My watch list  

Medical roots and their derivations

All of medical terminology contains roots based in both Latin and Ancient Greek. This is a List of Medical Roots containing prefixes, suffixes, and their English equivalents --- used in medicine. It should be noted that most of the following roots have a droppable -o-. As a general rule, this -o- almost always acts as a joint-stem to connect two constantal roots, e.g. arthr- + -o- + logy = arthrology. But generally, the -o- is dropped when connecting to a vowel-stem, e.g. arthr- + itis = arthritis, instead of arthr-o-itis.


Medical Prefixes (Alphabetical by English Prefix)

Prefix Origin Language Etymology (Root Origin) Root Meaning / Usage (in English) Root Designation Example(s)
a-, an- Ancient Greek α-/αν-, without; denotes absence of [same] amount Apathy
abdomin(o)- Latin abdōmen, abdomen, fat around the belly [same] body part Abdomen
allo- Ancient Greek ἄλλоς, another, other other, different amount; description Alloantigen, allopathy
angio- Ancient Greek ᾶγγεῖον, a vessel [Chiefly in Μedicine] denoting a blood vessel body part/component Angioblast
ankyl(o)- Ancient Greek ἀνκύλος, bent, crooked [same] description Ankylosis
ambi- Latin ambi-, ambo, both, on both sides [same] position Ambidextrous
aniso- Ancient Greek ανῑσος, unequal [same] amount Anisotropic
ante- Latin āntē, before, in front of [same] position antepartum
anti- Ancient Greek αντι, against [same] description Antibody, antipsychotic
aort(o)- Latin < Post Classical Greek L. aorta < ἀορτἠ (first used by Hippocrates as the branches of the windpipe, then by Aristotle, for the first time in its modern sense, as the great artery; < ἀορτἠρ, hanger; baldrick pertaining to the aorta, the great artery body part Aortitis
arteri(o)- Ancient Greek ἀρτερία, artery of or relating to an artery body part Arteriology
arthr(o)- Ancient Greek ἀρθρος, joint, limb [same] body part Arthritis
aur- Latin auris, the ear pertaining to the ear body part Aural
brachi(o)- Latin < Ancient Greek brachium < βραχίων, arm Of or relating to the arm body part Brachium
brachy- Ancient Greek βραχυς, short; little, shallow indicating something short description brachycephalic
brady- Ancient Greek βραδυς, slow Indicating something slow description Bradycardia
bucc(o)- Latin bucca, cheek pertaining to the cheek body part Buccolabial
capit- Latin caput, capit-, the head pertaining to the head (as a whole) body part Capitation
cardi(o)- Ancient Greek καρδία, heart pertaining to the heart body part Cardiology
carp(o)- Latin from Ancient Greek carpus < καρπός, wrist pertaining to the wrist. [NOTE: not to be confused with the mirror root carp(o)- meaning fruit. body part Carpopedal
cephal(o)- Ancient Greek κέφαλή, the head Of or pertaining to the head (as a whole) body part Cephalalgy
cerebell(o)- Latin cerebellum, little brain pertaining to the cerebellum body part Cerebellum
cerebr(o)- Latin cerebrum, brain of or relating to the brain body part Cerebrology
cervic(o)- Latin cervix, cervīc-, neck, cervix of or relating to the neck, the cervix body part Cervicodorsal
chir(o)-, cheir(o)- Ancient Greek χείρ, χειρο-, hand hand, of the hand, with the hand body part Chiropractor
chlor(o)- Ancient Greek χλορος, green, yellow-green denoting a green color color (description) Chlorophyll
chol(e)- Ancient Greek χολή, bile of or pertaining to bile body component Cholaemia
circum- Latin circum, around [same] position
colp(o)- Ancient Greek κόλπος, bosom, womb; hollow, depth vagina; of the vagina body part Colposcopy
cost(o)- Latin costa, rib pertaining to the ribs body part Costochondral
crani(o)- Ancient Greek κρᾱνίον, the cranium, the skull; the bones enclosing the brain belonging or relating to the cranium body part Craniology
cyan(o)- Ancient Greek κύανος, κυάνεος, blue denoting a blue color description (color) Cyanopsia
cyph(o)- Ancient Greek κῡφός, bent, hunchback [same] Description Cyphosis
cyst(o)-, cyst(i)- Ancient Greek κύστις, bladder; cyst of or relating to the urinary bladder body part Cystotomy
dactyl(o)- Ancient Greek δάκτυλος. finger, toe [same] body part Dactylology
dent- Latin dens, tooth [same] body part Dentist
dermat(o)- Ancient Greek δερμα, skin, human skin of or pertaining to the skin body part Dermatology
dia- Ancient Greek διά, through, during, across [same] position Dialysis
dors(o)-, dors(i)- Latin dorsum, back of or pertaining to the back body part Dorsocephalad
encephal(o)- Ancient Greek ενκέφαλος, the brain pertaining to the brain body part Encephalogram
endo- Ancient Greek ενδο-, inside, internal [same] position Endocrinology
enter(o)- Ancient Greek ἔντερον, intestine of or relating to the intestine body part enterology
epi- Ancient Greek επι-, before, upon, on, outside, outside of [same] position Epidermis
erythr(o)- Ancient Greek ερυθρος denoting a red color color (description) Erythrocyte
exo- Ancient Greek εξο-, outside of, external [same] position Exoskeleton
front(o)-, front(i)- Latin frōns, front-, the forehead of or pertaining to the forehead body part frontonasal
glauc(o)- Ancient Greek γλαυκός, grey, bluish-grey denoting a grey, bluish-grey color color (description) Glaucoma
gloss(o)-, glott(o)- Ancient Greek γλῶσσα, γλῶττα, tongue of or relating to the tongue body part glossology
hemat(o)-, haemat(o)-, hem(o)-, haem(o)- Ancient Greek αἷμα, αἷματ-, blood of or relating to blood body part/component Hematology
hetero- Ancient Greek ἔτερος, the other (of two), another, different [same] description heterogeneous
homo- Ancient Greek ὁμο-, the same; common, alike [same] description homeostasis
hyper- Ancient Greek ὑπερ, over, beyond, above [same] amount Hyperhydration, hyperthermia
hyp(o)- Ancient Greek ὑπ(ο)-, below, under [same] amount Hypodermic,
hyster(o)- Ancient Greek ὑστέρα, womb of the womb, pertaining to the womb, uterine body part Hysterectomy
ischio- Ancient Greek ἰσχιόν, hip-joint [same] body part Ischiorrhogic
iso- Ancient Greek ἴσος, equal [same] amount Isotonic
labi(o)- Latin labium, lip [same] body part Labial
lapar(o)- Ancient Greek λαπάρᾱ, flank Abdomen wall, flank body part Laparotomy
later- Latin Side Laterotorsion
leuc(o)- Ancient Greek λευκος, white, bright denoting white color color (description) Leukocyte
lingu(a)- Latin lingua, tongue [same] body part linguistics
mamm(o)- Latin mamma, breast; udder breast body part Mammogram
mast(o)- Ancient Greek μαστός, breast, women's breast; man's peck [same] body part Mastectomy
medull- Latin medulla, marrow, bone marrow [same] (rare in root form) body part Medulla
melan(o)- Ancient Greek μελας, black, dark denoting black color color (description) Melanin
metr(o)- Ancient Greek μήτρ̵ᾱ, womb; uterus of conditions pertaining to the uterus, of instruments relating to the uterus body part Metrorrhagia
micro- Ancient Greek μικρος, small [same] description Microbiology, microscope
my(o)- Ancient Greek μῦς, μυο-, muscle relating to muscle or muscular tissue body part Myology
myel(o)- Ancient Greek μύελος, marrow, bone marrow [same] body part Myelogram
nas(o)- Latin nāsum, nose of or relating to the nose description Microbiology, microscope
nephr(o)- Ancient Greek νεφρός, kidney of or relating to the kidney body part Nephrology
ocul(o)- Latin oculus, the eye of or relating to the eye body part Oculus
odont(o)- Ancient Greek ὀδούς, ὀδοντ-, tooth [same] body part orthodontist
oligo- Ancient Greek ολιγος, few [same] amount Oligotrophy
oo- Ancient Greek ᾠόν, ᾠο-, egg, ovum [same] body part/component Oogamy
oophor(o)- Ancient Greek ᾠφόρον, ovary, egg-bearing [same] body part Oophorectomy
ophthalm(o)- Ancient Greek ὀφθαλμός, the eye of or relating to the eye body part Ophthalmology
optic(o)- Middle French < Greek; Cognate with Latin oculus ̄optique < ὀπτικός, of or relating to sight [now]: Of or relating to chemical propertes of the eye body part Opticochemical
or(o)- Latin ̄ōs, or-, mouth [same] body part Oral
orth(o)- Ancient Greek ορθος, straight, correct, normal [same] description Orthodontist
ossi- Latin os, ossi-, bone [same] body part Ossifrage
oste(o)- Ancient Greek ὀστέον, bone [same] body part Osteocopus
ot(o)- Ancient Greek οὖς, ὠτ-, the ear pertaining to the ear body part Otopathy
ovari(o)- Latin ōvarium, ovary [same] body part/component Ovariectomy
ovo-, ovi- Latin ōvum, egg, ovum [same] body part/component Ovogenesis
pan- Ancient Greek πας, all, every [same] amount Pananxiety
-ped-, -pes Latin pēs, pēd-, foot foot, of the foot, -footed body part Pedoscope
pelv(i)- Latin pēlvis, trough; basin, bowl [in modern senses} denoting the pelvis body part Pelvimetry
peri- Ancient Greek περι-, around [same] position Periodontal
phleb(o)- Ancient Greek φλέψ, φλεβο-, vein of or pertaining to the veins, blood veins body part Phlebology
pleur(o)- Latin from Ancient Greek pleura, rib, side of the body < πλευρόν, rib [same] body part Pleurogenous
-pod-, -pus Ancient Greek πούς, ποδ-, foot foot, of the foot, -footed body part Podiatry, Octopus
poly- Ancient Greek πολυς, many, much [same] amount Polymyositis
post- Latin post, after, behind [same] Postoperative
prim- Latin prīmus, first, most important [same] description
pre- Latin præ, before, in front of [same] position Prematurity
pro- Ancient Greek προ, before, in front of [same] position Procephalic
prot(ο)- Ancient Greek πρωτος, first, principle, most important [same] position; description Protoneuron
pyel(ο)- Ancient Greek πύελος, trough; container, receptacle [in modern senses} denoting the pelvis body part Pyelograph
re-, red- Latin re-, red-, back, again [same] amount Rehydration
ren(o)-, ren(i)- Latin rēnes, kidney of or relating to the kidney body part Renal
rhin(o)- Ancient Greek ρῑς, ρῑνο-, nose of or relating to the nose body part Rhinoceros
sangui(o)-, sanguin(o)- Latin sanguis, blood of or relating to blood body part/component Sanguine
sarping(o)- Ancient Greek σάρπιγξ, σαρπιγγ-, (literally) trumpet of the fallopian tubes body part Sarpingectomy
schiz- Ancient Greek Irregular fomation < σχιζειν to cut, split split, cut des Schizophrenia
sinus- Latin sinus, a curve, bend, bay of the sinus, relating to the sinus body part Sinusitis
somat(o)- Ancient Greek σῶμα, σωματο-, body of or relating to the human body body part Sinusitis
sten(o)- Ancient Greek στενος, narrow; short [same] description Stenography
steth(o)- Ancient Greek στῆθος, chest, cuirass upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neck body part Stethoscope
stomat(o)- Ancient Greek στόμα, mouth [same] body part Stomatogastric
tachy- Ancient Greek ταχυς, fast, quickly [same] description Tachycardia
thorac(i)- Latin from Ancient Greek thōrāx < θώραξ, chest, cuirass upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neck body part Thorax
thromb(o)- Ancient Greek θρόμβος, lump, piece; clot of blood blood clot body part Thrombosis
trachel(o)- Ancient Greek τράχηλος, neck of or relating to the neck body part Trachelotomy
trans- Latin trāns, across, through [same] means Transfusion
ur(o)- Ancient Greek οὖρον, urine pertaining to the physiological chemistry of urine; pertaining to urine, the urinary system body part Urology
ureter(o)- Latin < Ancient Greek ūrētēr < οὐρητήρ, ureter of or pertaing to the ureter, the urinary ducts. body part Ureter
urethr(o)-, urethr(a)- Latin < Ancient Greek ūrētra < οὐρηθρα, urethra of or pertaing to the urethra body part Urethritis
urin(o), urin(i)- Latin ūrīna, urine of or relating to urine, the urinary system body part Uriniferous
uter(o)- Latin uterus, womb, uterus pertaining to the uterus or womb body part Uterus
vagin(o)-, vagin(i)- Latin vāgīna, sheath, scabbard vagina; of the vagina body part Vaginitis
vas- Latin vās, vessel of or relating to the vascular system body part/component Vasiform
vascul- Latin vāsculum, little vessel of or relating to a blood vessel body part/component Vasculitis
ven(o)- Latin vēna, vein of or pertaining to the veins, the vascular system. body part Venous
vesic(o)- Latin vēsīca, bladder; blister relating to the bladder body part Vesica

Medical Suffixes (Alphabetical by English Suffix)

Suffix Origin language Origin word Origin meaning Meaning Example(s)
-ectomy Ancient Greek ἐκτομη (ectomē) incision removal Mastectomy, vasectomy
-gen Ancient Greek -γενης (genēs) one producing Producing Carcinogen, methanogen
-graph Ancient Greek γραφη (graphē) picture, drawing, writing instrument for recording Cardiograph, plethysmograph
-logist Ancient Greek λογιστηες (logistēs) one who pracices, studies one who pracices, studies Oncologist, pathologist
-logy Ancient Greek λογoς (logos) a study, practice a study hematology, urology
-pathy Ancient Greek παθος (pathos) disease disease of sociopathy, neuropathy

Medical Roots of the Body (Alphabetical by English Word)

The following is a list of body parts and body components and their corresponding medical roots. Note that many of the Latin and Greek roots following are identical given that Latin takes much of its vocabulary directly from Ancient Greek.

Body Part/Component English Root from Greek English Root from Latin Root from Another Language
abdomen [lower chest] lapar(o)- abodomin- -
aorta aort(o)- aort(o)- -
arm brachi(o)- - -
artery arteri(o)- arteri(o)- -
back - dors- -
bladder cyst(o)- vesic(o)- -
blood hemat(o)-, haemat(o)-, hem(o)-, haem(o)- sanguin(o)-, sanguine(o)- -
blood clot thromb(o)- - -
blood vessel angi(o)- vascul-, vas- -
body somat(o)- - -
bone oste(o)- ossi- -
bone marrow myel(o)- medull- -
brain encephal(o)- cerebr- -
breast mast(o)- mamm(o)- -
chest [upper chest] steth(o)- thorac(i)-, thorac(o)- -
cheek - bucc(o)- -
ear ot(o)- aur- -
eggs, ova oo- ov- -
eye ophthalm(o)- ocul(o)- optic(o)- [French]
fallopian tubes sarping(o)- sarping(o)- -
finger dactyl(o)- - -
forehead - front(o)- -
head cephal(o)- capit(o)- -
heart cardi(o)- cordi- -
kidney nephr(o)- ren(o)-, ren(i)- -
lip cheil(o)-, chil(o)- labi(o)- -
marrow myel(o)- medull- -
mouth stomat(o)- or(o)- -
muscle my(o)- - -
neck trachel(o)- cervic- -
nose rhin(o)- nas- -
ovary oophor(o)- ovari(o)- -
pelvis pyel(o)- pelv(i)- -
rib pleur(o)- cost(o)- -
sinus - sinus- -
skull crani(o)- - -
toe dactyl(o)- - -
tongue gloss(o)-, glott(o)- lingu(a)- -
tooth odont(o)- dent- -
ureter ureter(o)- ureter(o)- -
urethra urethr(o)-, urethr(a)- urethr(o)-, urethr(a)- -
urine, urinary system ur(o)- urin(o)- -
uterine tubes sarping(o)- sarping(o)- -
uterus hyster(o)-, metr(o)- uter(o)- -
vagina colp(o)- vagin- -
vein phleb(o)- ven- -
womb hyster(o)-, metr(o)- uter(o)- -
wrist carp(o)- carp(o)- -
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Medical_roots_and_their_derivations". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
Your browser is not current. Microsoft Internet Explorer 6.0 does not support some functions on Chemie.DE