Medical Terminology: Discussion, Morphology, Components, Words and Examples

All science or human knowledge branches need to create terminology adjusted to their communication and expression needs.

Medical terminology often uses words created using prefixes and suffixes in Latin and ancient Greek. Its meanings and etymology are informed by the language of origin in medicine.

The prefixes and suffixes, mainly in Greek and Latin, have a dro-o-.

The medical roots generally agree with the language; the Greek prefixes go with Greek suffixes and the Latin prefixes with Latin suffixes. Although it is technically acceptable to create hybrid words, it is preferable not to mix different lingual roots.

Prefix: A prefix is ​​placed at the beginning of a word to modify or change its meaning. Pre means “before.” The prefixes can also indicate a location, number, or time.

Root: central part of a word.

Suffix: the final part of a word that modifies the meaning. Example: homeless Root = home, and the suffix is ​​’without.’ It can also refer to a condition, disease, disorder, or procedure.


Examples of well-accepted medical words that mix lingual roots are neonatology and quadriplegia.

Medical terminology is a language used to accurately describe the human body, including its components, processes, conditions that affect it, and the procedures performed in it.

Medical terminology is used in the field of medicine.

Notable aspects of medical terminology include Greek and Latin terms and regular morphology, with the same suffixes and prefixes used consistently for a particular meaning.

This regular morphology means that once you learn a reasonable number of morphemes, it is easy to understand exact terms assembled from these morphemes. Much of the medical language is anatomical terminology, which refers to the names of various body parts.

Discussion of Medical Terminology

To form our understanding of a word root, you need a basic understanding of the terms and the language of origin. The study of the head of words is called etymology.

For example, if a word was formed to indicate a condition of the kidneys, there are two primary roots: one from Greek (νεφρός nephron [os]) and another from Latin (ren [es]).

Kidney failure is a condition of the kidneys, and nephritis is also a condition, or inflammation, of the kidneys. The suffix -itis means inflammation, and the whole word conveys the meaning of kidney inflammation.

To continue using these terms, other combinations will be presented. For example, The time “adrenal is a combination of the prefix supra- (meaning” above “) and the Root of the word for the kidney, and the complete word means “Located above the kidneys.”

The word “nephrologist” combines the Root of the term kidney with the medical suffix with the resulting meaning of “someone who studies the kidneys.”

In medical terminology, the word root is not usually the only word in a sentence. This is different from most of the roots of words in modern standard English.

The Root of the medical word is taken from a different source language, so it will not make sense as an independent term in a sentence in English. A suffix or prefix must be added to make medical time usable.

For example, “concerning the heart” is “cardiac,” from the Greek kardia. If a person suffers from a heart-related disease, the statement “The patient suffered a cardiac event” would not make sense.

However, with the addition of a -ac suffix, the statement would be modified to read: “The patient suffered a cardiac event,” which is an acceptable medical terminology.

The process is different in standard English because the word’s roots can be alone in a sentence. For example, the word eye is a root word in English that can be used without modification in a sentence.

An additional challenge for the medical terminology student is that the plural of a word must be formed using the rules of the plural form proper used in the language of origin.

This is more difficult than in English, where adding -so is the rule. Both Greek and Latin have different laws that will apply when the plural form of the root word is formed. Often, such details can be found using a medical dictionary.

When more than one part of the body is used to form a medical term, the roots of the individual words are joined by the combined form with the letter -o- to indicate the union of various body parts.

For example, if there is an inflammation of the stomach and intestines, this would be written as gastroenteritis. In this example, -o- means the union of two body parts.


Suffixes are attached to the end of a word root to add meaning, such as condition, disease process, or procedure.

In the process of creating medical terminology, specific language rules apply. These rules are part of the mechanics of language called linguistics. Then, when a term is developed, some logical process is used.

The Root of the word is developed to include a vocal sound after the term to add a smoothing action to the word’s sound when a suffix is ​​applied. The result is forming a new time with an attached vowel (word root + vowel) called a combination form.

The most common vowel used to form the combined firm is the letter -o- added to the root word in English.

The prefixes usually do not require more modifications to be added to a word root because the prefix usually ends in a vowel or vowel sound. In some cases, they can be assimilated slightly, and an interchange can change from syn- to sym-.

Suffixes are (1) that need the combination form or (2) that do not need the combination form since they start with a vowel.

Decoding the medical term is a necessary process. Once you gain experience in training and decoding medical terminology, the process becomes more accessible. One approach involves breaking the word down by evaluating the meaning of the suffix, then the prefix, and finally the root word.

This will generally produce a good result for the experienced health professional. A medical terminology dictionary must verify the impact in case of doubt. Learning any new language, such as medical terminology, is facilitated by learning the basic rules.

A quick reference online is a dictionary search engine. This allows one to enter a medical term in a dialog box and start a search. There are also numerous online medical dictionaries to choose from.

Once a term is located, the answer will be subdivided into several basic formats, including general use, medicine, law, business, etc.

A medical dictionary or Internet search engine is a great help in knowing the exact meaning of a medical term. However, if the basic concepts of word construction are understood, many words are understandable to the student of medical terminology.

Components of Medical Words

The first part of deciphering a medical term is knowing a time’s different components.

Root: the essential meaning of the word.

Combine shape: a root with a vowel associated with it, most commonly the letter O. This vowel is known as the combined vowel because it combines the heart with the rest of the term. When writing the combination form, a slash (/) is used to separate the stem and the vowel combination.

A word can have multiple roots whenever the combined vowel links the parts.

Suffix: the end of the term that gives part of the word’s meaning.

Prefix: appears at the beginning of some words to modify their meaning.

Example 1: CARDIOLOGY means the study of the heart. Cardi / o is the combined form (cardi + o), and -logia is the suffix.

Example 2: POLYNEUROPATHY means disease of many nerves. Poly – is the prefix, near / o is the combination form (near + o), and -patia is the suffix.

Understand the rules that govern the use of the vowel combination.

If a suffix begins with a vowel, release the combined vowel:

Example 1: NEURAL means belonging to the nerves. Near / o is the combination form, and – al is the suffix. As the suffix begins with a vowel, the combined vowel is discarded.

Keep the vowels combined even if the second Root begins with a vowel using multiple sources.

Example 2: GASTROENTEROLOGIST means a doctor specializing in the stomach and intestines. Gastric / o is the first combination form; enter / o is the second, and -logo is the suffix. Note that both combined vowels are present.

To get the meaning of a word, read it from the suffix to the beginning and then through. In other words, read the suffix first, then the prefix if there is one, and finally the Root.

Example 1 : HEMATOLOGY, – logy (study of) + hemat / o (blood) = study of the blood.

Example 2 : HEPATITIS, – itis (inflammation of) + hepat / o (liver) = inflammation of the liver.

Example 3 : INTRAVENOUS, – ous (belonging to) + intra- (inside) + ven / o (vein) = belonging to inside a vein.

Example 4 : Tachycardia, – ia (condition of) + tachycardia (rapid) + cardi / o (heart) = condition of a rapid heartbeat.

Most medical terms are compound words formed by root words combined with prefixes (at the beginning of a word) and suffixes (at the end of a word).

Therefore, medical terms that initially seem very complex can be divided into parts to give you a basic idea of ​​their meaning.

For example, the word neuroblastoma.

  • Neuro – means nerve.
  • Blast – is related to immature cells.
  • Oma – means tumor.

Therefore, by breaking down a complex word, we can see that neuroblastoma is a tumor of immature nerve cells.

Another type of tumor: is osteogenic sarcoma.

  • Osteo – means bone.
  • Genetic – means create / cause.

Therefore, we can see that this is a bone-forming tumor.

All medical terms have a root word. They can also have a prefix, a suffix, or a prefix and a suffix.

The prefixes have an “o” drop-down, connecting the prefix to the root words that start with a consonant. As a general rule, the “o” is eliminated when related to a root word that begins with a vowel (a, e, i, i, u).

Etymology studies the history of words, their origins, and how their form and meaning have changed over time. Most medical words derive from ancient Greek and Latin.

Words of Medical Terminologies

The medical terminology was developed mainly from Greek and Latin words, so many terms can be deciphered by understanding the meanings of various roots and affixes.

Roots that denote number or size

Some examples of root words, prefixes, and roots that denote number or size:

  • Bi – dos.
  • Dipl / o – two, double.
  • Hemi – mitad.
  • Hyper – about or more than usual.
  • Hiccup – low or less than usual.
  • Iso – same, same.
  • Macro – large.
  • Legal / or – enlargement.
  • Micro – small.
  • Mono – one.
  • Multiple – many.
  • Nulli – ninguno.
  • Poly – many.
  • Semi-half, partial.
  • Three – three.
  • Uni – one.

Roots that denote color

  • Chlor / o – green.
  • Cyan / o – blue.
  • Erythr/o – rojo.
  • Nice / o – blank.
  • Melan / o – black.
  • Xanth / o – yellow.

You will often come across a medical term that contains a prefix that describes a number.

In medicine, you will often find terms that describe where a procedure or condition occurs in the body; there is also a series of positional and directional medical terms that are not suffixes or prefixes but are independent words.

Practice the correct pronunciation. In the world of medicine, the correct pronunciation is not only essential to maintain your professionalism, but also helps to avoid misinterpretations and confusion caused by different accents.

Many words have unique pronunciations. You may discover that the way you read a comment in your mind is not how it should sound.

Do not get confused with terms and parts of similar words. Some features of words and phrases are identical in spelling and pronunciation but of opposite meanings. It is essential to differentiate between these to avoid a diagnosis or treatment plan that is deceptive and possibly harmful to your career.