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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)

a b c d e f g h i j k l m
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.

narcolepsy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: narc/o
1st Root Definition: numbness; stupor; sleep
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -lepsy
Suffix Definition: seizure
Definition: condition that affects the control of sleep and wakefulness

nasal

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nas/o
1st Root Definition: nose
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the nose

necrosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: necr/o
1st Root Definition: death
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -osis
Suffix Definition: condition, usually abnormal
Definition: death of living cells or tissues to disease or injury

neoplasm

Prefix: neo-
Prefix Definition: new
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plasm
Suffix Definition: formation; structure
Definition: abnormal new growth of tissue

nephrectomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ectomy
Suffix Definition: removal; excision; resection
Definition:

nephrologist

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logist
Suffix Definition: specialist in the study of
Definition: specialist in the study of the kidney and it’s diseases

nephrology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of the kidney and it’s diseases

nephropexy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pexy
Suffix Definition: fixation; to put in place
Definition: surgical fixation of the kidney

nephroptosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ptosis
Suffix Definition: droop; sag; prolapse; protrude
Definition: descending displacement of the kidney

nephrotoxic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nephr/o
1st Root Definition: kidney
2nd Root Word: toxic/o
2nd Root Word Definition: poison
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: poison that causes damage to the kidney

neuroblastoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: neur/o
1st Root Definition: nerve
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -blastoma
Suffix Definition: immature tumor (cells)
Definition: cancerous immature nerve cells

neuropathy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: neur/o
1st Root Definition: nerve
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pathy
Suffix Definition: disease; emotion
Definition: damage or disease affecting nerves

nociception

Prefix: noci-
Prefix Definition: to cause harm, injury or pain
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ception
Suffix Definition: layering; nesting; recursion
Definition: pain in produced due to damage of body tissue

nodule

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: nod/o
1st Root Definition: knot
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ule
Suffix Definition: little; small
Definition: small knots of tissue

normocapnia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: norm/o
1st Root Definition: rule; order
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -capnia
Suffix Definition: carbon dioxide
Definition: normal arterial carbon dioxide pressure

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