Medical Terminology

Basic Word Structure

Medical terms can be divided into two to four parts. Even if a word is unfamiliar to, you figure out the meaning by knowing what each part mean.

Important Elements of Medical Terms

 Root: Foundation of the Term

Suffix: Word Ending

Prefix: Word Beginning

Combining Vowel: Vowel (Usually O) that links the root to the suffix or the root to another root.

How to Read Medical Terms

You should read medical terms starting from the suffix and returning to the beginning of the word.

EPI|GASTR|IC

EPI: Prefix Meaning “Above”

GASTR: Root Meaning “Stomach”

IC: Suffix Meaning “Pertaining To”

Medical Terminology Rules for Combining Vowels

Drop the Combining Vowel before a Suffix that Begins with a Vowel.

Root: GASTR/O

Suffix: ITIS

Keep the Combining Vowel Between two Roots, Even if Second Root Begins with a Vowel.

Root: GASTR/O

Root #2: ENTER/O

Suffix: LOGY

Combining Forms with Medical Terminology

A combining form is the combination of a root with a combining vowel.

Example: ARTHR/O “ARTHR” is the root, and the “O” is the combining vowel. “O” is the most frequently used combining vowel.

Combining Forms

ADEN/O: GLAND

ARTHR/O: JOINT

BI/O: LIFE

CARCIN/O: CANCEROUS, CANCER

CARDI/O: HEART

CEPHAL/O: HEAD

CEREBR/O: CEREBRUM

CIS/O: TO CUT

CRIN/O: TO SECRETE, TO FORM, TO GIVE OFF

CYT/O: CELL

ADEN/O: GLAND

DERM/O: SKIN

DERMAT/O: SKIN

ENCEPHAL/O: BRAIN

ENTER/O: INTESTINES (USUALLY THE SMALL INTESTINE)

ERYTHR/O: RED

GASTR/O: STOMACH

GNOS/O: KNOWLEDGE

GYNEC/O: WOMAN, FEMALE

HEMAT/O: BLOOD

HEPAT/O: LIVER

LATR/O: TREATMENT< PHYSICIAN

LEUK/O: WHITE

LOG/O: STUDY OF

NEPHR/O: KIDNEY

NEUR/O: NERVE

ONC/O: TUMOR

OPHTHALM/O: EYE

OSTE/O: BONE

PATH/O: DISEASE

PED/O: CHILD

PSYCHO/O: MIND

RADI/O: X-RAYS

REN/O: KIDNEY

RHIN/O: NOSE

SARC/O: FLESH

SECT/O: TO CUT

THROMBO/O: CLOT, CLOTTING

UR/O: URNINARY TRACT, URINE

This was a Basic Medial Terminology Introductory Lesson

This was a quick glimpse into helping you identify roots, suffixes, prefixes, combining vowels, and combining forms that make up medical terms.


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