Greek and Latin Anatomy and Medical word parts and their meaning

Greek words and word parts

Some Greek root words used in medical terminology:

Aden - gland Kranion - skull Pyon - pus
Aorta - aorta Larynx - voice box Pyr - fire, fever
Bronchos - windpipe, gullet Mania - madness, frenzy Sarx - flesh
Cheir - hand Nausea - seasickness Soma - body
Chole - bile Neuron - tendon, nerve Spasmos - spasm
Derma - skin Osteon - bone Splen - spleen
Gaster - belly Ophthalmos - eye Stoma - mouth
Haima - blood Pepsis - digestion Stomachos - stomach
Hepar - liver Pharmakon - drug Tracheia - windpipe
Hygieia - health Pharynx - throat Trauma - wound
Hymen - membrane Pleura -side, rib  
Kardia - heart Pneuma - air, breath  
Kephal - head Psyche - soul  

Greek Prefixes

a-, an-, privative or a negative conveying deficiency, lack or weakness of

  • a-pathy, lack of feeling
  • a-tom, indivisible
  • an-emia, lack of blood
  • an-esthesia, lack of sensation

amphi-, ampho-, on both sides, double

  • amphi-bious, living both on land and in water
  • amphi-theatre, a to see around
  • ampho-diplopia, double vision
  • ampho-phil, fond of both, a cell which stains with either acid or dyes

ana-, an-, up, upward, again

  • ana-lysis-dissolution, breaking up of chemical compounds
  • ana-mnesis, recollection, medical history
  • ana-tomy, cutting up, dissection
  • an-a-phylaxis-renewed loss of protection

anti-, against, opposed to, opposite of

  • anti-dote, against a given thing (poison)
  • anti-pyretic, against fever
  • anti-septic, against infection
  • ant-acid, against an acid, neutralize an acid

apo-off, away from

  • apo-physis, a growth away or projection from a bone
  • apo-plexy, a stroke away, a sudden stroke
  • apo-staxis, a trickling down, a slight hemorrhage
  • apo-thecary, a pharmacist

cata- down, downward

  • cata-menia, according to month, menses
  • cata-rrh, a flowing down, inflammation of the mucous membrane
  • cata-tonia, a downward tone, stupor
  • cat-hod, downward way, the return goal of an electron

dia- through, across, completely

  • dia-betes, a going through, syphon, syphon disease
  • dia-gnosis, knowing completely, determination of the nature of a disease
  • dia-rrhea, flowing through, fluid discharge
  • dia-thermy, heat going through, elevation of temperature by means of a current

dys- bad, difficult, defective

  • dys-entery, bad intestine
  • dys-pepsia, baddigestion
  • dys-pnea, difficult breathing
  • dys-trophy, bad nourishment

ec-, ex- out, out of, outward

  • ec-topic, out of place
  • ec-zema, a boiling out, an inflammation of the skin
  • ex-ophthalmos, eye bulging out
  • ex-ostosis, bone outside, a bony tumor

en-, em- in, within

  • en-cephalon, in the head, the brain
  • en-demic, in the people, present in a community
  • em-bolism, thrown in, a plugging of a vessel
  • em-bryo, grown in, fetus

hyper- over, above, excessive

  • hyper-emia, excessive blood
  • hyper-thyroidism, symptoms caused by excessive activity of the thyroid
  • hyper-tonic,excessive in tension
  • hyper-trophy, excessive nourishment, overgrowth

hypo- under, below, insufficient

  • hypo-chondriac-under the cartilage, an imaginary disease
  • hypo-dermic, under the skin
  • hypo-glyc-emia, low proportion of sugar in the blood
  • hypo-physis, a growth under the brain, pituitary body

meta- after, behind, beyond, change

  • meta-bolism, change in throwing, tissue change
  • meta-morphosis, change in form
  • meta-stasis, change in position
  • met-encephalon, after the brain, hindbrain

Par, para- near, alongside, apart from, abnormal

  • par-otid, beside the ear
  • para-noia, abnormal in mind
  • para-plegia, near stroke, paralysis of the extremities
  • par-esthesia, abnormal perception

peri- about, around, surrounding

  • peri-cardium, around the heart, membrane covering the heart
  • peri-osteum, around the bone, membrane covering the bone
  • peri-stalsis, contraction around, contraction of the intestines
  • peri-toneum- membrane) stretching around, lining of the abdominal cavity

poly-, many

pro- before, forward, in advance

  • pro-drome, running before, an early symptom
  • pro-geria, before old age, premature aging
  • pro-gnosis, knowing before, forecast
  • pro-phylaxis, advance protection

syn-, sym- with, together, union

  • syn-drome,running together, an aggregate of symptoms
  • sy-stole from syn-stole, contraction, the rhythmic contraction of the heart
  • sym-biosis, living together of two or more organisms
  • sym-ptom, a falling together, a sign

Greek Suffixes

-ia, -ie, denotes a pathological state or condition

  • agon -ia, state of contest, suffering
  • hyster -ia, a chronic neurosis formerly thought to be of uterine causation,
  • hystera , pertaining to the womb, the uterus
  • man -ia, state of madness
  • ophthalm -ia, condition of inflammation of the eye

-iasis, signifies a pathological state, condition, or its causation

  • lith -iasis, formation of calculi, lithos-stone
  • psor -iasis, a skin disease, psora-itch
  • trichin -iasis, a disease caused by trichinae infestation

-ikos, -icus, -ic, an adjectival termination

  • anesthet -ic, pertaining to anesthesia, a drug producing
  • epilept -ic, pertaining to epilepsy
  • hect -ic, irregularly feverish
  • patholog -ic pertaining to pathology

-ismos, -ismus, -ism, denotes a condition

  • embol -ism, the plugging of an artery or vein
  • hypnot -ism, a condition of artificially induced sleep, hypnos- sleep
  • metabol -ism, tissue change
  • rheumat -ism, rheumatic fever, rheuma-flux

-istis, -ist, signifies an agent or doer of the action indicated by the root

  • anatom -ist, one who cuts up
  • anesthet -ist, one who takes away sensation
  • orthodont -ist, one who straightens teeth
  • urolog -ist, one who treats urological disorders

-itis, originally the adjectival ending -itis used with nosos-disease;
It is now used alone and has acquired the significance of inflammatory disease:

  • appendic -itis
  • arthrit -is
  • bronch -itis
  • ot -itis

These meaning inflammation of the root name

-ize, -izein, a verbal suffix indicating treatment by means of a special instrument or drug

  • an -esthet -ize, to take away sensation
  • catheter -ize, to use a catheter
  • hypnot -ize, to put to sleep

-ma, -ema, -oma, designates a concrete pathological condition

  • ec -zema, a boiling out, inflammation of the skin
  • ex-anth-ema, a skin flower, a skin eruption

-oma words are numerous and refer to swelling or tumor and considered equivalent to tumor

  • carcin -oma, a cancerous tumor, a malignant growth
  • granul -oma, a tumor of granulation tissue
  • neur -oma, a tumor formed of nerve cells
  • sarc -oma, a fleshy thing, a fleshy tumor

-oid; originally -oeid, from eidos, form, appearance; denotes a resemblance to the object referenced in the main word

  • sphen -oid, sphen wedge shaped
  • typh -oid, like typhus fever
  • thyr -oid, the shield like gland, thyreos
  • xiph -oid, xiphos sword shaped

-sis, -osis,-iasis, abnormal condition or any physiological or pathological change, including secondary causes such as parasites...

  • trichin -osis or trichin-iasis
  • adip -osis, an excessive accumulation of fat
  • rhe -xis, from rheg-sis, a breaking, a rupture
  • sep -sis, a rotting, putrefaction
  • tubercul -osis, a pathogen invasion of tubercle bacilli

Chemical suffixes

-ase, asis, slime a colloid enzyme

  • amyl -ase, a starch splitting enzyme, amylon-starch
  • lip -ase, a fat splitting enzyme, lipos-fat

-ate, a salt base

  • phosph-ate, a salt of phosphoric acid
  • sulph-ate, a salt of sulphuric acid

-ide, a name for a binary compound with a non-metallic element

  • chlor -ide, a compound of chlorine with another element
  • sulph -ide, a compound of sulphur with a base

-in, a termination noting a glucoside

  • fibr-in, fibra-fiber
  • gelat-in, gelatum-congealed)
  • prote-in, protos-first

-ine, an ending used in the names of alkaloids

  • hero -ine, alkaloidal ester of morphine
  • morph -ine, alkaloid of opium

-ite, a suffix for a salt of an acid ending in -ous

  • phosph -ite, a salt of phosphorous acid
  • sulph -ite, a salt of sulphurous acid

Stems for compound words

anthrop-, anthropos, man

  • anthropo -genesis, origin of man
  • anthropo -metry, measurement of man

bio-, life

  • bio -logy the science of living organisms
  • bi -opsy, examination of tissue from a living organism

broncho-, bronchi, gullet

  • broncho-cele, windpipe tumor, goiter
  • broncho-pneumonia, inflammation of the bronchi

cardi-, cardio , heart

  • cardi -a-taxia, irregularity in the action of the heart
  • cardio -gram, recording of the movements of the heart

derma-, dermat- skin)

  • derma -graph, an instrument for writing on the skin
  • dermato -logy, study of the skin, logy, study of

entero-, enteron, intestine

  • enter-ectomy, resection of a segment of the intestine
  • entero-lith, an intestinal calculus

gastr-, gaster-, gastro-, stomach and intestines

  • gastro -enterology, the medical specialty dealing with diseases of the stomach and intestines
  • gastr -odynia, pain in the stomach

gynec-, gyne-, gynec-, female

  • gyneco -mastia, female breast in the male
  • gyneco -plastics, reparative surgery of the female organs

hem- , hemnat- , haima- , haimat-, blood

  • hemat -emesis, vomiting of blood
  • hemo -rrhage, bleeding

hepat-, hepar-, hepato-, liver

  • hepat -a-trophy, atrophy of the liver
  • hepato -melanosis, dark pigmentation of the liver

hydr-, hydor-, hydro-,water

  • hydro -cephalus, waterhead, a congenitaldeformation
  • hydro -gen, a gas which forms water when combined with oxygen
  • hydro -therapy, treatment by the use of water

hypno-, sleep

  • hypn -agogue, inducer of sleep
  • hypno -lepsy, uncontrollable sleepiness

hyster, hystera-, uterus

  • hyster -ectomy, excision of the uterus
  • hystero -ptosis, prolapse of the uterus

litho-, lithos-, stone

  • litho -nephria, stone in the kidney
  • litho -tomy, cutting for stone

morph-, morphe-, form

  • morpho -logy, the science of structure
  • morpho -genesis, the evolution of form

my-, mys-, myo-, muscle

  • my -asthenia, muscular weakness
  • myo -carditis, inflammation of the muscular wall of the heart

myel- myelo-, spinal cord; bone marrow

narc-, narke-, numbness, stupor

  • narco -lepsy, numbing seizure, petit mal
  • narco -mania, craving for narcotics.

nephro-, nephros-, kidney

  • nephro -py-osis, suppuration of the kidney
  • nephro -scler-osis, hardening of the kidney

neuro-, neuron, cord, tendon, nerve

  • neur -algia, nerve pain
  • neur -asthenia, nerve weakness

odont-, odys, tooth)

  • odonto -clasis, breaking of tooth
  • odont -orthrosis, straightening of teeth

ophthalmo-, ophthalmos-, eye

  • ophthalmo -gyric, causing eye movements
  • ophthalmo -scope, an instrument to view the eye

osteo-, osteon-, bone

  • osteo- malacia-softening of the bone
  • osteo- necrosis, killing, decay of the bone

ot-, ear

  • oto- myc-osis, a fungus-caused inflammation of the ear
  • oto- rrhea-, discharge from the ear

pod-, pus, foot

  • pod- agra, seizure in the foot, gout
  • pod- iatrist, foot practitioner

pyo-, pyon-, pus

  • pyo- genic, pus forming
  • pyo- periton-itis, suppurative inflammation of the peritoneum
  • pyr-, pyret-, fire, heat, inflammation
  • pyr- exia, an acute inflammation
  • pyreo- mania, an uncontrollable desire to set things on fire

sphygmo-, pulse

  • sphygmo- graph instrument to measure pulse.
  • sphygmo- mano-meter an instrument to measure blood pressure

zoo-, a living organism

  • zoo- logy, study of animals
  • zoo- parasite, an animal parasite

Initial words for compound adjectives

allo-, allos-, other, combining form

  • allo- cinesis, passive movement, reflex movement
    all- ergy, a clinical change in the capacity of the organism to react to an infection, hypersensitiveness

auto-, self

  • auto- matism, a condition in which movements are made without conscious thought
  • aut- opsy, seeing with one's own eyes, postmortem examination

brady-, slow

  • brady- cardia, abnormal slowness of the heart beat
  • brady- pnea, abnormal slowness of respiration

caco-, kakos-, bad

  • cac- hexia, bad habit, lack of nutrition, and wasting
  • cac- idrosis, morbid sweating

crypto-, secret, hidden,

  • crypto- genic, of hidden or obscure origin
  • crypt- orchid, hidden or undescended testis

ecto-, ektos-, outside

  • ecto- derm, outer side of the skin
  • ecto- plasm, moulded on the outer side, the outer side of the cytoplasm

erythro-, erythros-, red

  • erythro- cyte, red blood cells,
  • erythr- edema, red swelling

hemi-, one-half

  • hemi- atrophy, atrophy of one lateral half of a part or organ
  • hemi- plegia, half stroke, paralysis of one side of the body

hetero-, heteros-, other, different, opposite

  • hetero- plasty, surgical grafting with tissue derived from another individual
  • hetero- tonia, different, variable tension

homeo-, homoios-, similar

  • homeo- pathy-a special system of therapeutics
  • homeo- stasis, condition of bodily equilibrium; literally staying the same

homo-, homos-, the same

  • homo- lateral, on or relating to the same side
  • homo- sexual, having attraction for the same sex

idio-, idios-, one's own, private

  • idio- pathic, noting a primary disease, one originating without apparent extrinsic cause
  • idio- syncrasy, one's own mixing, peculiarities of a person

iso-, isos-, equal, like

  • iso-thermal, having the same temperature
  • iso-tonia-, tonic equality

leuco-, leukos-, white)

  • leuco- cyte, white blood cell
  • leuco- rrhea, white discharge

macro-, makros-, long, large

  • macro- cephalic, having a large head
  • macro- glossia, enlargement of the tongue

mega-, megal-, megas-, megal-, great, large

  • mega- colon, dilatation of the large intestine
  • megalo- mania, delusion of grandeur

melan-, melas-, black

  • melan- cholia, black bile, a depressed emotional state
  • melano- sarcoma, a deeply pigmented sarcoma

meso-, mesos-, middle

  • mes- encephalon, midbrain
  • mes- entery, middle intestine

micro-, mikros-, small

  • micro- be, mikros+bios, small living thing
  • micro- scope, a viewer of small things

mono-, monos-, alone, single

  • mono- nuclear, having a single nucleus
  • mono- plegia, paralysis of one limb

neo-, neos-, new, recent, young

  • neo- natal, relating to the period immediately succeeding birth
  • neo- plasm, new growth

oligo-, oligos-, little, few

  • oligo- phrenia, mental weakness, feeblemindedness
  • oligo- pnea, infrequent respiration

ortho-, orthos-, straight, correct

  • ortho- dontia, straightening of the teeth
  • ortho- pedics, correction of deformities

oxy-, oxys-, sharp, acid

  • oxy- gen, a gaseous element present in acids
  • oxy- lallia, rapid speech

paleo-, palaios-, ancient

  • paleo- genesis, hereditary transmission of peculiarities
  • paleo- pathology, study of diseases of the prehistoric times

pan-, pas-, all, entire

  • pan- creas, all flesh, the pancreas gland
  • pan- demic, a disease attacking all

polio-, polios-, grey

  • polio- encephalitis, inflammation of the grey matter of the brain
  • polio- myelitis, inflammation of the grey matter of the spinal cord

poly-, polys-, much, many

  • poly- pus, many feet
  • poly- uria, excessive urination

prota-, protos-, first

  • proto- plasm, first formed, living matter
  • proto- type, first form, primitive form

pseudo-, pseudes-, false, spurious

  • pseudo- cele, false cavity,the 5th ventricle of the brain
  • pseudo- cyesis, false pregnancy

tachy-, tachys-, fast

  • tachy- cardia, rapid heart rate;
  • tachy- pnea, rapid breathing

xantho-, xanthos-, yellow.

  • xantho- derm, yellow skin;
  • xanth- opsia, yellow vision

Prefixes and beginnings of adverb compounds

di-, dis-, twice

  • di- hydric, a chemical compound with two hydrogen atoms
  • di- morphism, with two forms

endo-, endon-, within

  • endo- crine, secretion within, internal secretion
  • endo- metrium, within the uterus, membrane lining the uterus

eu-, well, easy

  • eu- phoria, bearing oneself well, good health
  • eu- thanasia, easy death

exo-, outside, outward

  • exo- genous-, originating outside
  • exo- gnathion, outside jaw, maxilla

opisth-, opisthe-, behind

  • opisth- encephalon, brain behind, the cerebellum
  • opistho- tonos, stretching backward, a tetanic spasm

palin-, back, backward, again

  • palin- drome, a word or number that is the same forward and backward - dad
  • palin-dromia, a running back, a relapse
  • palin-esthesia, a return of sensation

tele- distant.

  • tele- pathy, minding reading from a distance.
  • tele-neuron, the distant neuron, end neuron

Second parts of compound nouns

-agogue, -agogos, leader

  • galact- agogue, an agent promoting the secretion of milk
  • hypn-agogue, inducer of sleep,
  • hypnotic

-agra, seizure

  • cardi- agra, heart seizure, angina pectoris
  • pod- agra, foot seizure, gout

-algia, -algos, pain

  • gastr- algia, stomach ache
  • neur- algia, nerve pain

-asthenia, -asthenes, weak

  • my- asthenia, muscular weakness
  • neur- asthenia, nerve weakness, nervous exhaustion

-cele, -kele, protrusion, tumor, hernia

  • hemato- cele, blood cyst
  • hydro- cele, water hernia

-centesis, surgical puncture

-cinesia, -kinesis, movement

  • cardio- cinesia, movement, action of the heart
  • entero- cinesia, movement of the intestine, peristalsis

-clasia, -clasis, breaking

  • arthro- clasia, breaking of a joint, breaking up of adhesions
  • hemo- clasis, breaking up of the red blood cells

-cyte, -kytos, cell.

  • erythro- cyte, red blood cell; lympho-cyte, lymph cell

-ectomy, remove with surgery.

  • hyster- ectomy; removal of the uterus
  • thyroid- ectomy removal of the thyroid

-ectopia, ek+topos= out of place

  • nephr- ectopia, abnormal movement of the kidney
  • splen- ectopia, abnormal movement of the spleen

-emia, -haima, blood

  • an- emia, lack of blood
  • ur- emia, an excess of urea in the blood

-esthesia, -aisthesis, feeling, sensibility

  • an- esthesia, lack of feeling
  • par- esthesia, an abnormal spontaneous sensation, like itching

-genesis, -geny, generation, origin

  • patho- genesis, the origin or development of a disease
  • spermato- genesis, production of spermatozoa
  • onto- geny, the development of the individual

-gram, -gramma, writing, drawing

  • cardio- gram, the record of the movement of the heart
  • encephalo- gram, a roentgenogram of the brain

-graph, -graphy, graphein = to write

  • dermo- graph, an instrument for marking or writing on the skin
  • ventriculo- graphy, radiography of the cerebral ventricles

-lith, lithos = stone, calculus

  • entero- lith, an intestinal calculus
  • hemato- lith, a concretion in the wall of a blood vessel

-logia, -logie, -logy, logos = word, discourse, treatise

  • physio- logy, the science which deals with life processes
  • uro- logy, the specialty dealing with the diseases of the urinary organs

-lysis, dissolution, loosening, breaking down

  • hemo- lysis, destruction of the red blood cells
  • para- lysis, loss of voluntary movement in a muscle

-malacia, malakia = softening

  • myo- malacia, softening of muscular tissues
  • osteo- malacia, softening of the bones

-mania, madness, uncontrollable impulse.

  • klepto- mania, a pathological impulse to steal;
  • megalo- mania, delusion of grandeur

-megalia, -megaly, megas and megal = large

  • acro- megalia or acromegaly, enlargement of the extremities
  • spleno- megalia, enlargement of the spleen

-meter, metron and metrum = measure, an instrument for measuring

  • pulsi- meter, instrument to measure the pulse
  • thermo- meter, instrument to measure heat

-odynia, odyne = pain

  • acr-odynia, pain in the extremities
  • ot-odynia, pain in the ear

-opia, ops = vision

  • ambly- opia, dimness of vision, amblys = dull
  • my- opia, winking vision, shortsightedness, myein = to wink

-pathy, pathos = suffering

  • adeno- pathy, glandular disease
  • psycho- pathy, a disorder of the mind, insanity

-philia, philein = to like

  • hemo- philia, liking of blood, a disorder marked with hemorrhages

-phobia, phobos = fear

  • claustro- phobia, a morbid fear of being in any closed place
  • hydro- phobia, fear of water, rabies

-plasty, plassein = to form as a plastic surgeon

  • entero- plasty, plastic surgery of the intestines
  • rhino- plasty, plastic surgery of the nose, rhis, rhin = nose

-rrhea, rrhoia = flow

  • gono- rrhea, a discharge caused by gonococcus infection
  • leuco- rrhea, white discharge

-sclerosis, hardening, induration

  • arterio- sclerosis, hardening of the arteries
  • arthro- sclerosis, stiffness of the joint

-scope, -scopy, skopein = to view

  • cysto- scope, an instrument to view the bladder, kystis-bladder
  • ophthalmo- scope, an instrument to view the fundus of the eye

-spasm, spasmos = convulsion, cramp

  • entero- spasm, intestinal colic
  • pyloro- spasm, painful contraction of the pylorus

-stasis, stoppage, checking

  • hemo- stasis, arrest of bleeding
  • homeo- stasis, standing still, bodily equilibrium

-staxis, dripping, oozing, slow hemorrhage

  • entero- staxis, bleeding from the intestines
  • epi- staxis, nose bleed

-stenosis, narrowing

  • cardio- stenosis, narrowing of the heart
  • entero- stenosis, narrowing of the intestines

-stomy, stoma-mouth

  • colo- stomy, forming an opening into the colon
  • cysto- stomy, forming an opening into the bladder

-therapy, therapeia = treatment

  • hydro- therapy, treatment by water
  • physio- therapy, treatment by natural means (air, water, massage)

-tomy, tome = incision

  • laparo- tomy, incision into the loin, lapara = loin
  • lobo- tomy, operation on the frontal lobe

-trophy, troph = to nourish

  • a- trophy, lack of nourishment, wasting of the tissues of the body
  • hyper- trophy, excessive nourishment, overgrowth

-uria, urein = urinate

  • hemat- uria, blood in the urine
  • py- uria, pus in the urine

Latin words, prefixes, suffixes

Latin words in medicine

anus - ring ilium - flank ruga - wrinkle
aqua - water labium - lip saliva - spittle
bacillus - little rod latius - side scrotum - pouch
bucca - cheek, cake lens - lentil sella - chair
cancer - crab ligamentum - binding semen - seed
caput - head lingua - tongue spina - thorn
caries - decay lues - plague stimulus - goad
cella - chamber lupus - wolf succus - juice
cerebrum - brain Manus - hand sudor - sweat
cervix - neck Meatus - opening tabes - wasting
cor - heart Mens - mind talus - ankle
corpus - body Mensis - month tergum - back
cortex - bark Morbus - disease tonsilla - pointed
cutis - skin Nodus - knot tunica - garment
dens - tooth oculus - eye tussis - cough
facies - face os - mouth ulcus - ulcer
fascia - land ovum - egg, pan uterus - womb
febris - fever patella - shallow vagina - sheath
femur - thigh bone pectus - chest valva - valve
fetus - embryo pelvis - basin vas - vessel
foramen - perforation placenta - flat, pole vena - vein
fornix - arch pons - bridge venter - belly
fossa - ditch pulmo - lung vermis - worm
frons - forehead pupilla - little vesica - bladder
fundus - base, bottom, furrow, girl ren - kidney virus - poison
glans - gland retina - net vivo -in the living body(plant, animal)
hernia - rupture    


When prefixes are added to a stem, letters can be changed. Often the final consonant of a Latin prefix change match the letter that follows.


  • ad-cept - ac-cept
  • ad-ferens - af-ferens
  • ad-sume - as-sume
  • con-lapse - col-lapse
  • con-lateral - col-lateral
  • ob-ciput - oc-ciput
  • ob-press - op-press,

Latin prefixes

a-, ab-, abs, away from, off

  • a-vulsion, tearing away
  • ab-ductor, leading away
  • ab-oral, away from the mouth
  • abs-tract, a condensation

ad-, to, toward

  • ad-hesion, sticking to
  • ad-renal, near the kidney, adrenal gland
  • ac-cretion, accumulation
  • ap-pendix, hanging upon

ambi-, ambo-, both, on both sides

  • ambi- dextrous, able to use both hands
  • ambi- valent, having power in both directions
  • ambo- ceptor, accepting both, a substance in the blood
  • ambo- sexual, bisexual, affecting both sexes

ante-, before, in time or space, in front of, forward

  • ante- cubital, before the elbow
  • ante- flexion, bending forward
  • ante- natal, before birth
  • ante- version, tipping forward

bi-, bis-, twice, double

  • bi- carbonate, a salt having two elements of carbonic acid
  • bi- cuspid, having two points
  • bi- lateral, pertaining to both sides
  • bis- axillary, pertaining to both armpits = axilla

circum-, around, about

  • circum- cision, cutting around
  • circum- flex, bent around
  • circum- ocular, around the eye
  • circum- oral, around the mouth

co-, con-, cum = with, together

  • co- agulation, changing into a clot
  • con- cussion, a violent shock
  • col- lapse, extreme prostration
  • com- press, pressed together, a compressed pad

contra-, against, opposed

  • contra- ception, against conception
  • contra- indication, rendering a particular treatment undesirable
  • contra- stimulant, opposing stimulation
  • contra- toxin, against toxin

de-, down, downward, sometimes aprivative

  • de- ciduous, not permanent, temporary
  • de- composition, decay, putrefaction
  • de- mentia, without mind, mental deterioriation
  • de- odorant, taking odor away

di-, dis-, an inseparable preposition denoting sundering, apart, sometimes negative

  • di- gestion, carrying food away
  • dis- infectant, freeing from infection, an agent that disinfects
  • dis- location, displacement of a bone
  • dis- sect, cut apart, cut up

e-, ec-, ex-, out, out of, off, removal

  • e- jection, act of throwing out
  • e- nucleate-to remove whole
  • ex- tract, something drawn out
  • ex- udate, from ec+sudate, sweat out, sweat

extra-, extro-, outside of, outer side

  • extra- cellular, outside the cell
  • extra- cranial, outside the skull
  • extra- vasation, a discharge of blood from a vessel into the tissues
  • extro- vert, a person whose interest is turned outward

in-, im-, in-, into, inside

  • in- cision, cutting in, a cut
  • in- cubation, lying in, the latent stage of an infectious disease
  • im- mersion, placing a body under water
  • im- pacted, pressed closely together, immovable

in-, im-, ir, not, a negation

  • in- curable, not curable
  • in- sane, without mind, of unsound mind
  • im- maculate, without a spot
  • ir- reducible, not reducible, incapable of being made smaller

infra-, below, beneath, downward, lower

  • infra- inguinal, below the groin
  • infra- maxillary, below the maxilla
  • infra- orbital, below the orbit, eye socket
  • infra- red, beyond the red end of the spectrum

inter-, between

  • inter- cellular, between cells
  • inter- digital, between the fingers or toes
  • inter- mittent, marked by intervals
  • inter- vertebral, situated between two vertebrae

intra-, within, inside of

  • intra- cellular, within the cell
  • intra- rectal, within the rectum
  • intra- uterine, within the uterus
  • intra- venous, in, into, within a vein

intro-, into, inward, within

  • intro- duction, leading into
  • intro- flexion, bending inward
  • intro- mission, insertion
  • intro- vert, turned within, a person given to introspection

juxta-, beside, near

  • juxta- articular, situated near a joint
  • juxta- position, an adjacent position
  • juxta- spinal, close to the spinal column

ob-, in front of, against, near, space or time

  • ob- literation, complete removal
  • ob- stetrics, to stand in front of a woman, midwifery
  • ob- struction, the act of blocking or clogging
  • oc- clusion from ob-clusion, the act of closure or state of being closed

per-, through, thorough, excessive, very

  • per- cutaneous, through the skin, cutis
  • per- forate, to pierce, bone through
  • per- meable, permitting the passage through
  • per- oxide, the oxide that contains the greatest number of oxygen' atoms

post-, behind, following, after, time or space, posterior

  • post- encephalitis, following or a sequel of encephalitis
  • post- febrile, after fever, febris
  • post- ocular, behind the eye
  • post- partum, after birth

prae-, pre-, before, in time or space, in front of, anterior

  • pre- frontal, the anterior portion of the frontal lobe
  • pre- gnancy, before birth, gestation
  • pre- mature, unripe, undeveloped, occurring before the appointed time
  • pre- oral, in front of the mouth

pro-, before, in front of, forward

  • pro- cess, an advance or progress
  • pro- ductive, leading forward, capable of producing
  • pro- lapse, to fall, sink forward
  • pro- sector, one who prosects, demonstrator of anatomy

re-, red-, before a vowel, back, again

  • re- current, running back, returned
  • re- duce, lead back, replace
  • re- flex, bent back, reacting, reaction
  • red- integration, renewal, restoration of lost or injured parts

retro-, back, backward, behind

  • retro- flexion-bending backward
  • retro- grade, going backward, moving backward
  • retro- nasal, posterior nasal
  • retro- version, turning backward

se-, an inseparable prefix meaning apart, sundering

  • se- cretion, separation, of various substances from the blood
  • se- gregation, removal of certain parts from a mass
  • se- junction, breaking of continuity

sub-, sup-, under, in position or degree, beneath, downward, nearly

  • sub- acute, not definitely acute
  • sub- cutaneous, under the skin
  • sub- liminal, below the threshold, of sensation,
  • sup- puration, from sub-puration, the formation of pus

super-, above, in position or degree, over, upper part, extreme

  • super- acute, excessively sharp or acute
  • super- ciliary, above the eyebrow
  • super- numerary, in excess of the regular or normal number
  • super- tension, extreme tension

supra-, above, upon, over, upper

  • supra- costal, above the rib, costa
  • supra- pubic, above the pubic arch
  • supra- renal, above the kidney, ren
  • supra- sternal, above the breast, sternum

trans-, across, through, beyond

  • trans- ference, carry across, displacement of symptoms or effect
  • trans- fusion, pouring across, transfer of blood
  • trans- plantation, grafting of tissues
  • trans- urethral, through the urethra

ultra-, beyond, in excess

  • ultra- filtration, extra fine filtration
  • ultra- ligation, ligation of a vessel beyond the origin of a branch
  • ultra- violet, rays beyond the violet end of the spectrum
  • ultra- virus, extra virus, filtrable virus


-ago, -igo, to drive, gives an idea of activity

  • lumb- ago, rheumatism of the lumbar region, lumbus-loin
  • prur- igo, itch, prurire = to itch
  • vert- igo, dizziness, giddiness, vertere = to turn around

-alis, -al, an adjectival termination

  • cruci- al, decisive, crux=cross
  • digit- al, relating or resembling a digit
  • dors- al, relating to the back, dorsum
  • or- al, relating to the mouth

-culum, -cle, small, diminutive

  • corpus- cle, little body
  • folli- cle, little bag, follis
  • ventri- cle, little belly, ventricle, venter
  • vesi- cle, little bladder, vesica

-or, denotes a state or an agent

  • don- or, giver, donare = to give
  • levat- or, one that lifts, levare = to lift
  • rub- or, redness, ruber = red
  • tum- or, swelling, tumescere=to swell

-orium, -terion, designates a place

  • sanat- orium, place for treatment, sanare=to heal
  • sens- orium, the seat of sensation, sensus=sense
  • tent- orium, an anatomical part resembling a tent or covering

-osus, -ous, -ose, suffix used on adjectives

  • aque- ous, watery, aqua
    adip- ose, fatty, adip=fat)
    pil- ose, hairy, pilus=hair
    rug- ose, wrinkled, ruga=wrinkle

-tas, -ty, denotes an abstract quality or idea

  • acidi- ty, the state of being acid
  • immuni- ty, a state resistant to disease, immunis=free from service
  • in-sani- ty, unsoundness of mind, insanus
  • senili- ty, old age, senex-old

-tio, -tion, signifies an action or function

  • bi-furca- tion, a forking, division into branches, furca-fork
  • in-flamma- tion, a morbid change in the tissues, flamma=flame
  • palpa- tion, an examination by the hands, palpare=to feel

Compounds in Latin

ilio-, ilium, flank

  • ilio- costal, relating to the ilium and ribs, costa
  • ilio- femoral, relating to the ilium and thigh bone, femur
  • ilio- lumbar, relating to the iliac and lumbar region, lumbus=loin
  • ilio- sacral, relating to the ilium and sacrum

latero-, -latus, later, side

  • latero- abdominal, pertaining to the side and abdomen
  • latero- flexion, a bending or curvature to one side, flectere=to bend
  • latero- torsion, twisting to one side, torquere=to twist
  • latero- version, turning to one side, vertere=to turn

Initial words for adjective compounds

albo-, albus =white

  • albo- cinereous, ashen white, cinus, (ciner=ash)
  • albo- ferrin, a light brown powder with an iron compound, ferrum
  • albu- lactin, trade name of a soluble lactalbumin, lac-milk

anter-, anterior =before, in front of

  • antero- grade, moving forward, gradior=to step
  • antero- lateral, in front and to the side, latus
  • antero- posterior, relating to both front and rear.

dextro-, dexter, dextr, right

  • dextro- ocular, right eyed, oculus
  • dextro- manual, right handed, manus
  • dextro- pedal, right footed, pes & ped

mal-, malus =bad, evil

  • mal- adjustment, poor adjustment
  • mal- aria, bad air, aria
  • mal- formation, congenital deformity
  • mal- practice, mistreatment of a disease

medio-, medius =middle

  • medio- carpal, relating to the central part of the wrist, carpus
  • medio- lateral, relating to the middle and one side
  • medio- tarsal, relating to the middle of the instep tarsus

multi-, multus =many

  • multi- form, occurring in many forms
  • multi- gravida, a woman who has been pregnant many times
  • multi- lobar, having several lobes
  • multi- nuclear, having two or more nuclei

pluri-, plus, plur, more

  • pluri- glandular, noting several glands or their secretion
  • pluri- gravida, a synonym for multi-gravida
  • pluri- para, a woman who has given birth to three or more children.

primi-, primus =first

  • primi- para, a woman giving birth the first time
  • prim- ordial, primitive, ordire=to begin

postero- posterior =behind

  • postero- lateral, behind and to one side
  • postero- parietal, relating to the posterior portion of the parietal lobe

semi-, half, in part, somewhat

  1. semi- comatose-in a condition of mild coma
  2. semi- flexion, midway between extension and flexion
  3. semi- lunar, half-moon shaped, luna
  4. semi- luxation, a partial dislocation, luxatio

sesqui-, one and a half, one-half more

  • sesqui- basic, a salt with 3 equivalents of the acid for 2 of the base
  • sesqui- hora, an hour and a half

sinistro-, sinister, sinistr, left

  • sinistro-cerebral, relating to the left cerebral hemisphere
  • sinistro-lateral, relating to the left side
  • sinistro-torsion, turning or twisting to the left

uni-, unus =one

  • uni-axial, having one axis
  • uni-lateral, having one side, confined to one side only
  • uni-nuclear, having one nucleus

Nouns in the second part of a compound

-form, forma =shape, form indicating a resemblance to the stem

  • cunei- form, wedge shaped, cuneus
  • funi- form, rope like, funis
  • fusi- form, spindle shaped, fusus

-fuge, fugare, to expel, drive away

  • centri- fuge, an apparatus driving particles to the center
  • febri- fuge, reducing fever, febris
  • vermi- fuge, an agent causing expulsion of intestinal worms, vermis

Words with a mixture of Greek and Latin

Greek - Latin

Latin - Greek

Multiple combinations of G & L


Source: An Introduction to Medical Terminology. by George L. Banay

Additional source


Dr. Robert Sweetland's notes
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