List of medical roots, suffixes and prefixes

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This is a list of roots, suffixes, and prefixes used in medical terminology, their meanings, and their etymologies. Most of them are combining forms in New Latin and hence international scientific vocabulary. There are a few general rules about how they combine. First, prefixes and suffixes, most of which are derived from ancient Greek or classical Latin, have a droppable -o-. As a general rule, this -o- almost always acts as a joint-stem to connect two consonantal 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). Second, medical roots generally go together according to language, i.e., Greek prefixes occur with Greek suffixes and Latin prefixes with Latin suffixes. Although international scientific vocabulary is not stringent about segregating combining forms of different languages, it is advisable when coining new words not to mix different lingual roots.


Prefixes and suffixes

The following is an alphabetical list of medical prefixes and suffixes, along with their meanings, origins, and English examples.


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
a-, an-not, without (alpha privative)Greek ἀ-/ἀν- (a-/an-), not, without analgesic, apathy
ab-from; away fromLatin abduction
abdomin-of or relating to the abdomen Latin abdōmen , abdomen, fat around the belly abdomen, abdominal
-acpertaining to; one afflicted withGreek -ακός (-akós) cardiac, hydrophobiac
acanth- thorn or spine Greek ἄκανθα (ákantha), thornacanthion, acanthocyte, acanthoma, acanthulus
acou- [1] of or relating to hearing Greek ἀκούειν (akoúein), ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), of or for hearing acoumeter, acoustician, hyperacusis
acr-extremity, topmostGreek ἄκρον (ákron), highest or farthest point acrocrany, acromegaly, acroosteolysis, acroposthia
-acusishearingGreek ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), of or for hearing paracusis
-adtoward, in the direction ofLatin ad , toward, to dorsad, ventrad
ad-at, increase, on, towardLatin ad- , to adduction, addition
aden-of or relating to a gland Greek ἀδήν, ἀδέν- , (adḗn, adén-), an acorn; a gland adenocarcinoma, adenology, adenotome, adenotyphus
adip-of or relating to fat or fatty tissueLatin ( adeps , adip-), fat adipocyte
adren-of or relating to the adrenal glands Latin ad + rēnēs , kidneys adrenal artery
-aemia, ema, hemat


blood conditionGreek ἀναιμία (anaimía, without blood anaemia
aer(o)-air, gasGreek ἀήρ , ἀέρος (aḗr, aéros) aerosinusitis, aerodynamics
aesthesi- (BrE)sensationGreek αἴσθησις (aísthēsis) anaesthesia
-al-alpertaining toLatin -alis abdominal, femoral
alb-denoting a white or pale colorLatin albus , white albino, tunica albica
alge(si)- pain Greek ἄλγος (álgos) analgesic
-algia , alg(i)o-painGreek myalgia
all-denoting something as different, or as an additionGreek ἄλλος (állos), another, other alloantigen, allopathy
ambi-denoting something as positioned on both sides; describing both of twoLatin ( ambi- , ambo ), both, on both sides ambidextrous
amnio- Pertaining to the membranous fetal sac (amnion)Greek ἄμνιον (ámnion) amniocentesis
amph(i)-,on both sidesGreek ἀμφί (amphí) amphicrania, amphismela, amphomycin
amylo-starchy, carbohydrate-relatedLatin amylum (starch) amylase, amylophagia
an-not, without (alpha privative)Greek analgesia
ana- back, again, upGreek ἀνα- (ana-) anaplasia
an- anus Latinanal
andr-pertaining to a man Greek ἀνήρ , ἀνδρ- (anḗr, andr-), male android, andrology, androgen
angi- blood vessel Greek ἀγγεῖον (angeîon) angiogram, angioplasty
aniso-describing something as unequalGreek ἄνῑσος (ánīsos), unequal anisocytosis, anisotropic
ankyl-, ancyl-denoting something as crooked or bentGreek ἀγκύλος (ankúlos), crooked, curved ankylosis
ante-describing something as positioned in front of another thingLatin ( āntē ), before, in front of antepartum
anthropo-humanGreek anthropo (human) anthropology
anti-describing something as 'against' or 'opposed to' anotherGreek αντι (anti), against antibody, antipsychotic
apo-away, separated from, derived fromGreek ἀπό (apó) apoptosis
archi-first, primitiveGreek ἀρχι- (arkhi-)archinephron
arsen(o)-of or pertaining to a male; masculineGreek (αρσενικός (arsenikós)arsenoblast
arteri(o)-of or pertaining to an artery Greek ἀρτηρία (artēría), a wind-pipe, artery (used distinctly versus a vein) arteriole, artery
arthr-of or pertaining to the joints, limbsGreek ἄρθρον (árthron), a joint, limb arthritis
articul-jointLatin articulus Articulation
-arypertaining toLatin -arius biliary tract, coronary
-ase enzyme from Greek διάστασις ( δια- (dia-, part, apart) + στάσις (stásis, stand)), division Lactase
-asthenia weakness Greek ἀσθένεια (asthéneia) Myasthenia gravis
atel(o)-imperfect or incomplete developmentGreek ἀτελής (atelḗs), without end, incomplete atelocardia
ather-fatty deposit, soft gruel-like deposit ἀθάρη (athárē) Atherosclerosis
-ationprocessLatin medication, civilization
atri-an atrium (esp. heart atrium)Latin atrioventricular
aur-of or pertaining to the earLatin ( auris ), the ear Aural
aut-selfGreek αὐτός , αὐτο- (autós, auto-) Autoimmune, autograph, autobiography, automobile, automatic
aux(o)-increase; growthGreek αὐξάνω , αὔξω (auxánō, aúxō)Auxocardia: enlargement of the heart, auxology
axill-of or pertaining to the armpit (uncommon as a prefix)Latin ( axilla ), armpit Axilla
azo(to)-nitrogenous compoundFrench azote , nitrogen; from Greek άζωτικός (ázōtikós) ἀ- (a-, no, without) + ζωή (zōḗ, life)), mephitic airazothermia: raised temperature due to nitrogenous substances in blood


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
bacillusrod-shapedLatin baculus , stick Bacillus anthracis
bacteri-Pertaining to bacteria Latin ( bacterium ; Greek βακτήριον (baktḗrion), small staff bacteriophage, bactericide
balan-of the glans penis or glans clitoridis Greek βάλανος (bálanos), acorn, glans balanitis
bas-of or pertaining to baseβάσις}}), foundation, basebasolateral
bi-twice, doubleLatin bi- binary vision, bicycle, bisexual
bio-lifeGreek βίος (bíos) biology, biological
blast- germ or budGreek βλαστός (blastós) blastomere
blephar(o)-of or pertaining to the eyelidGreek βλέφαρον (blépharon), eyelid blepharoplasty
brachi(o)-of or relating to the armLatin ( bracchium ), from Greek βραχίων (brakhíōn), arm brachium of inferior colliculus
brachy-Indicating 'short' or less commonly 'little'Greek βραχύς (brakhús), short, little, shallow brachycephalic
brady-'slow'Greek βραδύς (bradús), slow bradycardia
bronch(i)-of or relating to the bronchus Latin ( bronchus ); Greek βρόγχος (brónkhos), windpipe bronchitis, bronchiolitis obliterans
bucc(o)-of or pertaining to the cheek Latin bucca , cheekbuccolabial
burs(o)- bursa (fluid sac between the bones)Latin ( bursa ), purse; Greek βύρσα (búrsa), hide, wine-skin bursa, bursitis


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
capill-of or pertaining to hairLatin capillus , hair capillus
capit-pertaining to the head as a wholeLatin caput , capit-, the head capitation, decapation
carcin- cancer Greek καρκίνος (karkínos), crab carcinoma
cardi-of or pertaining to the heart Greek καρδία (kardía), heart cardiology
carp-of or pertaining to the wrist Latin ( carpus ) < Greek καρπός (karpós), wrist; NOTE: This root should not be confused with the mirror root carp(o)- meaning fruit. carpopedal spasm, carpal, metacarpal
cata-down, underGreek κατά (katá) cataract, catabolism, catacombs
-celepouching, hernia Greek κήλη (kḗlē) Hydrocele, Varicocele
-centesissurgical puncture for aspiration Greek κέντησις (kéntēsis) amniocentesis
cephal(o)-of or pertaining to the head (as a whole)Greek κεφαλή (kephalḗ), the head cephalalgy, hydrocephalus
cerat(o)-of or pertaining to the cornu; a hornGreek κέρας , κερατ- (kéras, kerat-), a horn ceratoid
cerebell(o)-of or pertaining to the cerebellum Latin cerebellum , little brain cerebellum
cerebr-cerebr-of or pertaining to the brain Latin cerebrum , braincerebrology
cervic-of or pertaining to the neck or the cervix Latin cervix , cervīc-), neck, cervixcervicodorsal, cervical vertebrae
cheil-of or pertaining to the lipsGreek χεῖλος (kheîlos), lip, mouth, beak angular cheilitis
chem-chemistry, drugGreek χημεία (khēmeía) chemotherapy, chemistry, chemical
chir-, cheir-of or pertaining to the handGreek χείρ , χειρο- (kheír, kheiro-), hand chiropractor
chlor-denoting a green colorGreek χλωρός (khlōrós), green, yellow-green chlorophyll
chol(e)-of or pertaining to bile Greek χολή (kholḗ), bile cholaemia (UK) / cholemia (US), cholecystitis
cholecyst(o)-of or pertaining to the gallbladder Greek χοληκύστις (kholēkústis), gallbladder < χολή (kholḗ), bile, gall + κύστις (kústis), bladder cholecystectomy
chondr(i)o-cartilage, gristle, granule, granularGreek χονδρός (grc) chondrocalcinosis
chrom(ato)-colorGreek χρῶμα (khrôma) hemochromatosis
-cidal, -cidekilling, destroyingLatin -cīda , cutter, killer bacteriocidal, suicide, suicidal
cili-of or pertaining to the cilia, the eyelashes; eyelidsLatin cilium , eyelash; eyelid ciliary
circum-denoting something as 'around' anotherLatin circum , around circumcision
cis-on this sideLatin cis cisgender
clastbreakGreek κλαστός (klastós), broken osteoclast
clostr-spindleGreek κλωστήρ (klōstḗr), spindle, thread Clostridium
co-with, together, in associationLatin co- coenzymes, co-organization
coccusround, sphericalGreek κόκκος (kókkos), berry, seed Streptococcus
col-, colo-, colono- colon Greek κόλον (kólon) colonoscopy
colp(o)-of or pertaining to the vaginaGreek κόλπος (kólpos), bosom, womb; hollow, depth colposcopy
com-with, togetherLatin cum communicate
contraagainstLatin contrā contraindication
cor-with, togetherLatin cor- corrective
cor-of or pertaining to the eye's pupil Greek κόρη (kórē), girl, doll; pupil of the eye corectomy
cord(i)-of or pertaining to the heart (uncommon as a prefix)Latin cor , heart commotio cordis,
cornu-applied to describing processes and parts of the body as likened or similar to hornsLatin cornū , horn greater cornu
coron(o)-pertaining to the heart Latin corōna coronary heart disease
cortic(o)-cortex, outer regionLatin cortex , bark of a tree corticosteroid
cost-of or pertaining to the ribs Latin costa , rib costochondral
cox-of or relating to the hip, haunch, or hip-jointLatin coxa , hip coxopodite
crani(o)-belonging or relating to the cranium Latin cranium , from Greek κρᾱνίον (krāníon), cranium, skull, bones enclosing the brain craniology
-crine, crin(o)to secreteGreek κρίνω (krínō), separate, divide, discern endocrine
cry(o)-coldGreek κρύος (krúos), cold, frost cryoablation, cryogenic
cutane-skinLatin cutis subcutaneous
cyan(o)-having a blue colorGreek κύανος , κυάνεος (kúanos, kuáneos, blue, of the color blue cyanopsia
cycl-circle, cycleGreek κύκλος (kúklos) cyclosis, cyclops, tricycle
cyph(o)-denotes something as bent (uncommon as a prefix)Greek κυφός (kuphós), bent, hunchback cyphosis
cyst(o)-, cyst(i)-of or pertaining to the urinary bladder Greek κύστις (kústis), bladder, cyst cystotomy
cyt(o)-, -cyte cell Greek κύτος (kútos), a hollow, vessel cytokine, leukocyte, cytoplasm


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
dacry(o)-of or pertaining to tears Greek δάκρυ , tear dacryoadenitis, dacryocystitis
-dactyl(o)-of or pertaining to a finger, toeGreek δάκτυλος (dáktulos), finger, toe dactylology, polydactyly
de-from, down, or away fromLatin de- dehydrate,demonetize, demotion
dent-of or pertaining to teethLatin dens , dentis, tooth dentist, dental
dermat(o)-, derm(o)-of or pertaining to the skinGreek δέρμα, δέρματος (dérma, dérmatos), skin, human skin dermatology, epidermis, hypodermic, xeroderma
-desisbindingGreek δέσις (désis) arthrodesis
dextr(o)-right, on the right sideLatin dexter dextrocardia
di-twoGreek δι- diplopia,
di-apart, separationLatin dis- dilation, distal, dilute
dia-through, during, acrossGreek διά (diá), through, during, across dialysis
dif-apart, separationLatin dif- different
digit-of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root]Latin digitus , finger, toe digit
diplo-twofoldGreek διπλόος (diplóos) diploid, diplosis
-dipsia(condition of) thirstGreek δίψα (dípsa) dipsomania, hydroadipsia, oligodipsia, polydipsia
dis-separation, taking apartLatin dis- dissection
dors(o)-, dors(i)-of or pertaining to the backLatin dorsum , back dorsal, dorsocephalad
dromo-running, conduction, courseGreek δρόμος (drómos) dromotropic, syndrome
duodeno-twelveLatin duodeni duodenal atresia, duodenum
dura-hardLatin durus dura mater
dynam(o)-force, energy, powerGreek δύναμις (dúnamis)hand strength dynamometer, dynamics
-dynia painGreek ὀδύνη (odúnē) vulvodynia
dys-bad, difficult, defective, abnormalGreek δυσ- (dus-) dysentery, dysphagia, dysphasia


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
-eal (see -al)pertaining toEnglish -al, from Latin -ālis adenohypophyseal, corneal, esophageal, perineal
ec-out, awayGreek ἐκ (ek), out of, from ectopia, ectopic pregnancy
ect(o)-outer, outsideGreek ἐκτός (ektós) ectoblast, ectoderm, ectoplasm
-ectasia, -ectasisexpansion, dilation Greek ἔκτασις (éktasis) bronchiectasis, telangiectasia
-ectomydenotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part; resection, excisionGreek ἐκτομή (ektomḗ), excision mastectomy
-emesis vomiting conditionGreek ἕμεσις (hémesis) hematemesis
-emia blood condition (Am. Engl.)Greek αἷμα (haîma), "blood" anemia
encephal(o)-of or pertaining to the brain; see also cerebro- Greek ἐγκέφαλος (enképhalos), the brain encephalogram
endo-denotes something as inside or withinGreek ἔνδον (éndon), inside, internal endocrinology, endospore, endoskeleton
eosin(o)-having a red colorGreek ἠώς (ēṓs), dawn, daybreak, morning red, goddess of the dawn ( Ἠώς , Ēṓs) eosinophil granulocyte
enter(o)-of or pertaining to the intestineGreek ἔντερον (énteron), intestine gastroenterology
epi-on, uponGreek ἐπι- (epi-), before, upon, on, outside, outside of epicardium, epidermis, epidural, episclera, epistaxis, epidemic
episi(o)-of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loinsGreek ἐπίσιον (epísion), the pubic area, loins; vulva episiotomy
erythr(o)-having a red colorGreek ἐρυθρός (eruthrós), red erythrocyte
-esophageal, -esophago-gullet (AmE)Greek οἰσοφάγος (oisophágos) esophagus
esthesio-sensation (AmE)Greek αἴσθησις (aísthēsis), to perceive esthesioneuroblastoma, esthesia
eu-true, good, well, new εὖ () eukaryote
ex-out of, away fromLatin ex- excision, except
exo-denotes something as "outside" anotherGreek ἔξω (éxō), outside of, external exophthalmos, exoskeleton, exoplanet
extra-outsideLatin extra , outside of, beyond extradural hematoma extraordinary, extreme


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
faci-of or pertaining to the faceLatin faciēs , the face, countenance facioplegic, facial
fibr-fiberLatin fibra , fiber, filament, entrails [2] fibril, fibrin, fibrinous pericarditis, fibroblast, fibrosis
fil-fine, hair-likeLatin fīlum , thread filament, filum terminale
foramenhole, opening, or aperture, particularly in boneLatin forāmen foramen magnum
-formused to form adjectives indicating "having the form of"Latin fōrma , form, shapecruciform, cuneiform, falciform
fore-before or aheadOld English fōr(e)- , before, in front of foregut, foreshadow
fossaa hollow or depressed area; a trench or channelLatin fossa , ditch, pit fossa ovalis
front-of or pertaining to the foreheadLatin frōns , front-, the forehead frontonasal


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
galact-milkGreek γάλα , γαλακτ- (gála, galakt- galactorrhea, galaxy
gastr-of or pertaining to the stomachGreek γαστήρ , γαστρ- (gastḗr, gastr-), stomach, belly gastric bypass, gastroenterology
-gen*born in, from
  • of a certain kind
Greek -γενής (-genḗs), from γεν-νάειν (gen-náein), to be born*endogen
-genicformative; pertaining to producingGreek -γενής (-genḗs) cardiogenic shock
genu-of or pertaining to the kneeLatin genū , knee genu valgum
-geusiatasteGreek γεῦσις (geûsis) ageusia, dysgeusia, hypergeusia, hypogeusia, parageusia
gingiv-of or pertaining to the gums Latin gingīva , gum gingivitis
glauc(o)-Having a grey or bluish-grey colourGreek γλαυκός (glaukós), grey, bluish-grey glaucoma
gloss(o)-, glott(o)-of or pertaining to the tongue Greek γλῶσσα , γλῶττα (glôssa, glôtta), tongue glossology
gluco-sweetGreek γλυκύς (glukús), sweet glucocorticoid, glucose
glyc- sugar Greek γλυκύς (glukús), sweet glycolysis
gnath-of or pertaining to the jawGreek γνάθος (gnáthos), jaw gnathodynamometer
-gnosisknowledgeGreek γνῶσις (gnôsis), inquiry, knowledge diagnosis, prognosis
gon-seed, semen; reproductiveGreek γόνος (gónos), fruit, seed, procreating gonorrhea
-gram, -grammerecord or pictureGreek γράμμα (grámma), picture, letter, writing angiogram, gramophone
-graphinstrument used to record data or pictureGreek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation electrocardiograph, seismograph
-graphy process of recordingGreek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation angiography
gyno-, gynaeco- (BrE), gyneco- (AmE)womanGreek γυνή , γυναικ (gunḗ, gunaik) gynaecology, gynecomastia, gynoecium


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
halluc-to wander in mindLatin ālūcinor , to wander in mind hallucinosis, hallucination
hemat-, haemato- (haem-, hem-)of or pertaining to blood Latin hæma[ citation needed ], from Greek αἷμα , αἱματ- (grc), blood hematology, older form haematology
hema- or hemo-blood (AmE)Greek αἷμα , (grc), bloodhemal, hemoglobin
hemangi or hemangio-blood vesselsGreek αἷμα , (grc), blood, + ἀγγεῖον (angeîon), vessel, urn hemangioma
hemi-one-halfGreek ἡμι- (hēmi-), half cerebral hemisphere
hepat- (hepatic-)of or pertaining to the liverGreek ἧπαρ , ἠπᾰτ- (hêpar, ēpat-), the liver hepatology, hepatitis
heter(o)-denotes something as "the other" (of two), as an addition, or differentGreek ἕτερος (héteros), the other (of two), another; different heterogeneous
hidr(o)- sweat Greek ἱδρώς , ἱδρωτ- (hidrṓs, hidrōt-), sweat, perspiration hyperhidrosis
hist(o)-, histio- tissue Greek ἱστός (histós), web, tissue histology
home(o)-similarGreek ὅμοιος (homoios), like, resembling, similar homeopathy
hom(o)-denotes something as "the same" as another or commonGreek ὁμός (homós), the same, common homosexuality, homozygote, homophobic
humer(o)-of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm)Latin umerus , shoulder humerus
hydr(o)-waterGreek ὕδωρ (húdōr), water hydrophobe, hydrogen
hyper-extreme or beyond normalGreek ὑπέρ (hupér), over, above; beyond, to the extreme hypertension, hypertrichosis
hyp(o)-below normalGreek ὑπό , ὑπο- (hupó), below, under hypovolemia, hypoxia
hyster(o)-of or pertaining to the womb or the uterus Greek ὑστέρα (hustéra), womb hysterectomy, hysteria


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
-iasiscondition, formation, or presence ofLatin -iasis , pathological condition or process; from Greek ἴασις (íasis), cure, repair, mend mydriasis
iatr(o)-of or pertaining to medicine or a physician (uncommon as a prefix but common as a suffix; see -iatry)Greek ἰατρός (iatrós), healer, physician iatrochemistry, iatrogenesis
-iatry-iatrydenotes a field in medicine emphasizing a certain body componentGreek ἰατρός (iatrós), healer, physician podiatry, psychiatry
-icpertaining toGreek -ικός (-ikós) hepatic artery
-icsorganized knowledge, treatmentLatin -icus , collection of related things, theme; cognate with Greek -ικός (ikós), of, pertaining to obstetrics
idio-self, one's ownGreek ἴδιος (ídios), one's own idiopathic
ileo- ileum Greek εἰλεός (eileós), to shut in, intestinal obstruction ileocecal valve
infra-belowLatin īnfrā , below infrahyoid muscles
inter-between, amongLatin inter interarticular ligament
intra-withinLatin intrā intramural
ipsi-sameLatin ipsi- ipsilateral
irid(o)-of or pertaining to the iris Latin īrīs , rainbow; from Greek ἶρις (îris), rainbow iridectomy
isch-restrictionGreek ἴσχω (ískhō), hold back, restrain ischemia
ischio-of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-jointGreek ἰσχίον (iskhíon), hip-joint, ischium ischioanal fossa
-ism condition, diseaseGreek -ισμός (-ismós), suffix forming abstract nouns of state, condition, doctrine dwarfism
-ismus spasm, contractionGreek -ισμός hemiballismus
iso-denoting something as being equalGreek ἴσος (ísos), equal isotonic
-istone who specializes inGreek -ιστής (-istḗs), agent noun, one who practices pathologist
-itethe nature of, resemblingLatin -ītēs , those belonging to, from Greek -ίτης (-ítēs) dendrite
-itis inflammation Greek -ῖτις (-îtis) fem. form of -ίτης (-ítēs), pertaining to, because it was used with the feminine noun νόσος (nósos, disease), thus -îtis nósos, disease of the, disease pertaining to tonsillitis
-iumstructure, tissueLatin -ium , aggregation or mass of (such as tissue) pericardium


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
juxta (iuxta)Near to, alongside or next toLatin iuxta juxtaglomerular apparatus
kal- potassium New Latin kalium , potassium hyperkalemia
kary- [3] nucleusGreek κάρυον (káruon), nut eukaryote
kerat- [4] cornea (eye or skin)Greek κέρας (kéras), horn keratoscope
kine- [5] movementGreek κινέω (kinéō), to move, to change akinetopsia, kinesthesia
koil- [6] hollowGreek κοῖλος (koîlos) koilocyte
kyph- [7] humpedGreek κυφός (kuphós), bent forward, stooping, hunchbacked kyphoscoliosis


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
labi-of or pertaining to the lip Latin labia , labium, lip labiodental
lacrim(o)- tear Latin lacrima , tear from crying Lacrimal canaliculi
lact(i)-, lact(o) milk Latin lac , milk lactation
lapar(o)-of or pertaining to the abdominal wall, flankGreek λαπάρα (lapára), flank laparotomy
laryng(o)-of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box isGreek λᾰ́ρυγξ , (lárunx), throat, gullet larynx
latero-lateralLatin laterālis , lateral, of or belonging to the side lateral pectoral nerve
lei(o)-smoothGreek λεῖος (leîos), smooth leiomyoma
-lepsis, -lepsy attack, seizure Greek λῆψις (lêpsis), seizure epilepsy, narcolepsy
lept(o)-light, slenderGreek λεπτός (leptós), thin, leanleptomeningeal
leuc(o)-, leuk(o)-denoting a white colorGreek λευκός (leukós), white, bright, pale leukocyte
lingu(a)-, lingu(o)-of or pertaining to the tongueLatin lingua , tongue, speech, language linguistics
lip(o)-fatGreek λίπος (lípos), fat, lard liposuction
liss(os)-smoothGreek Λισσός (Lissós), smooth lissencephaly
lith(o)- stone, calculus Greek λῐ́θος (líthos) lithotripsy
log(o)-speechGreek λόγος (lógos) dialog, catalog, logos
-logist denotes someone who studies a certain field (the field of _____-logy); a specialist; one who treatsGreek λογιστής (logistḗs), studier, practitioner (lit., accountant) oncologist, pathologist
-logydenotes the academic study or practice of a certain field; the study ofGreek -λογῐ́ᾱ (-logíā) base noun for the study of something hematology, urology
lumb(o)-, lumb(a)-of or relating to the part of the trunk between the lowest ribs and the pelvis.Latin lumbus or lumbaris, loin lumbar vertebrae
lymph(o)- lymph Latin lympha , water lymphedema
lys(o)-, -lytic dissolution Greek λῠ́σῐς (lúsis), loosen, release, + -ic lysosome
-lysis destruction, separationGreek λῠ́σῐς (lúsis), loosen, release paralysis


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
macr(o)-large, longGreek μᾰκρός (makrós), long, tall macrophage
-malaciasofteningGreek μαλακία (malakía), soft, weak, self-indulgent osteomalacia
mamm(o)-of or pertaining to the breast Latin mamma , breast, udder mammogram
mammill(o)-of or pertaining to the nipple Latin mammilla , nipple mammillaplasty, mammillitis
manu-of or pertaining to the hand Latin manus , hand manufacture
mast(o)-of or pertaining to the breast Greek μαστός (mastós), breast, woman's breast, man's pectoral muscle mastectomy
meg(a)-, megal(o)-, -megalyenlargement, millionGreek μέγᾰς (mégas), big, large, great, mighty splenomegaly, megameter
melan(o)-having a black colorGreek μέλᾱς , μελανο- (mélās, melano-), black, dark melanin
melosextremityGreek μέλος (mélos), part of a body, limb, member erythromelalgia
mening(o)- membrane Greek μῆνῐγξ (mêninx) meningitis
men-month, menstrual cycle Greek μήν (mḗn), month menopause, menorrhagia
mer-partGreek μέρος (méros), part, component, region merocrine, meroblastic
mes-middleGreek μέσος (mésos), middle, between, half mesoderm
met, meta-after, beside, beyond or changeGreek μετᾰ́ (metá), with, among, along with, in common with metacarpal, metacarpus, metacromion, metanephros, metatheria
-meter instrument used to measure or countGreek μέτρον (métron), measure or property, something used to measure sphygmomanometer, thermometer
-metry process of measuring, -meter + -y (see -meter)Greek μέτρον (métron) optometry
metr-pertaining to conditions or instruments of the uterus Greek μήτρᾱ (mḗtrā), womb, uterus metrorrhagia
micr-millionth; denoting something as small, relating to smallnessGreek μῑκρός (mīkrós), small microscope
milli-thousandthLatin mille , thousand milliliter
mon-singleGreek μονός (monós) infectious mononucleosis
morph-form, shapeGreek μορφή (morphḗ) morphology
muscul(o)- muscle Latin mūsculus , muscle (lit. mouse-like, due to mouse-shaped appearance of some muscles; loanword from Greek μῦς (mûs), mouse, + Latin -culus , diminutive suffix) musculoskeletal system
my(o)-of or relating to muscle Greek μῦς , μυ- (mûs, mu-), muscle, mouse, mussel myoblast
myc(o)- fungus Greek μύκης, μυκητ- onychomycosis
myel(o)-of or relating to bone marrow or the spinal cord Greek μυελός (muelós), marrow, bone-marrow myelin sheath, myeloblast
myl(o)-of or relating to molar teeth or the lower jawGreek μῠ́λη (múlē, mill, grind, molars mylohyoid nerve
myri-ten thousandGreek μῡρῐ́ος (mūríos), innumerable, countless, infinite myriad
myring(o)- eardrum Latin myringa , eardrum myringotomy
myx(o)- mucus Greek μύξᾰ (múxa), mucus, nasal discharge myxoma


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
nan(o)-dwarf, smallGreek νᾶνος (nânos), dwarf nanogram, nanosecond
narc(o)-numb, sleep Greek νάρκη (nárkē), numbess, torpor narcolepsy
nas(o)-of or pertaining to the nose Latin nāsus , nosenasal
nat(o)-birthLatin nātus , born, arisen, made neonatology
necr(o)-deathGreek νεκρός (nekrós), dead body, corpse, dying person necrosis, necrotizing fasciitis
neo-newGreek νέος (néos), young, youthful, new, fresh neoplasm
nephr(o)-of or pertaining to the kidney Greek νεφρός (nephrós), kidney nephrology
nerv-of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system (uncommon as a root: neuro- mostly always used)Latin nervus , tendon, nerve; cognate with Greek νεῦρον (neûron), tendon, string, nerve nerve, nervous system
neur(i)-, neur(o)-of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system Greek νεῦρον (neûron), tendon, sinew, nerve neurofibromatosis
noci-pain, injury, hurtLatin noceō nociception
normo-normalLatin nōrma , norm or standard; lit. carpenter's square normocapnia


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
ocul(o)-of or pertaining to the eyeLatin oculus , the eye Oculist
odont(o)-of or pertaining to teeth Greek ὀδούς , ὀδοντ- (odoús, odont-, tooth orthodontist
odyn(o)-painGreek ὀδύνη (odúnē)stomatodynia
-oesophageal, oesophago- (BrE)gulletGreek οἰσοφᾰ́γος (oisophágos)oesophagus
-oidresemblance toGreek -ειδής (-eidḗs), like, connected to, pertaining to Sarcoidosis
olesmall or littleLatin -olus , suffix to form a diminutive of the noun arteriole
olig(o)-having little, having fewGreek ὀλῐ́γος (olígos), few oligotrophy
om(o)-shoulderGreek ὦμος (ômos), shoulder omoplate
-oma (singular), -omata (plural) tumor, mass, fluid collectionGreek -μα (-ma), suffix added to verbs to form nouns indicating the result of a process or action; cf. English -tion sarcoma, teratoma, mesothelioma
omphal(o)-of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Greek ὀμφαλός (omphalós), navel, belly-button omphalotomy
onco-tumor, bulk, volumeGreek ὄγκος (ónkos) oncology
-one hormone
onych(o)-of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe)Greek ὄνυξ , ὀνυχο- (ónux, onukho-), nail; claw; talon onychophagy
oo-of or pertaining to an (egg), a woman's egg, the ovumGreek ᾠόν , ᾠο- (ōión, ōio-), egg, ovum oogenesis
oophor(o)-of or pertaining to the woman's (ovary)Neoclassical Greek ᾠοφόρον (ōiophóron), ovary, egg-bearing oophorectomy
ophthalm(o)-of or pertaining to the (eye)Greek ὀφθαλμός (ophthalmós), the eye ophthalmology
opistho-back, behind, rear [8] Greek ὄπῐσθεν (ópisthen), behind, at the back opisthotonus
-opsyexamination or inspectionGreek ὄψῐς (ópsis), view biopsy, autopsy
optic(o)-of or relating to chemical properties of the eye Middle French optique ; from Greek ὀπτῐκός (optikós); cognate with Latin oculus , relating to the eye opticochemical, biopsy
or(o)-of or pertaining to the mouthLatin ōs , ōris, mouth oral
-orone who, agent noun–forming suffixgenerally appended where Latin would do it—to the root of a Latin-type perfect passive participle. Cf. -er doctor
orchi(o)-, orchid(o)-, orch(o)- testis Greek ὄρχις (órkhis), testicle, ovary orchiectomy, orchidectomy
orth(o)-denoting something as straight or correctGreek ὀρθός (orthós), straight, correct, normal orthodontist
-osisa condition, disease or increaseGreek -ωσις (-ōsis), state, abnormal condition, action Harlequin type ichthyosis, psychosis, osteoporosis
ossi-, osse- bone, bonyLatin os , bone peripheral ossifying fibroma, osseous
ost(e)-, oste(o)-boneGreek ὀστέον (ostéon), bone osteoporosis, osteoarthritis
ot(o)-of or pertaining to the ear Greek οὖς , ὠτ- (oûs, ōt-), the ear otology
-ouspertaining toLatin -ōsus , full of, prone to porous
ovari(o)-of or pertaining to the ovariesLatin ōvarium , ovary ovariectomy
ovo-, ovi-, ov-of or pertaining to the eggs, the ovum Latin ( ōvum ), egg, ovum ovogenesis
oxo-addition of oxygen
oxy-sharp, acid, acute; oxygen borrowed from French oxygène (originally principe oxigine, 'acidifying principle', referring to oxygen's role in the formation of acids, from Greek ὀξύς (oxús), sharp, pointed + γένος (génos), birth) oxytocin, oxygenated, oxycodone


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
pachy-thickGreek πᾰχῠ́ς (pakhús), thick, large, stout pachyderma
palpebr-of or pertaining to the eyelid (uncommon as a root)Latin palpebra , eyelid palpebra
pan-, pant(o)-denoting something as 'complete' or containing 'everything'; "all"Greek πᾶς , παν- (pâs, pan-), all, every panophobia, panopticon, pancytopenia (deficiency in all blood cell types - erythrocytes, leukocytes, thrombocytes) [9]
papill-of or pertaining to the nipple (of the chest/breast)Latin papilla , nipple; diminutive of papula (see below) papillitis
papul(o)-Indicates papulosity, a small elevation or swelling in the skin, a pimple, swellingLatin papula , pimple, pustle; a small elevation or swelling in the skin papulation
para-alongside ofGreek πᾰρᾰ́ (pará) paracyesis
-paresisslight paralysis Greek πάρεσις (páresis) hemiparesis
parvo-smallLatin parvus , small, little, unimportant Parvovirus
path(o)-diseaseGreek πᾰ́θος (páthos), pain, suffering, condition Pathology
-pathydenotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorderGreek πᾰ́θος (páthos), suffering, accident sociopathy, neuropathy
pauci-FewLatin paucus Pauci-immune
pector-breast or chestLatin pectus pectoralgia, pectoriloquy, pectorophony
ped-, -ped-, -pes of or pertaining to the foot; -footedLatin pēs , pēd-, foot Pedoscope
ped-, pedo-of or pertaining to the childGreek παῖς , παιδός (paîs, paidós), child pediatrics. pedophilia
pelv(i)-, pelv(o)-hip boneLatin pelvis , basin Pelvis
-peniadeficiencyGreek πενῐ́ᾱ , poverty, indigence osteopenia
peo-of or pertaining to the penisGreek πέος (péos) Peotomy
-pepsiadenotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract.Greek πεπτός (peptós), cooked, digested < πέσσω (péssō), I boil, cook; digest dyspepsia
per-throughLatin per , through, by means ofpercutaneous
peri-denoting something with a position 'surrounding' or 'around' anotherGreek περῐ́ (perí), around, about, concerning periodontal
-pexyfixationGreek πῆξις (pêxis), fixing in place, fastening nephropexy
phaco-lens-shapedGreek φᾰκός (phakós), lentil-beanphacolysis, phacometer, phacoscotoma
-phagia, -phageForms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestionGreek φαγία (phagía) eating < φᾰγεῖν (phageîn), to eat Sarcophagia
-phago-eating, devouringGreek -φᾰ́γος (-phágos), eater of, eating phagocyte
phagist-Forms nouns that denote a person who 'feeds on' the first element or part of the wordGreek φαγιστής (phagistḗs) eater; see -phagia Lotophagi
-phagyForms nouns that denotes 'feeding on' the first element or part of the wordGreek φαγία (phagia) eating; see -phagia hematophagy
phall- phallus Greek φαλλός (phallós), penis Aphallia
pharmac-drug, medicationGreek φάρμᾰκον (phármakon)pharmacology
pharyng-of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavityGreek φᾰ́ρῠγξ , φαρυγγ- (phárunx, pharung-), throat, windpipe; chasm pharyngitis, pharyngoscopy
-phil(ia)attraction forGreek φῐλῐ́ᾱ (philíā), friendship, love, affection hemophilia
phleb-of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a veinGreek φλέψ , φλεβ- (phléps, phleb-), blood-vessel, vein phlebography, phlebotomy
-phobiaexaggerated fear, sensitivity, aversionGreek φόβος (phóbos), terror, fear, flight, panic arachnophobia
phon-soundGreek φωνή (phōnḗ)phonograph, symphony
phos-of or pertaining to light or its chemical properties, now historic and used rarely. See the common root phot- below.Greek φῶς, φᾰ́ος , φωτ- (phôs, pháos), light phosphene
phot-of or pertaining to lightGreek φωτω- (phōtō-), < φῶς (phôs), light photopathy
phren-, phrenic-the mindGreek φρήν (phrḗn), intellect, wits, mind phrenic nerve, schizophrenia
phyllo-leaf-likeGreek φῠ́λλον (phúllon), leaf, foliage, plant phyllodes tumour, phyllotaxis
-phyte, phyto-to growGreek φῠτόν (phutón), plant, tree hydrophyte
piasoftMedieval Latin pia mater, tender mother, from Latin pia , pius, pious, dutiful, good pia mater
piri-PearLatin pirum , cognate with Greek ἄπιον (ápion), pear Piriformis muscle
-plasiaformation, developmentGreek πλᾰ́σῐς (plásis), moulding, conformation Achondroplasia
-plastysurgical repair, reconstructionGreek πλαστός (plastós), molded, formed rhinoplasty
-plegiaparalysisGreek πληγή (plēgḗ), stroke (from a sword), from πληγή (plēgḗ), to strike or smite paraplegia
pleio-more, excessive, multipleGreek πλεῖον (pleîon), more pleiomorphism
pleur-of or pertaining to the ribsGreek πλευρᾱ́ (pleurā́), rib, side of the body Pleurogenous
-plexystroke or seizureGreek πλήσσω , πλήσσειν (plḗssō, plḗssein), to strike or smite Cataplexy
pne-, pneum-air, breath, lungGreek πνεῖν (pneîn), πνεῦμα, πνεύματος (pneûma, pneúmatos), πνεύμων (pneúmōn) apnea, pneumatology, pneumonocyte, pneumonia
pod-, -pod-, -pus of or pertaining to the foot, -footedGreek πούς, ποδ- (poús, pod-), foot podiatry
-poiesisproductionGreek ποίησις (poíēsis), poetry, poem, creation hematopoiesis
polio-having a grey colorGreek πολῐός (poliós), grey, grizzled poliomyelitis
poly-denotes a 'plurality' of somethingGreek πολῠ́ς (polús), many, a lot of, large, great polymyositis
por-pore, porous πόρος (póros), passage, passagewaypore
porphyr-denotes a purple colorGreek πορφύρα (porphúra), Tyrian purple, royal purple porphyroblast
post-denotes something as 'after (time)' or 'behind (space)' anotherLatin post , after, behind postoperation, postmortem
pre-denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time)Middle English pre-, from Medieval Latin pre- < (Classical) Latin prae- , before, in front of premature birth
presby-old ageGreek πρέσβυς (présbus), old man, elder presbyopia, presbycusis [10]
prim-denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important'Latin prīmus , first, most importantprimary
pro-denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time)Greek πρό- (pró-), before, in front of procephalic
proct- anus, rectum Greek πρωκτός (prōktós) proctology
prosop- face Greek πρόσωπον (prósōpon), face, visage, mask prosopagnosia
prot-denotes something as 'first' or 'most important'Greek πρωτος (prōtos), first; principal, most important protoneuron
pseud-denotes something false or fakeGreek ψεύδω (pseúdō), to lie or deceive pseudoephedrine
psor-ItchingGreek ψώρα (psṓra), itch, mange, scurvy psoriasis
psych-of or pertaining to the mindGreek ψυχή (psukhḗ), breath, life, soul psychology, psychiatry
ptero-, ptery-Pertaining to a wing; 'pterygo-', wing-shapedGreek πτερόν (pterón), wing, feather lateral pterygoid plate
-ptosisfalling, drooping, downward placement, prolapseGreek πτῶσῐς (ptôsis), falling apoptosis, nephroptosis
-ptyal-,ptyalosaliva, salivary glands, sialaden ptyalolithiasis
-ptysisspittingGreek πτῡ́ω (ptū́ō), to spit up, disgorge; + -σις (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or processhemoptysis, the spitting of blood derived from the lungs or bronchial tubes
pulmon-, pulmo-of or relating to the lungs Latin pulmō , a lungpulmonary
py- pus Greek πύον (púon pyometra
pyel- pelvis Greek πύελος (púelos), pelvis, wash basin pyelonephritis
pykno-to thicken (as the nucleus does in early stages of cell death)Greek πύκνωσις (púknōsis), thickening pyknosis
pylor-gateGreek πυλωρός (pulōrós), gate keeper; lower orifice of the stomach pyloric sphincter
pyr- fever Greek πῦρ , πυρετός (pûr, puretós), fire, heat, fever antipyretic


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
quadr(i)- fourLatin quattuor quadriceps
radi-radiationLatin radiō , I radiate, emit beams; from radius , ray of light, spoke of a wheel radiowave
radic-referring to the beginning, or the root, of a structure, usually a nerve or a veinLatin rādīx , root radiculopathy
re-again, backLatin re- relapse
rect- rectum abbr. of New Latin rectum intestinum ('straight intestine') < Latin rēctus , straight rectal, rectum, rectus femoris
ren-of or pertaining to the kidneyLatin rēn, rēnes , kidney renal
reticul(o)-netLatin rēticulum reticulocyte
retro-backward, behindLatin retro retroversion, retroverted
rhabd(o)-rod shaped, striatedGreek ῥᾰ́βδος (rhábdos), wand, stick, stripe rhabdomyolysis
rhachi(o)- spine Greek ῥάχις (rhákhis), spine or backbonerachial, rachialgia, rachidian, rachiopathy
rhin(o)-of or pertaining to the noseGreek ῥίς , ῥῑνο- (rhís, rhīno-), nose rhinoceros, rhinoplasty
rhod(o)-denoting a rose-red colorGreek ῥόδον (rhódon), rose rhodophyte
-rrhage, -rrhagiaburst forth, rapid flow (of blood, usually)Greek -ραγία (-ragía), to break, to burst hemorrhage, menorrhagia
-rrhaphysurgical suturingGreek ῥαφή (rhaphḗ) hymenorrhaphy, neurorrhaphy
-rrhea (AmE)flowing, dischargeGreek ῥοίᾱ (rhoíā), flow, flux galactorrhea, diarrhea
-rrhexisruptureGreek ῥῆξῐς (rhêxis), breaking, bursting, discharge karyorrhexis
-rrhoea (BrE)flowing, dischargeGreek ῥοίᾱ (rhoíā), flow, flux diarrhoea
rubr(o)-of or pertaining to the red nucleus of the brainLatin ruber , red rubrospinal
-ruptbreak or burstLatin rumpō erupt, interrupt


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
salping(o)-of or pertaining to tubes, e.g. Fallopian tubes Greek σᾰ́λπῐγξ , σαλπιγγ-, (sálpinx, salping-), trumpet salpingectomy, salpingopharyngeus muscle
sangui-, sanguine-of or pertaining to bloodLatin sanguis , blood sanguine
sapro-relating to putrefaction or decay.Greek sapros ‘putrid'saprogenic
sarco-muscular, flesh-likeGreek σάρξ (sárx), flesh sarcoma, sarcoidosis
schist(o)-split, cleftGreek σχῐστός (skhistós), cloven, divided schistocyte
schiz(o)-denoting something "split" or "double-sided"Greek σχῐ́ζω (skhízō), I split, cleave, part; irregular formation of the verb σχῐ́ζειν (skhízein), to cut, split schizophrenia
scler(o)-hardGreek σκληρός (sklērós) scleroderma
-sclerosishardeningGreek σκληρός (sklērós), hard, harden; + -σῐς (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or process atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis
scoli(o)-twistedGreek σκολιός (skoliós), curved, bent scoliosis
-scopeinstrument for viewingGreek σκόπος (skópos), watcher stethoscope
-scopyprocess of viewingGreek σκοπέω (skopéō), to look at, behold, examine endoscopy
scoto-darknessGreek σκότος (skótos) scotopic vision
semi-one-half, partlyLatin semi- semiconscious
sial(o)- saliva, salivary gland Latin salīva , saliva. sialagogue
sigmoid(o)-sigmoid, S-shaped curvatureGreek σιγμοειδής (sigmoeidḗs), crescent-shaped, lunate sigma-shaped sigmoid colon
sinistr(o)- left, left sideLatin sinister
sinus-of or pertaining to the sinusLatin sinus , a curve, bend, hollow cavity, bosom sinusitis
sito-food, grainGreek σῖτος (sîtos) sitophobia
somat(o)-, somatico-body, bodilyGreek σῶμα (sôma)somatic
somn(o)SleepLatin somnus , sleep, drowsiness insomniac [11]
-spadiasslit, fissureGreek σπάω (spáō), break, split hypospadias, epispadias
spasmo- spasm Greek σπασμός (spasmós) Spasmodic dysphonia
sperma-, spermo-, spermato- semen, spermatozoa Greek σπέρμα (spérma), seed, semen spermatogenesis
splanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)- viscera Greek σπλᾰ́γχνον (splánkhnon), bowels, guts splanchnology
splen(o)- spleen Greek σπλήν , σπλην- (splḗn, splēn-), spleen, milt splenectomy
spondyl(o)-of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra Greek σφόνδῠλος / σπόνδυλος (sphóndulos, spóndulos), the spine spondylitis
squamos(o)-denoting something as "full of scales" or "scaly"Latin squāmōsus , full of scales, scaly squamous cell
-stalsiscontractionGreek στέλλω (stéllō), I dispatch, place, set peristalsis
-stasisstopping, standingGreek στᾰ́σῐς (stásis), to stand, place, set cytostasis, homeostasis
-staxisdripping, tricklingGreek στάζω , στακτός (stázō, staktós), drip, leak, trickle
sten(o)-denoting something as narrow in shape or pertaining to narrownessGreek στενός (stenós), narrow, short stenography
-stenosisabnormal narrowing of a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structureGreek στενός (stenós), narrow, short; + -σῐς (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or process restenosis, stenosis
steth-of or pertaining to the upper chest, the area above the breast and under the neckGreek στῆθος (stêthos), chest, cuirass stethoscope
stheno-strength, force, powerGreek σθένος (sthénos
stom-, stomat-of or pertaining to the mouth; an artificially created opening [12] Greek στόμᾰ , στοματ- (stóma, stomat-), mouth stomatogastric, stomatognathic system
-stomycreation of an openingNew Latin stoma , opening; from Greek στόμᾰ (stóma) colostomy
sub-beneath, underLatin sub subcutaneous tissue
super-in excess, above, superiorLatin super superior vena cava
supra-above, excessiveLatin supra supraorbital vein
sy, syl-, sym-, syn-, sys-indicates similarity, likeness, or being together; assimilates before some consonants: before l to syl-, s to sys-, before a labial consonant to sym-Greek σῠν- (sun-), with, togethersymptom, synalgia, synesthesia, syssarcosis


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
tachy-denoting something as fast, irregularly fastGreek τᾰχῠ́ς (takhús), fast, quickly tachycardia
-tension, -tensive pressure Latin tēnsiō , stretching, extension, tension hypertension
terato-MonsterGreek τέρᾰς ((téras)teratoma, teratogen
tetan-rigid, tenseGreek τέτανος (tétanos) tetanus
thec-case, sheath Greek θήκη (thḗkē) intrathecal
thel-of or pertaining to a nipple (uncommon as a prefix)Greek θηλή (thēlḗ), a teat, nipple Theleplasty, thelarche
thely-denoting something as relating to a woman, feminineGreek θῆλῠς (thêlus), female, feminine Thelygenous
therap-treatmentGreek θερᾰπείᾱ (therapeíā)hydrotherapy, therapeutic
therm(o)-heatGreek θερμός (thermós) hypothermia
thorac(i)-, thorac(o)-, thoracico-of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neckLatin thōrāx < Greek θώρᾱξ (thṓrāx), chest, cuirassthoracic, thorax
thromb(o)-of or relating to a blood clot, clotting of bloodGreek θρόμβος (thrómbos), lump, piece, clot of blood thrombus, thrombocytopenia
thyr(o)- thyroid Greek θῠρεός (thureós), large oblong shield; + εἶδος (eîdos), a form or shape
thym-emotionsGreek θῡμός (thūmós), spirit, soul; courage; breath, mind, emotions dysthymia
-ticpertaining toGreek -τῐκός (-tikós), adjective-forming suffix denoting: relating to, able to, suited to
toco-childbirthGreek τόκος (tókos) tocolytic
-tomecutting instrumentGreek τομή (tomḗ), intersection
-tomyact of cutting; incising, incisionGreek τομία (-tomía) Gastrotomy
ton-tone, tension, pressureGreek τόνος (tónos), rope, cord; tension
-tonytensionGreek -τονία (-tonía)
top(o)-place, topicalGreek τόπος (tópos) Topical anesthetic
tort(i)-twistedLatin tortus Torticollis
tox(i)-, tox(o)-, toxic(o)- toxin, poisonGreek τοξικόν (toxikón), bow (archery), bow-related; from Greek τοξικόν φάρμᾰκον (toxikón phármakon), poison for smearing arrows with Toxoplasmosis
trache(a)- trachea Greek τραχεῖα (trakheîa), windpipe Tracheotomy
trachel(o)-of or pertaining to the neckGreek τρᾰ́χηλος (trákhēlos), necktracheloplasty
trans-denoting something as moving or situated across or throughLatin trāns , across, through Transfusion
tri-threeLatin tri- triangle, triceps
trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)-of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structureGreek θρῐ́ξ (thríx), hair trichocyst
-tripsycrushingGreek τρῖψις (trípsis), rubbing, friction lithotripsy
-trophynourishment, developmentGreek τροφή (trophḗ), food, nourishment pseudohypertrophy
-tropicturned toward, with an orientation toward, having an affinity for, affectingGreek tróp (turn)geotropic (The directional growth of an organism in response to gravity)

phototropic (taking a particular direction under the influence of light)

neurotropic (having an affinity for nerve cells or tissue, e.g. a neurotropic virus; a neurotropic drug)

gonadotropic (pertaining to substances formed in the anterior pituitary gland that affect the activity of the ovary or testis)

tympan(o)- eardrum Greek τῠ́μπᾰνον (túmpanon), drum, eardrum tympanocentesis


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
-ula, -ulesmallLatinNodule
ultra-beyond, excessiveLatin ultra ultrasound, ultraviolet
umbilic-of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Latin umbilīcus , navel, belly-button umbilical
ungui-of or pertaining to the nail, a clawLatin unguis , nail, claw unguiform, ungual
un(i)-oneLatin ūnus unilateral hearing loss
ur-of or pertaining to urine, the urinary systemGreek οὐρέω, οὐρεῖν (ouréō, oureîn); οὖρον (oûron), urine antidiuretic, diuresis, diuretic, dysuria, enuresis, polyurea, polyuria, uraemia/uremia, uremic, ureter, urethra, urology
urin-of or pertaining to urine, the urinary systemLatin ūrīna , urine < Greek οὖρον (oûron), see ur- above. uriniferous
uter(o)-of or pertaining to the uterus or wombLatin uterus , womb, uterus uterus


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
vagin-of or pertaining to the vagina Latin vāgīna , sheath, scabbard; vagina vaginal epithelium
varic(o)-swollen or twisted vein Latin varix varicose
vas(o)-duct, blood vessel Latin vās , vessel, dish, vase vasoconstriction
vasculo- blood vessel Latin vāsculum
ven-of or pertaining to the veins, venous blood, and the vascular system Latin vēna , blood-vessel, vein venule, venospasm
ventr(o)-of or pertaining to the belly, the stomach cavitiesLatin venter , belly, stomach, womb ventrodorsal
ventricul(o)-of or pertaining to the ventricles; any hollow region inside an organLatin ventriculus , the ventricles of the heart, the ventricles of the brain cardiac ventriculography, atrioventricular node
-versionturningLatin versiō anteversion, retroversion
vesic(o)-of or pertaining to the bladder Latin vēsīca , bladder, blister vesical arteries
viscer(o)-of or pertaining to the internal organs, the viscera Latin viscus (pl. viscera), internal organ(s) viscera


AffixMeaningOrigin language and etymologyExample(s)
xanth(o)-having a yellow color, especially an abnormally yellow colorGreek ξᾰνθός (xanthós), yellow xanthopathy
xen(o)-foreign, differentGreek ξένος (xénos), foreign, stranger xenograft
xer(o)-dry, desert-likeGreek ξηρός (xērós), dry xerostomia, xeroderma
xiph-swordGreek ξῐ́φος (xíphos), sword xiphisternum, xiphoid, xiphoidalgia
-ycondition or process ofLatin -ia , from Greek -ῐ́ᾱ , -ειᾰ (-íā, -eia), suffixes used to form abstract nouns surgery
ze-boilGreek ζέω (zéō), to boil, seethe, bubble eczema
zo(o)-animal, animal lifeGreek ζῷον (zôion) zoology
zym(o)- fermentation Greek ζύμη (zúmē), leaven, yeast enzyme, lysozyme

English meanings

This section contains lists of different root classification (e.g. body components, quantity, description, etc.). Each list is alphabetized by English meanings, with the corresponding Greek and Latin roots given.

Roots of the body

Roots of bodily concepts

Bodily conceptGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English

Body parts and substances

Body part or componentGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English
abdomen lapar- abdomin-
arm brachi- arm-
armpit maschal- axill-
artery arteri-
back not- dors-
big toeallic-, hallic-
bladder cyst- vesic-
bloodhaemat-, hemat- ( haem- , hem-) sangui-, sanguin-
blood clot thromb-
blood vesselangi- vas-, vascul-
bodysomat-, som- corpor-
bone oste- ossi-
bone marrow, marrow myel- medull-
brainencephal- cerebr-
breast mast- mamm-
chest steth- pector-
ear ot(o)- aur(i)-
eggs, ovaoo-ov-
eye ophthalm(o)-ocul(o)-optic(o)- (French)
eyelidblephar(o)-cili-, palpebr-
fallopian tubessalping(o)-
fat, fatty tissuelip(o)-adip-
finger dactyl(o)-digit-
genitals, sexually undifferentiatedgon(o)-, phall(o)-
glanspenis or clitoridisbalan(o)-
handscheir(o)-, chir(o)-manu-
hip, hip-jointcox-
lipcheil(o)-, chil(o)-labi(o)-
liverhepat(o)-, (hepatic-)jecor-
loins, pubic regionepisi(o)-pudend-
lungspneumon-pulmon(i)-, (pulmo-)
marrow, bone marrowmyel(o)-medull-
nerve; the nervous systemneur(o)-nerv-
nipple, teatthele-papill-, mammill-
pupil (of the eye)cor-, core-, coro-
rib cagethorac(i)-, thorac(o)-
skindermat(o)-, (derm-)cut-, cuticul-
testisorchi(o)-, orchid(o)-
throat (upper throat cavity)pharyng(o)-
throat (lower throat cavity/voice box])laryng(o)-
tonguegloss-, glott-lingu(a)-
tumourcel-, onc(o)-tum-
urethraurethr(o)-, urethr(a)-urethr(o)-, urethr(a)-
urine, urinary systemur(o)-urin(o)-
uterine tubessalping(o)-salping(o)-
uterushyster(o)-, metr(o)-uter(o)-
wombhyster(o)-, metr(o)-uter(o)-

Roots of color

ColorGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English
black melan- atr-, nigr-
blue cyan- cerule-
gold chrys- aur-
gray , grey poli- can-
green chlor- vir-
purpleporphyr-purpur-, purpureo-
red erythr- , rhod-rub-, rubr-, ruf-
silver argent-
white leuc-, leuk-alb-, cand-
yellow xanth- flav- jaun- (French)

Roots of description

DescriptionGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English
bad, incorrectcac-, dys-mal-mis-
bent, crookedankyl-prav-
bigmega-, megal(o)-magn(i)-
broad, wideeury-lat(i)-
female, femininethely-
good, welleu-ben(e)-, bon(i)-
greatmega-, megal(o)-magn(i)-
incorrect, badcac(o)-, dys-mal(e)-mis-
large; extremely largemega-magn(i)-
male, masculinearseno-vir-
normal, correctorth(o)-rect(i)-
smallmicr(o)-parv(i)- (rare)
varied, variouspoikilo-vari-
well, goodeu-ben(e)-
wide, broadeury-lat(i)-

Roots of position

DescriptionGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English
around, surrounding peri- circum-
internal, within endo- intra-
left levo- laev-, sinistr-
middle meso-, mes- medi-
rightdexi- dex-, dextr-, dextro-

Prefixes of quantity or amount

DescriptionGreek root in EnglishLatin root in EnglishOther root in English
halfhemi-semi-demi- (French)
many, muchpoly-multi-

See also

Related Research Articles

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  1. ἀκούω
  2. "Latin Word Study Tool". Retrieved 25 February 2017.
  3. κάρυον . Liddell, Henry George ; Scott, Robert ; A Greek–English Lexicon at the Perseus Project
  4. κέρας  in Liddell and Scott
  5. κινέω  in Liddell and Scott
  6. κοῖλος  in Liddell and Scott
  7. κύπτω  in Liddell and Scott
  8. "opistho-".
  9. The Language of Medicine, 11th edition , Davi-Ellen Chabner
  10. Stedman's Online
  11. The Language of Medicine 11th Edition , Davi-Ellen Chabner
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