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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.

tachycardia

Prefix: tachy-
Prefix Definition: fast
1st Root Word: cardi/o
1st Root Definition: heart
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ia
Suffix Definition: condition
Definition: condition of a rapid heart rate

telangiectasia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: tel/o
1st Root Definition: complete
2nd Root Word: angi/o
2nd Root Word Definition: vessel (blood)
Suffix: -ectasia
Suffix Definition: dilation; dilatation; widening
Definition: dilation of small blood vessels just below the skin

teratoma

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: terat/o
1st Root Definition: monster; malformed fetus
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -oma
Suffix Definition: tumor; mass; fluid collection
Definition: tumor containing tissues not generally present at that site

therapeutic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: therapeut/o
1st Root Definition: treatment
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to treatment

thermometer

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: therm/o
1st Root Definition: heat
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -meter
Suffix Definition: measure
Definition: instrument used to measure temperature

thoracic

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

thoracotomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: thorac/o
1st Root Definition: chest
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tomy
Suffix Definition: process of cutting
Definition: surgical process of cutting into the chest wall

thrombus

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: thromb/o
1st Root Definition: clot
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -us
Suffix Definition: structure; thing
Definition: blood clot

thyrotoxic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: thyr/o
1st Root Definition: thyroid gland; shield
2nd Root Word: toxic/o
2nd Root Word Definition: poison
Suffix:
Suffix Definition:
Definition: excessive amounts of thyroid hormones

tonsillitis

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

topical

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: top/o
1st Root Definition: place; position; location
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ical
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to; application to a location of the body

toxicology

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: toxic/o
1st Root Definition: poison
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -logy
Suffix Definition: study (process of)
Definition: study of poison’s effects, detections and use

tracheomalacia

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: trache/o
1st Root Definition: trachea (windpipe)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -malacia
Suffix Definition: softening
Definition: softening of the cartilage in the trachea

tracheoplasty

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: trache/o
1st Root Definition: trachea (windpipe)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -plasty
Suffix Definition: surgical repair
Definition: surgical repair of the trachea (windpipe)

tracheostenosis

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: trache/o
1st Root Definition: trachea (windpipe)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -stenosis
Suffix Definition: tightening; stricture
Definition: constriction of the trachea (windpipe)

tracheotomy

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: trache/o
1st Root Definition: trachea (windpipe)
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -tomy
Suffix Definition: process of cutting
Definition: surgical process of cutting into the trachea (windpipe)

translucent

Prefix: trans-
Prefix Definition: across; through
1st Root Word:
1st Root Definition:
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -lucent
Suffix Definition: to shine
Definition: allowing light to shine through

traumatic

Prefix:
Prefix Definition:
1st Root Word: traumat/o
1st Root Definition: trauma; injury; wound
2nd Root Word:
2nd Root Word Definition:
Suffix: -ic
Suffix Definition: pertaining to
Definition: pertaining to trauma; injury; wound

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