TERMINOLOGY





Anatomical and medical terms are formed from four basic components. The four parts are:

WORD ROOT: Foundation word enCEPHALogram

PREFIX: Word beginning ENcephalogram

SUFFIX: Word ending encephaloGRAM

COMBINING VOWEL: Vowel which links two roots or a root to a suffix - usually "O"

encephalOgram



By learning common prefixes, suffixes and Greek and Latin word roots, most anatomical and medical terms may be analyzed correctly. The following are lists of those most common components which may be encountered. As in the study of any foreign language, practice and vocabulary building are essential.



Common Prefixes used in Anatomy

Prefix

Etymology

Meaning

Example

a-, an- Gk lack of, apart from anemia, agnosia
ab- L away from abduct, abort
ad- L toward, near adductor, adrenal
amphi-

ampho-

Gk around, on both sides, in two ways amphiarthrosis
ante- L before, in front of anterior, anteflex
anti- Gk against antibody, antidiuretic
bi- L two, twice biaxial, bipolar
circum- L around, surrounding circumduct, circumflex
com-, con- L together, with commissure, concentric
contra- L against, opposite contralateral, contraception
de- L away from decussation, decidua
di- Gk twice, two digastric, diploid
dia- Gk through, across, between, completely diapedesis, diaphysis, diencephalon
dis- Gk away from, apart, undo dissect, disarticulate
e-, ec-, ex-, exo- L out, away from exhale, excretion, evert
ecto- Gk outside ectoderm, ectopic
em-, en- Gk in, into, on, within embolus, endoderm
epi- Gk upon, outside epidermis, epigastric
hyper- Gk excessive hypertrophy, hyperplasia
hypo- Gk below, deficiency hypogastric, hypoglossal
im-, in- L not, into immature, incisor
infra- L below infraorbital, infracostal





Common Prefixes used in Anatomy



Prefix

Etymology

Meaning

Example

inter- L between, together interosseous, intercostal
intra- L within intravascular, intracellular
meta- Gk beyond, after metacarpal, metastasis
para- Gk beside, near, beyond parasagittal, parallel
peri- Gk around perineum, pericardium
post- L behind, after in time posterior, postsurgical
pre-, pro- L before in time, in front of prophase, precursor
retro- L backward, behind retroperitoneal, retrograde
sub- L under, below sublingual, subscapular
super-, supra- L above, excessive supercilliary, supraclavicular
sym-, syn- Gk together with symphysis, synostosis
trans- L through, across, between, completely transverse, transplant



Common Suffixes used in Anatomy

Suffix

Etymology

Meaning

Example

-ac, -al Gk pertaining to cardiac, neural
-algia Gk pain neuralgia
-blast Gk sprout leukoblast
-cyte Gk cell histiocyte
-ectomy Gk surgical removal splenectomy
-emia Gk blood condition anemia
-gram, -graph Gk record, instrument to record electrocardiogram,

electrocardiograph

-ia, -ity Gk, L condition precordia, acidity
-ible, -ile, -able L ability flexible, labile
-ist, -or, -er Gk, L specialist anatomist, dissector
-itis Gk inflammation arthritis
-logy Gk study biology
-oid, -form Gk resemblance ovoid, fusiform
-olus, -cle, -cule,

-ellum

L small embolus, follicle, molecule, cerebellum
-oma Gk tumor glioma
-opsy Gk view biopsy
-ous L full of, composed of cancellous
-scope Gk instrument to view microscope
-sis Gk condition metastasis
-tome Gk instrument to cut microtome
-tomy Gk process of cutting laparotomy
-y, -sia, -tion L process therapy, amnesia, dilation



Singular and Plural Word Endings

Singular

Plural

Etymology

Example

-a -ae L vertebra, vertebrae
-ax -aces Gr thorax, thoraces
-en -ina L foramen, foramina
-ex, -ix -ices Gr cortex, cortices; fornix, fornices
-is -es Gr metastasis, metastases
-ma -mata L stoma, stomata
-on -a L ganglion, ganglia
-um -a L bacterium, bacteria
-us -I L glomerulus, glomeruli
-us -or, era L corpus, corpora;
-x -gas G meninx, meninges