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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.
Additional resources:   [Intro to med terms] [Med terms rules] [Med term reference] [Word building reference]  [Practice Exams]

Alphabetical Listing (word building)

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n o p q r s t u v w x y z

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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.

macroglossia

Prefix: macro-
Prefix Definition: large
1st Root Word: gloss/o
1st Root Definition: tongue
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of having an enlarged tongue

macrophage

Prefix: macro-
Prefix Definition: large
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -phage
Suffix Definition: eat; swallow
Definition: form of white blood cells that consumes foreign material

mammogram

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mamm/o
1st Root Definition: breast
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -gram
Suffix Definition: record
Definition: photograph record of the breast made with X-rays

mammoplasty

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mamm/o
1st Root Definition: breast
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plasty
Suffix Definition: surgical repair
Definition: plastic surgery of the breast

mastectomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mast/o
1st Root Definition: breast
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ectomy
Suffix Definition: removal; excision; resection
Definition: surgical procedure to remove a breast

mastopexy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mast/o
1st Root Definition: breast
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pexy
Suffix Definition: fixation; to put in place
Definition: surgical procedure to change the shape of a breast (breast lift)

medication

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: medic/o
1st Root Definition: to heal; healing
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ation
Suffix Definition: process; condition
Definition: drug or other substance used to treat disease or injuries

melanin

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: melan/o
1st Root Definition: black
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -in
Suffix Definition: a substance; chemical; chemical compound
Definition: dark pigment (hair; skin etc.)

meningitis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mening/o
1st Root Definition: meninges (membranes covering the spinal cord
and brain)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the meninges

menopause

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: men/o
1st Root Definition: menses; menstruation
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pause
Suffix Definition: to pause; discontinue
Definition: discontinuation of menstruating

menorrhagia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: men/o
1st Root Definition: menses; menstruation
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -rrhagia
Suffix Definition: bursting forth (of blood)
Definition: abnormal heavy bleeding during menstruation

merocrine

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mer/o
1st Root Definition: part
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -crine
Suffix Definition: secrete; separate
Definition: discharged secretion that does not cause major injury to the
secreting cell

mesoderm

Prefix: meso-
Prefix Definition: middle
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -derm
Suffix Definition: skin
Definition: middle layer of an embryo

metacarpal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: metacarp/o
1st Root Definition: metacarpals (hand bones)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the bones of the hand

methodical

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: method/o
1st Root Definition: procedure; technique
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ical
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to an established procedure; technique

metrorrhagia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: metr/o
1st Root Definition: uterus (womb)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -rrhagia
Suffix Definition: bursting forth (of blood)
Definition: abnormal bleeding from the uterus

microcardia

Prefix: micro-
Prefix Definition: small
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: abnormal condition of a small heart

microscope

Prefix: micro-
Prefix Definition: small
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scope
Suffix Definition: instrument for visual examination
Definition: instrument used for viewing very small objects

microscopy

Prefix: micro-
Prefix Definition: small
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scopy
Suffix Definition: visual examination
Definition: visual examination using a microscope to view miniscule objects

morphology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: morph/o
1st Root Definition: shape; form
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of forms of objects

multiparous

Prefix: multi-
Prefix Definition: many
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -parous
Suffix Definition: to bear; bring forth (live births)
Definition: one who has had more than one pregnancy ending with viable
children

myalgia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: my/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -algia
Suffix Definition: pain
Definition: muscle pain

myasthenia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: my/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -asthenia
Suffix Definition: lack of strength
Definition: abnormal condition which causes weakness of certain muscles

mydriasis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: mydr/o
1st Root Definition: wide
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -iasis
Suffix Definition: abnormal condition
Definition: abnormal dilation of the pupil of the eye

myeloblast

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: myel/o
1st Root Definition: spinal cord; bone marrow
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -blast
Suffix Definition: embryonic; immature cell
Definition: immature cell of the bone marrow

myoblast

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: my/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -blast
Suffix Definition: embryonic; immature cell
Definition: embryonic cell that turns into a cell of muscle fiber

myoblastoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: my/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -blastoma
Suffix Definition: immature tumor (cells)
Definition: tumor comprised of immature muscle cells

myorrhaphy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: my/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -rrhaphy
Suffix Definition: suture
Definition: suture of a muscle

myringotomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: myring/o
1st Root Definition: tympanic membrane (eardrum)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tomy
Suffix Definition: process of cutting
Definition: surgical incision into the eardrum to drain fluid or relieve pressure

myxoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: myx/o
1st Root Definition: mucus
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -oma
Suffix Definition: tumor; mass; fluid collection
Definition: non-cancerous tumor of connective tissue that contains mucus

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