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Medical TERMINOLOGY

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 of Med Terms

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Med terms E- med term suffix-prefixes

Feel free to use our complete database with charts, tables and examples.

NewMedicalTerms Medical Terminology Section- Letter E

Prefixes and Suffixes Medical Terminology beginning with E
Medical terminology is composed of a prefix, root word, and suffix. It is used to precisely describe the human body components, processes, illnesses, medical procedures, and pharmacology. Medical terminology is used in the field of medicine, medical school classes, and clinical settings. This section deals with all med term roots beginning with the letter E.

For a quick overview and tutorial on medical terminology, check out our Introduction to Medical Terminology.

Medical Terminology - Letter E

-eal

  pertaining to

ec-

  out; outside

echin/o

  spiny, prickly

echo-

  reflected sound

-ectasia

  dilation; dilatation; widening

-ectasis

  dilation; dilatation; widening

ecto-

  out; outside

ectro/o

  congenital absence

-ectomy

  removal; excision; resection

-edema

  swelling

eight

  octa-, octi-

-elasma

  flat plate

electr/o

  electricity

ele/o

  oil

em-

  in

-ema

  condition

embolo/o

  embolus

embry/o

  embryo

-emesis

  vomiting

-emia

  blood condition

-emic

  pertaining to blood condition

emmetr/o

  in due measure

-emphraxis

  stoppage, obstruction

en-

  in; within

enanti/o

  opposite, opposed

encephal/o

  brain

end-

  in; within

endo-

  in; within

enter/o

  intestines (usually small intestine)

eosin/o

  red; rosy; dawn-colored

epi-

  above; upon; on

epididym/o

  epididymis

epiglott/o

  epiglottis

episi/o

  vulva

epitheli/o

  skin; epithelium

equi-

  equality, equal

equin/o

  horse

-er

  one who

erg/o

  work

erethism/o

  irritation

erythem/o

  flushed; redness

erythr/o

  red

eschar/o

  scab

-esis

  action; condition; state of

eso-

  inward

esophag/o

  esophagus

esthes/o

  nervous sensation

esthesi/o

  nervous sensation

-esthesia

  nervous sensation

estr/o

  female

ethm/o

  sieve

eti/o

  cause

eu-

  good; normal

-eurysm

  widening

ex-

  out; away from

exanthemat/o

  rash

exo-

  out; away from

extra-

  outside

Word Building and Medical Terms beginning with the letter E


See if you can spot the suffixes, prefixes, and/or root words.

E

 

ec-        

Prefix denoting out, out of place, outside, or away from.

Ectopia

Congenital displacement of an organ or a body part

Ectopia Cordis

A rare congenital anomaly in which a portion or all of a baby's heart is located outside of the thoracic cavity.

Ectopic pregnancy

Ectopic or tubal pregnancy, when an embryo implants outside the uterus, in one of the fallopian tubes.

 

echin/o  

Prefix denoting spiny or prickly.

 

echo-     

Prefix denoting reflected sound.

Echocardiography

Echocardiography, or echo, is the ultrasound of the cardiovascular system. It is the first exam of choice in the diagnosis and follow-up of patients with coronary heart disease (CHD).

Echocardiogram

The diagnostic image produced by echocardiography.

Echoencephalography

Electroencephalography (EEG), is the ultrasound of the cranial cavity; used in the diagnosis of seizure, cerebral diseases, or certain cognitive disorders. 

 

-ectasia, -ectasis

Prefix denoting dilation, widening, or distention.

Atelectasis

Inflation of all, or part of, the lung, caused by dilation of the alveoli; a common postoperative pulmonary complication. 

Bronchiectasis

Chronic, progressive dilation of the bronchi, which often occurs secondary to other lung diseases such as cystic fibrosis, sinopulmonary syndromes, respiratory tract infections, and allergies.

Gastrectasia

Distension of the stomach caused by a thickened pylorus (pyloric stenosis), abdominal surgery, or trauma; also referred to as gastric distension.

Telangiectasia

The medical term for dilated blood vessels; commonly referred to as "spider veins". Telangiectasias are characteristic of autoimmune disorders such as scleroderma, lupus, and Dermatomyositis.

 

ecto-        

Prefix denoting "out", "outer," "outside," or "external".

Ectopic

In an abnormal location - as in an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs outside the uterus, in the fallopian tubes.

 

ectro/o 

Denoting congenital absence or defect of a part.

Ectrodactyly

Ectrodactyly, split hand, or cleft hand, is a congenital limb abnormality where all or a part of one or more fingers or toes is absent.

Ectrotic

A reference to the termination of pregnancy; abortion.

 

-ectomy               

Suffix denoting the act of excision, cutting out, removal or resection.

Adenoidectomy - Excision of Adenoid

Appendectomy - Excision of Appendix

Bunionectomy - Excision of bunion 

Hysterectomy - Excision of Uterus

Hysterosalpingectomy - Excision of the uterus and one or both fallopian tubes

Laryngectomy - Excision of Larynx

Laminectomy - Excision of the lamina of the vertebrae

Ganglionectomy - Excision of a ganglion

Iridectomy - Excision of a small part of the iris

Mastectomy - Excision of either one or both breasts

Neurectomy - Excision of a nerve

Oophorectomy - Excision of one or both ovaries

Orchidectomy   - Excision of one or both testicles

Splenectomy - Excision of the spleen

Sympathectomy - Excision of the sympathetic ganglion

Tonsillectomy - Excision of Tonsils

 

Edema

The medical term for swelling, puffiness, or fluid retention; also referred to as hydropsy. Edema is a result of systemic diseases, infections, or allergic reactions. Diabetes drugs, analgesics, and anti-inflammatory medicines can cause edema. Edema usually affects the feet, ankles, and legs. However, it can occur in any part of the body.

Angioedema - swelling of the skin and mucous membrane; often affects the face.

Cerebral edema - excess water/fluid accumulation in the intracellular or extracellular spaces of the brain.

Lymphedema - Localized swelling, of arms and legs, caused by impaired lymphatic circulation

Papilledema - optic disc swelling

Pulmonary edema - fluid build-up in the alveoli

 

electr/o 

Prefix denoting electric, electricity.

Electromyography

Electromyography (EMG), assessment of bioelectrical activity generated by muscle fibers.

Electrodesiccation

A dermatological procedure that uses high-frequency electric current to burn and destroy tissue; used primarily in skin cancer treatment to remove or dry up the basal cell and squamous cell carcinomas.

Electrosurgery

A widely used surgical procedure that employs alternating current at radiofrequency levels to cut, coagulate or dessicate tissues.

Electrophoresis

A laboratory method used to separate charged suspended particles - DNA, RNA, or proteins - under the influence of an electric field. Clinically, serum protein electrophoresis is used to diagnose a wide variety of conditions such as serum protein disorders, kidney or liver diseases, and multiple myeloma.

Electronystagmography

Electronystagmography (ENG) is a test to the vestibulo-ocular reflex of an individual; done especially to evaluate nystagmus or dancing eyes and balance disorders such as vertigo.

Electroretinogram

Electroretinogram (ERG), an ophthalmic diagnostic test that measures electrical responses of the retina to a light stimulus. 

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT)

Electroconvulsive therapy (ECT) involves a brief electrical stimulation of the brain to treat several psychiatric illnesses, including depression. 

 

embolo/o            

Prefix derived from Greek embolos; denoting embolus = stopper, piston, or blockage.

Embolus

A blood clot, plaque, clumps of bacteria, air bubbles, or any foreign object that obstructs a blood vessel. 

Embolism

Embolism, interruption of blood flow within the blood vessel by an embolus. Embolism can occur all over the body, the most common ones are pulmonary embolism, systemic embolism, amniotic embolism, brain embolism, air embolism, and fat embolism.

 

 

embry/o              

Prefix denoting embryo.

Embryo

The term, embryo, refers to the early stages of fetal growth, from conception to the eighth week (56 days) of pregnancy.

Embryology

The study of an embryo’s development from a zygote to a multicellular organism.

Embryogenesis

A sequential series of dynamic processes, initiated with a sperm fertilizing an egg and culminated with the formation of an embryo; the first eight weeks

 

Emesis

Emesis, also called vomiting, the forceful, involuntary ejection of gastric contents through the mouth, or, less often, the nose. Causes of vomiting vary widely and can include intestinal obstruction, medication, pregnancy, gastrointestinal disorders, injury to the head, and overeating. 

 

-emia, -emic      

Suffix denoting various blood disorders or conditions.

Anemia

Anemia is when the blood has a lower-than-normal amount of red blood cells; <13.5 gm/dl in a man or<12.0 gm/dl in a woman.

Azotemia

A type of nephrotoxicity, characterized by abnormal levels of nitrogenous compounds such as urea or creatinine in the blood.

Leukemia

Malignancy or cancer of blood or bone marrow, caused by the rapid overproduction of white blood cells (WBC).

Glycemia

Presence of glucose in the circulation. Glycemia can be hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) or hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). 

Albuminemia

Albumin in blood. Alubuminemia can be hypoalbuminemia (deficit of albumin in the blood) or hyperalbuminemia (higher-than-normal albumin in the blood).

Lipidemia

Unhealthy levels of any or all lipids, fats, or lipoproteins in the bloodstream.

Polycythemia

Polycythemia, or erythrocytosis, an increase in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and the number of circulating erythrocytes (RBCs); a type of blood cancer.

Uremia

Elevated levels of nitrogen wastes such as urea in the bloodstream.

 

emmetr/o         

Prefix denoting ‘correct measure’ or well-proportioned.

Emmetropia

The normal refractive state of an eye in which parallel rays focus accurately on the retina, creating crisp and in-focus images. Simply, the perfect eye.

 

Emphraxis         

Denoting clogging, stoppage, and obstruction of a duct.

 

Enanti/o               

Prefix denoting opposite or opposing

Enantiomer

A pair of molecules that are mirror images of each other; they have the same physical and chemical properties. Enantiomerically pure compounds are of medical and pharmaceutical value.

 

encephal/o          

Prefix denoting brain.

Encephalography

A noninvasive diagnostic method of recording and interpreting electrical activity in the brain.

Encephalitis

Acute inflammation of the brain tissues caused by an infection or an autoimmune response.

 

end- , endo-      

Prefix denoting in, within, or inner.

Endocardium

The innermost endothelial lining of the heart.

Endoscopy

A minimally invasive procedure that allows direct visualization of internal organs.

Endometrium

The inner epithelial lining of the uterus; plays a crucial role during menstruation and pregnancy.  

 

 

enter/o  

Prefix denoting intestine.

Enteropathy

Any disorder of the small intestine.

Enterospasm

Painful, intense peristalsis of the intestinal muscles.

Enterococcus

Gram-positive, facultative anaerobic bacteria present in the intestinal tract.

 

eosin/o 

Prefix denoting eosin; from Greek eos meaning red, pink-rosy, or dawn-colored.

Eosinophil

A type of leukocyte (white blood cell) characterized histologically by its ability to stain pink-red color with an acidic dye. Eosinophils mediate certain types of inflammation and allergic reactions.

Eosinophilia

The clinical term for an increased eosinophil count; 450 to 550 eosinophils/µL in the bloodstream.

 

epididym/o          

Prefix denoting epididymis. Located at the posterior surface of the testes, the epididymis is a comma-shaped, tightly coiled tubule that acts as the site of sperm storage and maturation until their discharge from the testes.

Epididymectomy

Surgical removal of one or both epididymis.

Epididymitis

Acute or chronic inflammation or swelling of the epididymis caused by a urinary tract or prostate infection, STDs, catheter use, or obstruction in the urethra.

 

epiglott/o     

Prefix denoting epiglottis.

Epiglottis

A thin leaf-shaped cartilaginous flap located just above the larynx; covers the entrance of the larynx and prevents abnormal swallowing and aspiration.

 

episi/o  

Prefix derived from Greek epision, meaning vulva or pubic region.

Episiotomy

Episiotomy, or perineotomy, is a surgical incision of the perineum and vaginal wall to assist vaginal birth.

 

epitheli/o          

Prefix denoting epithelium. The epithelium is a continuous sheet of cells that line the internal and external surfaces of the body.

 

equi-

Prefix denoting equal or equality.

 

erg/o      

Prefix denoting work. Ergonomics, for example.

 

erethism/o           

Prefix denoting irritation or to irritate.

Erethism

A neuropsychological disorder characterized by an excessive degree of irritability in a tissue or an organ.

 

erythem/o        

Prefix denoting redness or flush on the skin.

Erythema

A type of hypersensitivity, characterized by red, pink, or purple marks on the skin; caused by drug reactions, increased blood flow (hyperemia) in superficial capillaries, skin injury and autoimmune diseases.

 

erythr/o  

Prefix denoting red.

Erythrocyte

Mature red blood cells (RBC); cellular components of blood, which give the blood its characteristic color and carry gases and nutrients throughout the human body.

Erythroderma

Literally ‘red skin’, an inflammatory skin condition with intense and widespread reddening of the skin. 

Erythroblast

Precursor red blood cells

Erythropoiesis

Erythropoiesis, the formation of red blood cells from multipotent hematopoietic stem cells; takes place in the yolk sac, spleen, and liver. 

Erythropoietin

Erythropoietin (EPO), a hormone secreted by fibroblasts in the renal cortex, stimulates erythropoiesis.

 

 

eschar/o            

Prefix denoting eschar, the scab or dead tissue formed, particularly after cautery or burning.

Escharotomy  

Surgical incision of the eschar. An escharotomy is performed when circumferential burns impair circulation and or respiration.

 

-esis        

Suffix denoting an action, condition, process, or state.

Enuresis

The medical term for the act of involuntary urination; caused by anxiety, constipation, urinary tract infection, sleep apnea, or diabetes.

 

eso-      

Prefix denoting into, inward, or within.

Esotropia

Inward deviation (convergence) of one or both eyes. Esotropia can be acquired (due to diabetes, hypothyroidism, and genetic disorders) or present at birth.

 

 

esophag/o           

Denoting the esophagus, a hollow, muscular tube of the digestive system, about 24 cm long, which connects the pharynx to the stomach.

 

esthes/o, esthesi/o, -esthesia       

Prefix denoting feeling or sensation.

Anesthesia

A local or general insensitivity to pain, as when an anesthetic is administered during surgery.

Hyperesthesia

A somatosensory disorder characterized by an increased sensitivity to pain, heat, cold, or touch

Paresthesia

An abnormal burning, prickling, or numbness felt in the extremities with no apparent physical cause.

Bradyesthesia

Slowed or dulled perception.

 

 

estr/o

Prefix denoting female.

Estrogen

Group of steroid hormones that primarily influence the menstrual cycle and the development of secondary sex characteristics in females.

 

ethm/o 

Prefix denoting porous or sieve. From Greek
ethmos.

Ethmoid bone

A cuboid-shaped, porous cranial bone that contributes to the molding of the orbit, nasal cavity, and the superior sinuses.

 

eti/o       

Prefix denoting cause or origin.

Etiology

The study of causes, as in the causes of a disease or an abnormality.

 

 

eu-     

Prefix denoting good, normal, proper, or well.

Eupnea

Resting breathing or quiet, unlabored respiration.

 

-eurysm             

Suffix denoting aneurysm, a localized bulge or ballooning in the wall of an artery. Caused by hypertension or atherosclerosis, the aneurysm is most common in the brain, aorta, legs, and spleen.

 

exanthemat/o    

Prefix denoting rash or breaking out.

Exanthema

A skin eruption or rash accompanying measles or scarlet fever. 

 

ex- exo-                   

Prefix denoting outer, outside, or away from.

Exogenous

Growing or originating outside the body

Exocrine gland

A gland that secretes hormones and neurotransmitters externally into ducts in the epithelium, such as an oil gland or a sweat gland.

Exophthalmia

Exophthalmia, also called proptosis, or exorbitism, the abnormal protrusion of one or both eyeballs outwards. Exophthalmia can be congenital and familial, or due to pathology, such as Graves’ disease or tumors.

Exotropia

Unilateral divergence of the eyes, away from the nose, also called wall-eye.

 

extra-   

Prefix denoting beyond; outside of.

Extrahepatic

Situated outside the liver. Extrahepatic bile duct, for example. A part of the biliary system,

Extraocular


Alphabetical Listing of Med Terms

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

 

 

Increasing your understanding of medical terminology

Additional references:


Word Building Reference- This resource strengthens your understanding of medical terminology. See how common medical terms are created using the various prefixes, suffixes, and root words.


Medical Terminology Intuitive Section This section was developed for 'speed learning' of medical terminology. Start by reviewing the meanings for a block of medical terms, and then go back and choose a previous term randomly and try to recall the meaning of that particular medical term before hovering over the term to determine the answer. These frequent mini-tests will accelerate the learning process and in a relatively short period of time, you will be able to quickly recall the meaning of all of the listed medical terms. This method of learning is superior to flash cards because of the frequent exposure and testing of your recall.


 

Med terms E- med term suffix-prefixes