Appendix:Medical prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms

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This glossary shows medical prefixes, suffixes, and combining forms.

Contents: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z


Prefix/Suffix Meaning
a-, an- not, without, less
ab away from
–ac pertaining to
acous/acouso- hearing
acr/acro- extremity, topmost
–acusis hearing condition
–ad toward, in the direction of
ad- increase, adherence, motion toward, very
aden/adeno- gland
adip/adipo- fat
adren/adreno- gland
–aemia (UK) blood condition
aer/aero- air, gas
aesthesio- (UK) sensation
–al pertaining to
alge/algesi- pain
–algia pain
algio/algo- pain
ambi- around, on all sides, both
an- not, without
an/o anus
angi- blood vessel
ankyl/ankylo- crooked, stiff
ante- before
anti- against, opposed to
apo- separated from, derived from
arteri/arterio- artery
arthr/arthro- joint, articulation
articul/articulo- joint
–ary pertaining to
–ase enzyme
–asthenia weakness
–ation process
auri- ears (aural)
aut/auto- self, same


bacteri/bacterio- bacteria
bi- twice, double
bio- life
blast/blasto- germ or bud, baby/embryo
bleph/blepharo- eyelid
brachi/brachio- arm
brady- slow
bronch/bronchi- bronchus
bucc/bucco- cheek
burs/burso- bursa


carcin/carcino- cancer
cardi/cardio- heart, esophageal opening of stomach
cata- down
–cele pouching, hernia
–centesis surgical puncture for aspiration
cephal/cephalo- head
chem/chemo- chemistry, drug
chlor/chloro- green
chol- bile
chondrio/chondro- cartilage, gristle, granule, granular
chrom/chromato- color
–cidal/cide killing, destroying
circum- around
cis- on this side
co- with, together, in association
col/colo/colono- colon
com- with, together
contra against
cor- with, together
costo ribs
crani/cranio- cranium, skull
cry/cryo- cold
cycl- circle, cycle
cyst/cysti/cysto- bladder or sac
cyt/cyto- cell
–cyte cell


dacrio- tear
dactyl/dactylo- digit (finger or toe)
de- away from, cessation
derm/dermis/dermato- skin
–desis binding
dextr/dextro- right, on the right side
di- separation, two
dif- separation
diplo- double
dis- separation, taking apart
duodeno- duodenum
dynamo- force, energy
–dynia pain
dys- bad, difficult


–eal pertaining to
ec- out, away
ect- outer, outside
–ectasis expansion, dilation
ecto- outer, outside
–ectomy excision, removal
edopotra- stiff
–emesis vomit
–emia (US)blood condition
–encephal/encephalo- brain
endo- internal
enter/entero- small intestine
epi- upon
erythr/erythro- red
–esophageal/esophago- (US) gullet
esthesio- (US)sensation
eu- good, well
ex- out of, away from
exo- exterior, outward
extra- outside


fibr/fibro- fiber
–form in the form or shape of


–galact/galacto- milk
gastr/gastro- stomach
–gen origin or production
geo- earth
gloss/glosso- tongue
glott/glotto- variant form of gloss/glosso-, language
gluco- glucose
glyc/glyco- sugar
gnath/gnatho- jaw
–gram recording
–graph recording instrument
–graphy process of recording
woman, also:


haem/haema/haemat/haemato/haemo– blood (BrE)
hem/hema/hemat/hemato- (US) blood
hemi- one-half
hemo- (US) blood
hepat/hepatico/hepato- liver
hidr/hidro- sweat
hist/histio/histo- tissue
hydr/hydro- water
hyper- above normal, excessive
hypo- below normal, deficient
hyster/hystero- uterus


–ia/iasis condition
–iatrics treatment
iatr/iatro- treatment, physician
–iatry treatment
–ic pertaining to
–icle small
–ics organized knowledge, treatment
idio- self, one's own
ileo- ileum
infra- below
inter- between, among
intra- within
irid/irido- iris
ischi/ischio- ischium
–ism condition, disease
–ismus spasm, contraction
is/iso- equal, like
–ist one who specializes in
–ite the nature of, resembling
–itis inflammation
–ium structure, tissue


karyo- nucleus
kerat/kerato- cornea (eye or skin)
kin/kine/kinesi/kinesio- movement
kino- movement
kyph/kypho- humped


lacrim/lacrimo- tear
lact/lacti/lacto- milk
laryng/laryngo- larynx
latero- lateral
lei/leio- smooth
–lepsis/lepsy seizure
lepto- light, slender
leuk/leuko- white
linguo- tongue
lip/lipo- fat
lith/litho- stone, calculus
log- speech
–logist one who specializes in study or treatment of
logo- speech
–logy study of
lymph/lympho- lymph
lys-/lyso- dissolution
–lytic dissolution


macr/macro- large, long
–malacia softening
mal- bad
mast/masto- breast
meg/mega- large
megal/megalo- large
–megaly large
melan/melano- black
mening/meningo- meninges
mes/meso- middle
meta- after, behind
–meter instrument for measuring
–metry process of measuring
micr/micro- smallness, one-millionth
mon/mono- single
morph/morpho- form, shape
muscul/musculo- muscle
my/myo- muscle
myc/myco- fungus
myel/myelo- bone marrow, spinal cord
myring/myringo- eardrum
myx/myxo- mucus


necr/necro- death
neo- new
nephr/nephro- kidney
neur/neuri/neuro- nerve
normo- normal


oculo- eye
odont/odonto- tooth
odyn/odyno- pain
–oesophageal/oesophago- (UK) gullet
–oid resemblance to
olig/oligo- few, little
–oma tumor
–omata plural of -oma
onco- tumor, bulk, volume
onych/onycho- fingernail, toenail
oo-/ovo-/ovulo- egg, ovary
oophor/oophoro- ovary
ophthalm/ophthalmo- eye
orchi/orchido/orchio- testis
orth/ortho- straight, normal, correct
–osis a condition,disease or increase
osseo- bony
ossi- bone
ost/oste/osteo- bone
ot/oto- ear
–ous pertaining to
ovari/ovario/ovi/ovo- ovary
oxo- addition of oxygen
oxy- sharp, acid, acute, oxygen


pachy- thick
pan/pant/panto- all, entire
para- alongside of, abnormal
–paresis slight paralysis
path/patho- disease
–pathy disease
pelv/pelvi/pelvo- hip bone
–penia deficiency
per- through
peri- around, about
–pexy fixation
phaco- lens-shaped
–phage/phagia eating, devouring
phago- eating, devouring
–phagy eating, devouring
pharmaco- drug, medicine
pharyng/pharyngo- pharynx
–phil/philia attraction for
phleb/phlebo- vein
phob/phobo- exaggerated fear, sensitivity
phon/phono- sound
phos- light
phot/photo- light
phren/phreni- diaphragm
phrenico/phreno- diaphragm
–plasia formation, development
plasty surgical repair, reconstruction
–plegia paralysis
pleur/pleura/pleuro- rib, pleura
pneum/pneuma- air, lung
pneumat/pneumato- air, lung
pod/podo- foot
–poiesis production
poly- multiplicity
por/poro- pore, pourous
post- after, behind, posterior
pre- anterior, before
presby/presbyo- old age
pro- before, forward
proct/procto- anus, rectum
psych/psyche/psycho- mind
–ptosis falling, downward placement
pyel/pyelo- pelvis
pyo- pus
pyro- fever


quadr/quadri- four


rachi/rachio spine
radio- radiation, radius
re- again, backward
rect/recto- rectum
ren/reno- kidney
reticul/reticulo- net
retro- backward, behind
rhabd/rhabdo- rod shaped, striated
rhin/rhino- nose
–rrhage burst forth
–rrhagia discharge
–rrhaphy surgical suturing
–rrhea flowing, discharge
–rrhexis rupture


salping/salpingo- tube
sarco- muscular, fleshlike, meatlike
schisto- split, cleft
schiz/schizo- split, cleft, division
scler/sclero- hardness
scoli/scolio- twisted
–scope instrument for viewing
–scopy use of instrument for viewing
semi- one-half, partly
sial/sialo- saliva, salivary gland
sigmoid/sigmoido- sigmoid, sigmoid colon
sinistr/sinistro- left, left side
–sis condition of
sito- food, grain
somat- somatico- somato- body, bodily
spasmo- spasm
sperma- spermato- spermo- semen, spermatozoa
splanchn- splanchni- splanchno- viscera
splen/spleno- spleen
spondyl/spondylo- vertebra
–stasis stop, stand
–staxis dripping, trickling
steno- narrowness, constriction
stheno- strength, force, power
stom/stoma- mouth
stomat/stomato- mouth
–stomy creation of opening
sub- beneath
super- in excess, above, superior
supra- above, excessive
sy/syl- together
sym- together
syn- together
sys- together


tachy- fast
–tension/–tensive pressure (of blood)
thel/thelo- nipples
therm/thermo- heat
thorac/thoracico/thoraco- chest, thorax
thromb/thrombo- blood clot
thyr/thyro- thyroid gland
–tic pertaining to
toco- childbirth
–tome cutting instrument
–tomy cutting operation
tono- tone, tension, pressure
–tony tension
top/topo- place, topical
tox/toxi/toxico/toxo- toxin, poison
trache/tracheo- trachea
trans- across, through, beyond
trich/trichi/trichia/tricho- hair, hairlike structure
–tripsy crushing
–trophy growth
tympan/tympano- eardrum


–ula/ule small
ultra- beyond, excessive
uni- one
uri/uric/urico- uric acid
ur/uro- urine


varic/varico- vein
vas-/vaso- duct, blood vessel
vasculo- blood vessel
vesic/vesico- vesicle
viscer- organ


xanth/xantho- yellow, yellowish
xer-/xero- dryness


–y condition or process of


-z- sleep
zo/zoo- animal, animal life
zym/zymo- fermentation, enzyme