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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.

pachyderma

Prefix: pachy-
Prefix Definition: heavy; thick
1st Root Word: derm/o
1st Root Definition: skin
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: thickening of the skin

pancreatitis

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

panophobia

Prefix: pan-
Prefix Definition: all
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -phobia
Suffix Definition: fear
Definition: fear of anything/everything

papillitis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: papill/o
1st Root Definition: nipple-like; optic disc
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the optic nerve

papulation

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: papul/o
1st Root Definition: papule; pimple
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ation
Suffix Definition: process; condition
Definition: condition of developing papules

paracentesis

Prefix: para-
Prefix Definition: near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along the side of
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -centesis
Suffix Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid
Definition: surgical puncture to remove fluid from a body cavity

paracusis

Prefix: para-
Prefix Definition: near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along the side of
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -cusis
Suffix Definition: hearing
Definition: condition of abnormal sense of hearing

parageusia

Prefix: para-
Prefix Definition: near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along the side of
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -geusia
Suffix Definition: taste
Definition: condition of abnormal sense of taste

paralysis

Prefix: para-
Prefix Definition: near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along the side of
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -lysis
Suffix Definition: breakdown; separation; destruction; loosening
Definition: inability to move a body part

paraplegic

Prefix: para-
Prefix Definition: near; beside; abnormal; apart from; along the side of
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plegic
Suffix Definition: paralysis; palsy
Definition: paralysis of the body waste down

pectoralgia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pector/o
1st Root Definition: chest
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -algia
Suffix Definition: pain
Definition: pain in the chest

pediatric

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: ped/o
1st Root Definition: child; foot
2nd Root Word: iatr/o
2nd Root Word Definition: physician; treatment
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the medical treatment of children

pelvimetry

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pelv/i
1st Root Definition: pelvis; hip region
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -metry
Suffix Definition: process of measuring
Definition: process of measuring the pelvis

pelvic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pelv/i
1st Root Definition: pelvis; hip region
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the pelvis; hip region

percutaneous

Prefix: per-
Prefix Definition: through
1st Root Word: cutane/o
1st Root Definition: skin
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ous
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to through the skin

pericardium

Prefix: peri-
Prefix Definition: surrounding
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ium
Suffix Definition: structure; tissue
Definition: tissue that surrounds the heart

perineal

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

periodontal

Prefix: peri-
Prefix Definition: surrounding
1st Root Word: odont/o
1st Root Definition: tooth
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the diseased tissue that surrounds the teeth (gums)

peristalsis

Prefix: peri-
Prefix Definition: surrounding
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -stalsis
Suffix Definition: contraction
Definition: involuntary contraction of muscles in the digestive tract

phagocyte

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: phag/o
1st Root Definition: eat; swallow
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -cyte
Suffix Definition: cell
Definition: cell capable of eating; swallowing other small cells; particles

pharmaceutics

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pharmaceut/o
1st Root Definition: drug
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to drugs; medicine in the use of treatment

pharmacology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pharmac/o
1st Root Definition: drug
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of drugs in the use of treatment

pharyngitis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pharyng/o
1st Root Definition: throat (pharynx)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the back of the throat (pharynx)

pharyngoscopy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pharyng/o
1st Root Definition: throat (pharynx)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scopy
Suffix Definition: visual examination
Definition: visual examination of the back of the throat (pharynx)

phlebotomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: phleb/o
1st Root Definition: vein
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tomy
Suffix Definition: process of cutting
Definition: process of puncturing a vein

phonograph

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: phon/o
1st Root Definition: voice; sound
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -graph
Suffix Definition: instrument for recording
Definition: instrument for recording sound

photopathy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: phot/o
1st Root Definition: light
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -pathy
Suffix Definition: disease; emotion
Definition: disease brought on by light

pneumocyte

Prefix:
Prefix Definition: pneum/o
1st Root Word: lung; air; gas
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -cyte
Suffix Definition: cell
Definition: cell that line the alveoli of the lung

pneumonia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pneumon/o
1st Root Definition: lung; air; gas
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of lung inflammation

podiatry

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pod/o
1st Root Definition: foot
2nd Root Word: iatr/o
2nd Root Word Definition: physician; treatment
Suffix: -y
Suffix Definition: condition; process
Definition: process of treating the foot

poliomyelitis

Prefix: polio-
Prefix Definition: gray matter (of brain or spinal cord)
1st Root Word: myel/o
1st Root Definition: spinal cord; bone marrow
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of the motor neurons of the brain stem and spinal
cord

polydactyly

Prefix: poly-
Prefix Definition: many; much
1st Root Word: dactyl/o
1st Root Definition: fingers; toes
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -y
Suffix Definition: condition; process
Definition: condition of having too many fingers or toes

polydipsia

Prefix: poly-
Prefix Definition: many; much
1st Root Word: dips/o
1st Root Definition: thirst
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: abnormal condition of excessive thirst

polymyositis

Prefix: poly-
Prefix Definition: many; much
1st Root Word: myos/o
1st Root Definition: muscle
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -itis
Suffix Definition: inflammation
Definition: inflammation of muscles or its associated tissue

polyuria

Prefix: poly-
Prefix Definition: many; much
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -uria
Suffix Definition: urination; condition of urine
Definition: condition of excessive volumes of urine

postmortem

Prefix: post-
Prefix Definition: after; behind
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -mortem
Suffix Definition: death
Definition: after death

postpartum

Prefix: post-
Prefix Definition: after; behind
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -partum
Suffix Definition: birth; labor
Definition: after birth; labor

prenatal

Prefix: pre-
Prefix Definition: before; in front of
1st Root Word: nat/i
1st Root Definition: birth
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -al
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to before birth

proctologist

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: proct/o
1st Root Definition: anus and rectum
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logist
Suffix Definition: specialist in the study of
Definition: specialist in the study of disease and treatment of the anus and
rectum

proctology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: proct/o
1st Root Definition: anus and rectum
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of disease and treatment of the anus and rectum

proctoscopy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: rect/o
1st Root Definition: anus and rectum
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -scopy
Suffix Definition: visual examination
Definition: visual examination of the anus and rectum

prognosis

Prefix: pro-
Prefix Definition: before; forward
1st Root Word: gnos/o
1st Root Definition: knowledge
2nd Root Word: is/o
2nd Root Word Definition: same; equal
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: prior knowledge before an outcome

psoriasis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: psor/o
1st Root Definition: itching
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -iasis
Suffix Definition: abnormal condition
Definition: abnormal condition of itchy, red patches of the skin

psychiatry

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: psych/o
1st Root Definition: mind
2nd Root Word: iatr/o
2nd Root Word Definition: physician; treatment
Suffix: -y
Suffix Definition: condition; process
Definition: process and treatment of disorders of the mind

psychologist

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: psych/o
1st Root Definition: mind
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logist
Suffix Definition: specialist in the study of
Definition: specialist in the process and treatment of disorders of the mind

psychology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: psych/o
1st Root Definition: mind
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of the process and treatment of disorders of the mind

psychosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: psych/o
1st Root Definition: mind
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -osis
Suffix Definition: condition, usually abnormal
Definition: abnormal condition of severe mental disorder

pulmonary

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: pulmon/o
1st Root Definition: lung
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ary
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to the lung

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