/o
1st Root Definition: green
2nd Root Word: phyl/o
2nd Root Word Definition: race
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: green substance; pigment

cholecystalgia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cholecyst/o
1st Root Definition: gallbladder
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -algia
Suffix Definition: pain
Definition: abdominal (gallbladder) pain

cholecystectomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cholecyst/o
1st Root Definition: gallbladder
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ectomy
Suffix Definition: removal; excision; resection
Definition: removal; excision; resection of the gallbladder

cholecystitis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cholecyst/o
1st Root Definition: gallbladder
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the gallbladder

cholelithiasis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: chol/e
1st Root Definition: bile; gall
2nd Root Word: lith/o
2nd Root Word Definition: stone; calculus
Suffix: -iasis
Suffix Definition: abnormal condition
Definition: abnormal condition of the gallbladder; formation of gallstones

cholemia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: chol/e
1st Root Definition: bile; gall
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -emia
Suffix Definition: blood condition
Definition: excess bile in the blood

chondrocalcinosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: chondr/o
1st Root Definition: cartilage
2nd Root Word: calci/o
2nd Root Word Definition: calcium
Suffix: -osis
Suffix Definition: condition; usually abnormal
Definition: condition of calcium in the cartilage of joints

ciliary

Prefix: cili-
Prefix Definition: cilia
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ary
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the cilia; eyelids; eyelashes

circumcision

Prefix: circum-
Prefix Definition: around
1st Root Word: cis/o
1st Root Definition: to cut
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ion
Suffix Definition: process
Definition: process of cutting around the skin of a penis

claustrophobia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: claustr/o
1st Root Definition: enclosed space
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -phobia
Suffix Definition: fear
Definition: fear of enclosed spaces

coagulant

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: coagul/o
1st Root Definition: coagulation (clotting)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ant
Suffix Definition: that is or does something
Definition: substance that causes blood to coagulate

coenzymes

Prefix: co-
Prefix Definition: together; in common; mutually
1st Root Word: en-
1st Root Definition: in; within
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -zyme
Suffix Definition: enzyme
Definition: non protein compound that is necessary for the functioning of an
enzyme

colonoscopy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: colon/o
1st Root Definition: colon (large intestine)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scopy
Suffix Definition: visual examination
Definition: visual examination of the colon (large intestine)

colostomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: col/o
1st Root Definition: colon (large intestine)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -stomy
Suffix Definition: new opening
Definition: surgical procedure to create a new opening in the colon (large
intestine)

colposcopy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: colp/o
1st Root Definition: vagina
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scopy
Suffix Definition: visual examination
Definition: visual examination of the vagina

corectomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: core/o
1st Root Definition: pupil
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ectomy
Suffix Definition: removal; excision; resection
Definition: surgical removal; excision; resection of part of the pupil

corneal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: corne/o
1st Root Definition: cornea
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -eal
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the cornea

costochondral

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cost/o
1st Root Definition: rib
2nd Root Word: chondr/o
2nd Root Word Definition: cartilage
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the joints between the ribs and costal cartilage

craniology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: crani/o
1st Root Definition: skull
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of skulls (shape, size…)

cruciform

Prefix: cruci-
Prefix Definition: cross
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -form
Suffix Definition: resembling the shape of
Definition: resembling the shape of a cross

cryoablation

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cry/o
1st Root Definition: cold
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ablation
Suffix Definition: destroy or damage tissue
Definition: process using extreme cold to destroy or damage tissue

cuneiform

Prefix: cunei-
Prefix Definition: wedge
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -form
Suffix Definition: resembling the shape of
Definition: resembling the shape of a wedge

cyanopsia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyan/o
1st Root Definition: blue
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -opsia
Suffix Definition: vision condition
Definition: vision condition where all objects appear blue

cyphosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyph/o
1st Root Definition: bent
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -osis
Suffix Definition: condition, usually abnormal
Definition: abnormal bend in the spine

cystotomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyst/o
1st Root Definition: urinary bladder; cyst; sac of fluid
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tomy
Suffix Definition: process of cutting
Definition: surgical process of cutting into the urinary bladder

cytokine

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyt/o
1st Root Definition: cell
2nd Root Word: kin/e
2nd Root Word Definition: movement
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: substances that are secreted by certain cells

cytology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyt/o
1st Root Definition: cell
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of cells

cytostasis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyt/o
1st Root Definition: cell
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -stasis
Suffix Definition: to stop; control; place
Definition: stopping; controlling cell growth and multiplication

cytotoxic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: cyt/o
1st Root Definition: cell
2nd Root Word: toxic/o
2nd Root Word Definition: poison
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: poison to living cells
 

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