common medical abbreviations

EG abb EG full name Other
(ver change, need to know...etc.)
ABG arterial blood gas  
ACE angiotensin-converting enzyme  
ACTH adrenocorticotropic hormone  
ADH antidiuretic hormone  
AED automated external defibrillator  
AIDS acquired immunodeficiency syndrome  
ALP alkaline phosphatase  
ALT alanine aminotransferase  old version is SGPT
ASA acetylsalicylic acid aspirin
AST aspartate aminotransferase  old version is SGOT
ATP adenosine triphosphate  
BCG bacille Calmette-Guérin  
bid 2 times a day  
BLS basic life support  
BMR basal metabolic rate  
BP blood pressure  
BSA body surface area  
BUN blood urea nitrogen  
BR bedside rounds  
BPD borderline personality disorder
C Celsius; centigrade; complement  
Ca calcium  
cAMP cyclic adenosine monophosphate  
CBC complete blood count  
cGy centigray  
Ci curie  
CK creatine kinase  
Cl chloride; chlorine  
cm centimeter  
CNS central nervous system  
CO2 carbon dioxide  
COPD chronic obstructive pulmonary disease  
CPK creatine phosphokinase  
CPK-MB creatine phosphokinase muscle bandisoenzyme  
CPR cardiopulmonary resuscitation  
CSF cerebrospinal fluid  
CT computed tomography  
Cu cubic  
D & C dilation and curettage  
dL deciliter 1 dL = 100 mL
DNA deoxyribonucleic acid  
DTP diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis(toxoids/vaccine)  
D/W dextrose in water  
ECF extracellular fluid  
ECG electrocardiogram  
EEG electroencephalogram  
EGD esophagogastroduodenoscopy  
ENT ear nose and throat  
ERCP endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography  
ESR erythrocyte sedimentation rate  
F Fahrenheit  
FDA U.S. Food and Drug Administration  
Ft foot; feet measure unit
FUO fever of unknown origin  
G gram  
GFR glomerular filtration rate  
GI gastrointestinal  
GVHD Graft-versus-host disease  
G6PD glucose-6-phosphate dehydrogenase  
GU genitourinary  
Gy gray  
H hour  
Hb hemoglobin  
HCl hydrochloric acid; hydrochloride  
HCO3 bicarbonate  
Hct hematocrit  
Hg mercury  
HIPAA Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act  
HIV human immunodeficiency virus  
HLA human leukocyte antigen  
HMG-CoA hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A  
Hz hertz  cycles/second unit
hs at bedtime   
ICF intracellular fluid  
ICU intensive care unit  
IgA etc. immunoglobin A  
IL interleukin  
IM intramuscular(ly)  
INR international normalized ratio  
IPPB intermittent positive pressure breathing  
IU international unit  
IV intravenous(ly)  
IVU intravenous urography  
K potassium  
kcal kilocalorie mean food calorie
kg kilogram  
L liter  
lb pound  
LDH lactic dehydrogenase  
LDLc low-density lipoprotein cholesterol  
M molar  
m meter  
MCH mean corpuscular hemoglobin  
MCHC mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration  
mCi millicurie  
MCV mean corpuscular volume  
mEq Milliequivalent  
Mg magnesium  
mg milligram  
MI myocardial infarction  
MIC minimum inhibitory concentration  
mIU milli-international unit  
mL milliliter  
mm millimeter  
mmol millimole  
mo month  
mol wt molecular weight  
mOsm Milliosmole  
MRI magnetic resonance imaging  
N nitrogen; normal unit to measure strength of solution
Na sodium  
NaCl sodium chloride  
ng nanogram  also name as millimicrogram
nm nanometer  also name as millimicron
nmol nanomole  
Npo nothing by mouth  
NSAID nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug  
O2 oxygen  
OTC over-the-counter  pharmaceuticals
oz ounce  
P phosphorus; pressure  
PAco2 alveolar carbon dioxide partial pressure  
Paco2 arterial carbon dioxide partial pressure  
PAo2 alveolar oxygen partial pressure  
Pao2 arterial oxygen partial pressure  
PAS periodic acid-Schiff  
Pco2 carbon dioxide partial pressure or tension
PCR polymerase chain reaction  
PET positron emission tomography  
pg picogram micromicrogram
pH hydrogen ion concentration  
PMN polymorphonuclear leukocyte  
po orally  
Po2 oxygen partial pressure  or tension
PPD purified protein derivative  tuberculin
ppm parts per million  
prn as needed  
PT prothrombin time  
PTT partial thromboplastin time  
q every  
qid 4 times a day  
RA rheumatoid arthritis  
RBC red blood cell  
RNA ribonucleic acid  
Sao2 arterial oxygen saturation  
SBE subacute bacterial endocarditis  
sc subcutaneous(ly)  
SI International System of Units  
SIDS sudden infant death syndrome  
SLE systemic lupus erythematosus  
soln solution  
sp species singular
spp species  plural
sp gr specific gravity  
sq square  
SSRI selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor  
STS serologic test(s) for syphilis  
T&A tonsillectomy and adenoidectomy  
TB tuberculosis  
TIBC total iron-binding capacity  
tid 3 times a day  
TPN total parenteral nutrition  
URI upper respiratory infection  
UTI urinary tract infection  
WBC white blood cell  
WHO World Health Organization  
wt weight  
μ micro-; micron  
μCi microcurie  
μg microgram  
μL microliter  
μm micrometer  also name micron
μmol micromole  
μOsm micro-osmole  
millimicron  also name nanometer

Not recommended for use in the United States by the Joint Commission
Not recommended for use by other organizations, such as the ISMP (Institute for Safe Medication Practices)[6])
Abbreviation or symbol Latin, Greek, or New Latin English Possible confusion
aa, āā, ĀĀ ana of each  
AAA   apply to affected area abdominal aortic aneurysm
a.c. ante cibum before meals  
a.c.h.s., ac&hs ante cibum et hora somni before meals and at bedtime  
a.d. auris dextra right ear A single-storey "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.d.", meaning right eye
ad., add. adde 
let there be added
ad lib. ad libitum Latin, "at one's pleasure"; as much as one desires; freely Compare pro re nata, "as needed", which by convention includes an aspect of "up to some maximum". Similarly, compare s.o.s., q.l., and q.s.
admov. admove 
apply [or] add 
add; let there be added
ad us. ad usum according to custom  
æq. æquales equal  
agit. agita agitate (stir or shake)  
alt. d., alt. dieb. alternis diebus every other day; on alternate days  
alt. h., alt. hor. alternis horis every other hour; at alternate hours  
a.m. ante meridiem morning, before noon  
amp. ampulla ampule (ampul, ampoule)  
amt   amount  
aq. aqua water  
aq. bull. aqua bulliens boiling water  
aq. com. aqua communis common water  
aq. dest. aqua destillata distilled water  
aq. ferv. aqua fervens hot water  
a.l., a.s. auris laeva, auris sinistra left ear "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.s." or "o.l", meaning left eye
ATC   around the clock  
a.u. auris utraque both ears "a" can be mistaken as an "o" which could read "o.u.", meaning both eyes
BDS, b.d.s. bis die sumendum twice daily  
bib. bibe drink  
bis bis twice
b.i.d., b.d. bis in die twice daily AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "twice a day")
bis ind. bis indies twice a day  
bis in 7 d. bis in septem diebus twice a week  
BM   bowel movement  
BNF   British National Formulary  
bol. bolus as a large single dose (usually intravenously)  
BP, Ph.Br. Pharmacopoeia Britannica British Pharmacopoeia  
BS   blood sugar  
BSA   body surface area  
b.t.   bedtime mistaken for "b.i.d", meaning twice daily
bucc. bucca buccal (inside cheek)  
cap., caps. capsula capsule  
cap. capiat let him take (let the patient take)  
c.m. cras mane tomorrow morning  
c.m.s. cras mane sumendus to be taken tomorrow morning  
c̄, c. cum with (usually written with a bar on top of the "c")  
cib. cibus food  
c.c. cum cibo with food [or] 
cubic centimetre
mistaken for "U", meaning units; also has an ambiguous meaning; use "mL" or "milliliters" (1 cm³ = 1 mL)
cf. confer compare  
c.n. cras nocte tomorrow night  
cochl. cochleare spoonful  
cochl. ampl. cochleare amplum an ample spoonful (a tablespoonful)  
cochl. infant. cochleare infantis a small spoonful (a teaspoonful)  
cochl. mag. cochleare magnum a large spoonful (a tablespoonful)  
cochl. mod. cochleare modicum a modest spoonful (a dessert-spoonful)  
cochl. parv. cochleare parvum a scant spoonful (a teaspoonful)  
colet. coletur let it be strained  
comp. compositus compound  
contin. continuetur let it be continued  
cpt. capiat let him take (let the patient take)  
cr., crm   cream  
CST   continue same treatment  
cuj. cujus of which  
c.v. cras vespere tomorrow evening  
cyath. cyathus a glassful  
cyath. vinos. cyathus vinosus a wine-glassful  
D, d. die [or] 
days [or] 
ambiguous meaning, write out "days" or "doses"
D5LR   dextrose 5% in lactated Ringer's solution(intravenous sugar solution)  
D5NS   dextrose 5% in normal saline (0.9%) (intravenous sugar solution)  
D5W, D5W   dextrose 5% in water (intravenous sugar solution)  
D10W, D10W   dextrose 10% in water (intravenous sugar solution)  
da da give  
DAW   dispense as written (i.e., no generic substitution)  
DC, dc, D/C, disc   discontinue [or] 
ambiguous meaning
decoct. decoctum decoction  
det. detur let it be given  
dieb. alt. diebus alternis every other day; on alternate days  
dil.   dilute  
dim. dimidius one-half  
d. in p. æ. divide in partes æquales divide into equal parts  
disp.   dispersible [or] 
div. divide divide  
dL   deciliter  
DS   double strength  
d.t.d. dentur tales doses give of such doses  
DTO   deodorized tincture of opium can easily be confused with "diluted tincture of opium," which is 1/25th the strength of deodorized tincture of opium; deaths have resulted due to massive morphine overdose.[7] Compare laudanum and paregoric.
DW   distilled water [or] 
dextrose in water (intravenous sugar solution)
elix. elixir elixir  
e.m.p. ex modo prescripto as directed (in the manner prescribed)  
emuls. emulsum emulsion  
et et and  
EOD   every other day  
ex aq. ex aqua in water  
exhib. exhibiatur let it be given  
f. fiat make; let it be made  
f.h. fiat haustus make a draught  
fl., fld. fluidus fluid (usually meaning specifically liquid in health care)  
f.m. fiat mistura make a mixture  
f. pil. fiat pilula make a pill  
f.s.a. fiat secundum artem make according to art  
ft. fiat make; let it be made  
g, gm   gram (modern SI symbol is g, not gm)  
garg. gargarisma gargle  
gr. granum grain  
gtt(s) gutta(e) drop(s)  
gutt. gutta(e) drop(s)  
H   hypodermic  
h, hr, hor. hora hour  
habt. habeat let him have  
hor. alt. hora alternis every other hour (every second hour; at alternate hours)  
hor. decub. hora decubitus at bedtime  
hor. intermed. horis intermediis at intermediate hours  
hor. tert. horis tertiis every third hour  
h.s. hora somni (at the hour of sleep) at bedtime [or] 
ambiguous (2 meanings, easily conflated); spell out
IBW   ideal body weight (for dosing based on clearance estimation)  
ID   intradermal  
IJ, inj. injectio injection mistaken for "IV", meaning intravenously
i.m., IM   intramuscular  
IN   intranasal mistaken for "IM", meaning intramuscular, or "IV", meaning intravenously
ind. indies daily  
inf. infusum infusion (extraction) / intravenous infusion  
i unus tabuletta one tablet  
ii duo tabuletta two tablets  
iii tres tabuletta three tablets  
IO   intraossseous  
IP   intraperitoneal  
IT   intrathecal mistaken for other abbreviations; spell out
IU   international unit mistaken for "IV" or "10", spell out "international unit"
i.v., IV   intravenous  
i.v.p., IVP   intravenous push  
IVPB   intravenous piggyback  
kg   kilogram  
LAS   label as such  
lat. dol. lateri dolenti to the painful side  
lb. libra pound  
l.c.d. liquor carbonis detergens coal tar solution  
lin linimentum liniment  
liq. liquor solution  
lot. lotio lotion  
M., m. misce mix  
mane mane in the morning  
max. maximum maximum  
mcg   microgram Recommended replacement for "µg" which may be confused with "mg"
mdi   metered dose inhaler  
m.d.u. more dicto utendus to be used as directed  
mEq   milliequivalent  
mg   milligram  
mg/dL   milligrams per deciliter  
MgSO4   magnesium sulfate may be confused with "MSO4", spell out "magnesium sulfate"
min. minimum [or] 
minim [or] 
minimum [or] 
minim [or] 
mist. mistura mixture  
mit., mitt. mitte send  
mL   millilitre  
mod. præscript. modo præscripto in the manner directed  
MS   morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate can mean either morphine sulfate or magnesium sulfate, spell out either
MSO4   morphine sulfate may be confused with "MgSO4", spell out "morphine sulfate"
nebul, neb. nebula a spray (such as for insufflation)- nebulizer  
NMT   not more than  
noct. nocte at night  
non rep. non repetatur no repeats (no refills)  
NPO, n.p.o. nil per os nothing by mouth AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "nothing by mouth")
NS   normal saline (0.9%)  
1/2NS   half-normal saline (0.45%)  
NTE   not to exceed  
o 2, o2   both eyes "O2" usually means oxygen or oxygen therapy
o.d. omni die every day (once daily) (preferred to "qd" in the UK[8])  
o.d. oculus dexter right eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.d.", meaning right ear, confusion with "omni die"
o.m. omni mane every morning  
omn. bih. omni bihora every 2 hours  
omn. hor. omni hora every hour  
o.n. omni nocte every night  
OPD   once per day  
o.s. oculus sinister left eye "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.s.", meaning left ear
o.u. oculus uterque both eyes "o" can be mistaken as an "a" which could read "a.u.", meaning both ears
oz   ounce  
p. perstetur continue  
part. æq. partes æquales equal parts  
per per by or through  
p.c. post cibum after meals  
p.c.h.s., pc&hs post cibum et hora somni after meals and at bedtime  
Ph.Br., BP Pharmacopoeia Britannica British Pharmacopoeia  
Ph.Eur. Pharmacopoeia Europaea European Pharmacopoeia  
Ph.Int. Pharmacopoeia Internationalis International Pharmacopoeia  
pig./pigm. pigmentum paint  
p.m. post meridiem evening or afternoon  
p.o. per os by mouth or orally AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "orally")
ppt. præparata prepared  
p.r., PR per rectum rectally  
p.r.n., PRN pro re nata as needed  
pt. perstetur continue  
pulv. pulvis powder  
p.v., PV per vaginam vaginally  
q quaque every, per  
q.1 h, q.1° quaque 1 hora every 1 hour (can replace "1" with other numbers)  
q4PM   at 4 pm (can replace "4" with other numbers) mistaken to mean every 4 hours
q.a.d. quaque alternis die every other day  
q.a.m. quaque die ante meridiem every morning (every day before noon)  
q.d./q.1.d. quaque die every day mistaken for "QOD" or "qds," spell out "every day" or "daily". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every day")
q.d.a.m. quaque die ante meridiem once daily in the morning  
q.d.p.m. quaque die post meridiem once daily in the evening  
q.d.s. quater die sumendus 4 times a day can be mistaken for "qd" (every day)
q.p.m. quaque die post meridiem every evening (every day after noon)  
q.h. quaque hora every hour  
q.h.s. quaque hora somni every night at bedtime can be mistaken as "q.h.r." (every hour)
q.i.d. quater in die 4 times a day can be mistaken for "qd" or "qod," write out "4 times a day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "4 times a day")
q.l. quantum libet as much as is requisite  
q.n. quaque nocte every night can be mistaken as "q.h." (every hour)
q.o.d. quaque altera die every other day mistaken for "QD," spell out "every other day". AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "every other day")
q.q. quaque every;[9] each  
q.q.h. quater quaque hora every 4 hours  
q.s. quantum sufficiat (subjunctive), quantum sufficit (indicative), quantum satis as much as suffices; a sufficient quantity  
q.s. a.d add up to
q.v. quantum volueris [or] 
quod vide
at will [or] 
which see
QWK   every week  
rep., rept. repetatur repeats  
RL, R/L   Ringer's lactate  
Rx, Rx, RX, , ℞, Rp recipe take (often effectively a noun meaning "prescription"—medical prescription or prescription drug)  
rep. repetatur let it be repeated  
s. signa write (write on the label)  
s.a. secundum artem according to the art (accepted practice or best practice)  
SC   subcutaneous "SC" can be mistaken for "SL," meaning sublingual. See also SQ
sem. semen seed  
s.i.d. semel in die once a day used exclusively in veterinary medicine
sig. signa, signetur write (write on the label)  
sine without (usually written with a bar on top of the "s")  
sing. singulorum of each  
SL, s.l. sub lingua sublingually, under the tongue  
SOB   shortness of breath  
sol. solutio solution  
s.o.s., si op. sit si opus sit if there is a need  
s.s., SS semisse one-half [or] 
sliding scale
mistaken for "55" or "1/2"
SSI   sliding scale insulin or sliding scale regular insulin mistaken to mean "strong solution of iodine" or "selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor". See also SSRI
SQ   subcutaneously "SQ" can be mistaken for "5Q" meaning "5 every dose". See also SC
SSRI   selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor [or] 
sliding scale regular insulin
ambiguous. Do not abbreviate
st. stet let it stand (for example, for settling)  
stat statim immediately  
SubQ   subcutaneously  
sum. sumat [or] 
let him take [or] 
let it be taken
supp. suppositorium suppository  
susp. suspensio suspension  
syr. syrupus syrup  
tab. tabella tablet  
tal., t. talus such  
tbsp   tablespoon  
t.d.s., TDS ter die sumendum 3 times a day  
t.i.d., t.d. ter in die 3 times a day AMA style avoids use of this abbreviation (spell out "3 times a day")
tinct. tinctura tincture  
t.i.w.   3 times a week mistaken for "twice a week"
top.   topical  
TPN   total parenteral nutrition  
tr, tinc., tinct. tinctura tincture  
trit. triturate grind to a powder  
troch. trochiscus lozenge  
tsp   teaspoon  
U   unit mistaken for a "4", "0" or "cc", spell out "unit"
u.d., ut. dict. ut dictum as directed  
ung. unguentum ointment  
USP   United States Pharmacopeia  
vag. vagine vaginally  
w   with  
w/a   while awake  
w/f   with food (with meals)  
w/o   without  
X, x   times  
YO, y.o.   years old  
μg   microgram mistaken for "mg", meaning milligram
@   at mistaken for "2"; spell out "at"
>   greater than mistaken for a "7"
<   less than mistaken for an "L"
libra pound  
uncia ounce  
ʒ drachma dram (drachm)  
scrupulus scruple  

Prefixes and suffixes

The following is an alphabetical list of medical prefixes and suffixes, along with their meanings, origin, and English examples.


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
a-an- not, without Ancient Greek ἀ-/ἀν- (a-/an-), not, without analgesic, apathy
ab- from; away from Latin abduction
abdomin- Of or relating to the abdomen Latin abdōmen, abdomen, fat around the belly abdomen, abdominal
-ac pertaining to Greek -ακός (-akos) cardiac, hydrophobiac
acanth- thorn or spine Ancient Greek ἄκανθα (ákantha), thorn acanthion, acanthocyte, acanthoma, acanthulus
acou-[1] Of or relating to hearing Greek ἀκούειν (akoúein), ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), of or for hearing acoumeter, acoustician, hyperacusis
acr- extremity, topmost Greek ἄκρον (akron), highest or farthest point acrocrany, acromegaly, acroosteolysis, acroposthia
-acusis hearing Greek ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), of or for hearing paracusis
-ad toward, in the direction of   dorsad
ad- at, increase, on, toward Latin adduction
aden- Of or relating to a gland Ancient Greek ἀδήν, ἀδέν- (adēn, aden-), an acorn; a gland adenocarcinoma, adenology, adenotome, adenotyphus
adip- Of or relating to fat or fatty tissue Latin (adeps, adip-), fat Adipocyte
adren- Of or relating to adrenal glands Latin adrenal artery
-emia (BrE) blood condition Greek ἀναιμία, without blood Anemia
aer(o)- air, gas Greek ἀήρ, ἀέρος Aerosinusitis
aesthesi-(BrE) sensation Greek αἴσθησις Anesthesia
-al pertaining to Latin -alis abdominal, femoral
alb- Denoting a white or pale color Latin albus, white Albino
alge(si)- pain Greek ἄλγος Analgesic
-algiaalg(i)o- pain Greek Myalgia
all- Denoting something as different, or as an addition Ancient Greek ἄλλος (allos), another, other Alloantigen, allopathy
ambi- Denoting something as positioned on both sides; describing both of two Latin (ambi-, ambo), both, on both sides Ambidextrous
amni- Pertaining to the membranous fetal sac (amnion) Greek ἄμνιον Amniocentesis
amph(i)-, on both sides Greek ἀμφί (amphi) Amphicrania, amphismela, amphomycin
amylo- starchy, carbohydrate-related Latin amylum (starch) Amylase, amylophagia
an- not, without Greek Analgesia
ana- back, again, up Greek Anaplasia
an- anus Latin anal
andr- pertaining to a man Greek ἀνήρ, ἀνδρ- Android, andrology, androgen
angi- blood vessel Greek ἀγγεῖον angiogram, angioplasty
aniso- Describing something as unequal Ancient Greek ἄνῑσος (anīsos), unequal Anisocytosis, anisotropic
ankyl-ancyl- Denoting something as crooked or bent Ancient Greek ἀγκύλος (ankýlos), crooked, curved Ankylosis
ante- Describing something as positioned in front of another thing Latin (āntē), before, in front of antepartum
anti- Describing something as 'against' or 'opposed to' another Ancient Greek αντι (anti), against Antibody, antipsychotic
apo- away, separated from, derived from Ancient Greek ἀπό Apoptosis
arch- first, primitive Ancient Greek archinephron
arsen(o)- Of or pertaining to a male; masculine Greek (arsein) arsenoblast
arteri(o)- Of or pertaining to an artery Ancient Greek ἀρτηρία (artēría), a wind-pipe, artery (used distinctly versus a vein) Arteriole, artery
arthr- Of or pertaining to the joints, limbs Ancient Greek ἄρθρον (árthron), a joint, limb Arthritis
articul- joint Latin articulus Articulation
-ary pertaining to Latin -arius biliary tract, coronary
-ase enzyme Greek διάστασις, division Lactase
-asthenia weakness Greek, ἀσθένεια Myasthenia gravis
atel(o)- imperfect or incomplete development   atelocardia
ather- fatty deposit, soft gruel-like deposit ἀθάρη (athárē) Atherosclerosis
-ation process Latin medication
atri- an atrium (esp. heart atrium) Latin atrioventricular
aur- Of or pertaining to the ear Latin (auris), the ear Aural
aut- self Greek αὐτο- Autoimmune
aux(o)- increase; growth   Auxocardia: enlargement of the heart, auxology
axill- Of or pertaining to the armpit (uncommon as a prefix) Latin (axilla), armpit Axilla
azo(to)- nitrogenous compound   azothermia: raised temperature due to nitrogenous substances in blood


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
bacillus rod-shaped Latin baculus ‘stick.’ Bacillus anthracis
bacteri- Pertaining to bacteria Latin ("bacterium"); Greek βακτήριον ("baktḗrion"), “small staff” bacteriophage, bactericide
balan- Of the glans penis or glans clitoridis Greek βάλανος (bálanos), acorn, glans balanitis
bas- Of or pertaining to base Greek βάσις (básis), "foundation", "base" basolateral
bi- twice, double Latin Binary
bio- life Ancient Greek βίος (bíos) Biology
blast- germ or bud Greek βλαστός (blastós) Blastomere
blephar(o)- Of or pertaining to the eyelid Ancient Greek βλέφαρον (blépharon), eyelid Blepharoplasty
brachi(o)- Of or relating to the arm Latin (bracchium), from Ancient Greek βραχίων (brachiōn), arm Brachium of inferior colliculus
brachy- Indicating 'short' or less commonly 'little' Ancient Greek βραχύς (brachys), short, little, shallow brachycephalic
brady- 'slow' Ancient Greek βραδύς (bradys), slow Bradycardia
bronch(i)- of or relating to the bronchus Latin (bronchus); Ancient Greek βρόγχος (brónkhos), windpipe Bronchitis, bronchiolitis obliterans
bucc(o)- Of or pertaining to the cheek Latin (bucca), cheek Buccolabial
burs(o)- bursa (fluid sac between the bones) Latin (bursa), purse; Ancient Greek βύρσα (búrsa), hide, wine-skin Bursa, bursitis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
capill- Of or pertaining to hair Latin (capillus), hair Capillus
capit- Pertaining to the head (as a whole) Latin (caput, capit-), the head capitation
carcin- cancer Greek καρκίνος (karkinos), crab carcinoma
cardi- Of or pertaining to the heart Ancient Greek καρδία (kardía), heart cardiology
carp- Of or pertaining to the wrist Latin (carpus) < Ancient Greek καρπός (karpós), wrist; NOTE: This root should not be confused with the mirror root carp(o)- meaning fruit. carpopedal spasm
cata- down, under Greek κατά (kata) Cataract, catabolism
-cele pouching, hernia Ancient Greek κήλη (kēlē) Hydrocele, Varicocele
-centesis surgical puncture for aspiration Ancient Greek κέντησις (kentēsis) amniocentesis
cephal(o)- Of or pertaining to the head (as a whole) Ancient Greek κεφαλή (képhalē), the head cephalalgy, hydrocephalus
cerat(o)- Of or pertaining to the cornu; a horn Ancient Greek κέρας, κερατ- (kéras, kerat-), a horn Ceratoid
cerebell(o)- Of or pertaining to the cerebellum Latin (cerebellum), little brain Cerebellum
cerebr- Of or pertaining to the brain Latin (cerebrum), brain Cerebrology
cervic- Of or pertaining to the neck, the cervix Latin (cervix, cervīc-), neck, cervix cervicodorsal
cheil- Of or pertaining to the lips Latin (cheilitis) angular cheilitis
chem- chemistry, drug Greek χημεία chemotherapy
chir-, cheir- Of or pertaining to the hand Ancient Greek χείρ, χειρο- (cheir, cheiro-), hand chiropractor
chlor- Denoting a green color Ancient Greek χλωρός (chlōros), green, yellow-green chlorophyll
chol(e)- Of or pertaining to bile Ancient Greek χολή (cholē), bile Cholaemia (UK)/ Cholemia(US), Cholecystitis
cholecyst(o)- Of or pertaining to the gallbladder Ancient Greek χοληκύστις (cholēkýstis), gallbladder < χολή (cholē), bile, gall + κύστις (kýstis), bladder Cholecystectomy
chondr(i)o- cartilage, gristle, granule, granular Ancient Greek χονδρός (chondros) Chondrocalcinosis
chrom(ato)- color Ancient Greek χρῶμα (chrōma) Hemochromatosis
-cidal, -cide killing, destroying Latin bacteriocidal
cili- Of or pertaining to the cilia, the eyelashes; eyelids Latin (cilium), eyelash; eyelid Ciliary
circum- Denoting something as 'around' another Latin (circum), around circumcision
cis- on this side Latin cis cisgender
clast break Greek κλαστός "broken" osteoclast
clostr- spindle Greek κλωστήρ (klōstēr)  
co- with, together, in association Latin coenzymes
coccus round, spherical Greek kokkos ‘berry.’ Streptococcus
col-, colo-, colono- colon κόλον (kólon) Colonoscopy
colp(o)- Of or pertaining to the vagina Ancient Greek κόλπος (kólpos), bosom, womb; hollow, depth Colposcopy
com- with, together Latin cum  
contra against Latin Contraindicate
cor- with, together Latin corrective
cor- Of or pertaining to eye's pupil Ancient Greek κόρη (kórē), girl, doll; pupil of the eye Corectomy
cord- Of or pertaining to the heart (uncommon as a prefix) Latin (cor, cordi-), "heart" Commotio cordis
cornu- Applied to processes and parts of the body describing them likened or similar to horns Latin cornū, "horn" Greater cornu
coron(o)- pertaining to heart Latin corōna coronary heart disease
cortic(o)- Cortex, or outer region Latin cortex, "Bark of a tree" Corticosteriod
cost- Of or pertaining to the ribs Latin (costa), "rib" Costochondral
cox- Of or relating to the hip, haunch, or hip-joint Latin (coxa), hip Coxopodite
crani(o)- Belonging or relating to the cranium Latin (cranium) < Ancient Greek κρᾱνίον (krānion), the cranium, skull, bones enclosing the brain Craniology
-crine, crin(o) to secrete εκκρίνει ecrine Endocrine
cry(o)- cold Greek κρύος Cryoablation
cutane- skin Latin cutis Subcutaneous
cyan(o)- Denotes a blue color Ancient Greek κύανος, κυάνεος (kýanos, kyáneos), blue Cyanopsia
cycl- circle, cycle Greek κύκλος (kuklos) Cyclosis
cyph(o)- Denotes something as bent (uncommon as a prefix) Ancient Greek κυφός (kȳphós), bent, hunchback Cyphosis
cyst(o)-, cyst(i)- Of or pertaining to the urinary bladder Ancient Greek κύστις κύστις (kýstis); bladder, cyst Cystotomy
cyt(o)--cyte cell Greek κύτος Cytokine, leukocyte


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
dacry(o)- Of or pertaining to tears Greek δάκρυ, tear Dacryoadenitis, dacryocystitis
-dactyl(o)- Of or pertaining to a finger, toe Ancient Greek δάκτυλος (dáktylos), finger, toe dactylology, polydactyly
de- from, down, or away from Latin de- dehydrate
dent- Of or pertaining to teeth Latin (dens, dentis), tooth Dentist
dermat(o)-, derm(o)- Of or pertaining to the skin Ancient Greek δέρμα, δέρματος (dérma, dérmat-), skin, human skin Dermatology, epidermis, hypodermic, xeroderma
-desis binding Greek δέσις (désis) arthrodesis
dextr(o)- right, on the right side Latin dexter Dextrocardia
di- two Greek δι- Diplopia
di- apart, separation Latin dilation, distal
dia- through, during, across Ancient Greek διά (diá), through, during, across dialysis
dif- apart, separation Latin different
digit- Of or pertaining to the finger [rare as a root] Latin (digitus), finger, toe Digit
diplo- twofold Greek διπλόος (diplóos) diploid, diplosis
-dipsia suffix meaning "(condition of) thirst"' Greek δίψα (dípsa) dipsomania, hydroadipsia, oligodipsia, polydipsia
dis- separation, taking apart Latin dis- Dissection
dors(o)-, dors(i)- Of or pertaining to the back Latin (dorsum), back dorsal, dorsocephalad
dromo- running, conduction, course Greek δρόμος (drómos) Dromotropic, syndrome
duodeno- duodenum, twelve: upper part of the small intestine (twelve inches long on average), connects to the stomach Latin duodeni Duodenal atresia
dura- hard   Dura Mater
dynam(o)- force, energy, power Greek δύναμις (dúnamis) Hand strength dynamometer
-dynia pain   Vulvodynia
dys- bad, difficult, defective, abnormal Greek δυσ- (dus-) dysentery, dysphagia, dysphasia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-eal pertaining to Latin adenohypophyseal, corneal, esophageal, perineal
ec- out, away Greek ἐκ- (ek-) Ectopia, ectopic pregnancy
ect(o)- outer, outside Greek ἐκτός (ektós) Ectoblast, ectoderm
-ectasia, -ectasis expansion, dilation Ancient Greek ἔκτασις (éktasis) Bronchiectasis, telangiectasia
-ectomy Denotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part. Resection, excision Ancient Greek ἐκτομή (ektomḗ), excision Mastectomy
-emesis vomiting condition Greek ἕμεσις (émesis) Hematemesis
-emia blood condition (Am Engl) Ancient Greek αἷμα, blood Anemia
encephal(o)- Of or pertaining to the brain. Also see Cerebro. Ancient Greek ἐγκέφαλος (enképhalos), the brain Encephalogram
endo- Denotes something as 'inside' or 'within' ἐνδο- (endo-), inside, internal Endocrinology, endospore
eosin(o)- Red Ancient Greek Eos, the Greek word for 'dawn' and the name of the Greek goddess of the dawn. Eosinophil granulocyte
enter(o)- Of or pertaining to the intestine Ancient Greek ἔντερον (énteron), intestine Gastroenterology
epi- on, upon Ancient Greek ἐπι- (epi-), before, upon, on, outside, outside of Epicardium, epidermis, epidural, episclera, epistaxis
episi(o)- Of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loins Ancient Greek ἐπίσιον- (epísion), the pubic area, loins; vulva Episiotomy
erythr(o)- Denotes a red color Ancient Greek ἐρυθρός (erythrós), red Erythrocyte
-esophageal, -esophago- gullet (AmE) Greek οἰσοφάγος (oisophágos) Esophagus
esthesio- sensation (AmE) Greek αἴσθησις (aisthēsis) Esthesioneuroblastoma, esthesia
eu- true, good, well, new εὖ () Eukaryote
ex- out of, away from Latin Excision
exo- Denotes something as 'outside' another Ancient Greek ἐξω- (exo-), outside of, external Exophthalmos, exoskeleton
extra- outside Latin Extradural hematoma


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
faci- Of or pertaining to the face Latin faciēs, the face, countenance Facioplegic
fibr- fiber Latin fibra, fiber, filament, entrails[2] fibril, fibrin, fibrinous pericarditis, fibroblast
fil- fine, hair-like Latin (filum), thread Filament, filum terminale
foramen hole, opening, or aperature, particularly in bone Latin Foramen magnum
-form Used to form adjectives indicating 'having the form of' Latin (forma), form, shape cruciform, cuneiform, falciform
fore- before or ahead   foregut
fossa A hollow or depressed area; trench or channel Latin (fossa), ditch, pit fossa ovalis
front- Of or pertaining to the forehead Latin (frōns, front-), the forehead frontonasal


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
galact(o)- milk Greek γάλα, γαλακτ- Galactorrhea


gastr(o)- Of or pertaining to the stomach Ancient Greek γαστήρ (gastēr), γαστρ-, stomach, belly Gastric bypass
-gen (1) Denotes the sense 'born in, from' (2) Denotes the sense 'of a certain kind' Ancient Greek -γενής (-genēs), from γεν-νάειν (gen-náein), to be born (1) Endogen; (2) Heterogenous
-genic Formative, pertaining to producing Greek Cardiogenic shock
genu- Of or pertaining to the knee Latin (genū), knee Genu valgum
-geusia Taste Ancient Greek γεῦσις (geusis) Ageusia, dysgeusia, hypergeusia, hypogeusia, parageusia
gingiv- Of or pertaining to the gums Latin gingīva, gum Gingivitis
glauc(o)- Denoting a grey or bluish-grey colour Ancient Greek γλαυκός (glaukos), grey, bluish-grey Glaucoma
gloss(o)-glott(o)- Of or pertaining to the tongue Ancient Greek γλῶσσα, γλῶττα (glōssaglōtta), tongue Glossology
gluco- sweet Greek γλυκός, sweet Glucocorticoid
glyc(o)- sugar Ancient Greek Glycolysis
gnath(o)- Of or pertaining to the jaw Ancient Greek γνάθος (gnáthos), jaw Gnathodynamometer
-gnosis knowledge Greek diagnosis, prognosis
gon(o)- seed, semen; also, reproductive Ancient Greek γόνος Gonorrhea
-gram-gramme record or picture Greek γράμμα (gramma) Angiogram
-graph instrument used to record data or picture Ancient Greek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation Electrocardiograph
-graphy process of recording Ancient Greek Angiography
gyno-gynaeco- (BrE), gyneco- (AmE) woman Greek γυνή, γυναικ- Gynecomastia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
halluc- to wander in mind Classical Latin to wander in mind Hallucinosis
hemat-, haemato- (haem-, hem-) Of or pertaining to blood Latin (hæma) < Ancient Greek αἵμα, αἱματ- (haima, haimat-), blood Hematology, older form Haematology
hema- or hemo- blood (AmE) Greek Hemal, Hemoglobin
hemangi or hemangio- blood vessels   Hemangioma
hemi- one-half Ancient Greek ἡμι- (hēmi-), "half" Cerebral hemisphere
hepat- (hepatic-) Of or pertaining to the liver Ancient Greek ἥπαρ, ἡπατο- (hēpar, hēpato-), the liver Hepatology, Hepatitis
heter(o)- Denotes something as 'the other' (of two), as an addition, or different Ancient Greek ἕτερος (héteros), the other (of two), another; different Heterogeneous
hidr(o)- sweat Greek ἱδρωτ- Hyperhidrosis
hist(o)-, histio- tissue Greek ἱστός Histology
home(o)- similar Ancient Greek ὅμοιος (homoios) Homeopathy
hom(o)- Denotes something as 'the same' as another or common Ancient Greek ὁμο- (homo-), the same, common Homosexuality
humer(o)- Of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm) Latin (umerus), shoulder Humerus
hydr(o)- water Greek ὕδωρ Hydrophobe
hyper- Denotes something as 'extreme' or 'beyond normal' Ancient Greek ὑπέρ (hyper), over, above; beyond, to the extreme Hypertension
hyp(o)- Denotes something as 'below normal' Ancient Greek ὑπ(ο)- (hypo-), below, under Hypovolemia,
hyster(o)- Of or pertaining to the womb, the uterus Ancient Greek ὑστέρα (hystéra), womb Hysterectomy, Hysteria


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-i-asis condition, formation, or presence of Greek -ίασις Mydriasis
iatr(o)- Of or pertaining to medicine, or a physician (uncommon as a prefix; common as a suffix, see -iatry) Ancient Greek ἰᾱτρός (iātrós), healer, physician Iatrochemistry
-iatry Denotes a field in medicine of a certain body component Ancient Greek ἰᾱτρός (iātrós), healer, physician Podiatry, psychiatry
-ic pertaining to Greek -ικός (-ikos) Hepatic artery
-icle small Latin Ovarian follicle
-ics organized knowledge, treatment Latin -ica < Greek < -ικά Obstetrics
idio- self, one's own Greek ἴδιος, idios, "one's own" Idiopathic
ileo- ileum Greek ἰλεός Ileocecal valve
infra- below Latin Infrahyoid muscles
inter- between, among Latin Interarticular ligament
intra- within Latin intramural
ipsi- same Latin Ipsilateral
irid(o)- iris Greek ἴρις Iridectomy
isch- restriction Greek ἴσχω Ischemia
ischio- Of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-joint Ancient Greek ἰσχιόν (ischión), hip-joint, ischium Ischioanal fossa
-ism condition, disease   Dwarfism
-ismus spasm, contraction Greek -ισμός Hemiballismus
iso- Denoting something as being 'equal' Ancient Greek ἴσος (ísos), equal Isotonic
-ist one who specializes in Greek -ιστής (-istes) Pathologist
-ite the nature of, resembling Greek -ίτης Hermaphrodite
-itis inflammation   Tonsillitis
-ium structure, tissue   pericardium


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
juxta (iuxta) Near to, alongside or next to Latin Juxtaglomerular apparatus


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
kal- potassium   hyperkalemia
kary-[3] nucleus Greek κάρυον (káruon), "nut" eukaryote
kerat-[4] cornea (eye or skin) Greek κέρας (kéras), "horn" keratoscope
kine-[5] movement Greek κινέω akinetopsia, kinesthesia
koil-[6] hollow Greek κοῖλος (koîlos) koilocyte
kyph-[7] humped Greek κυφός (kuphós) kyphoscoliosis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
labi- Of or pertaining to the lip Latin (labium), lip labiodental
lacrim(o)- tear Latin Lacrimal canaliculi
lact(i)-, lact(o) milk Latin Lactation
lapar(o)- Of or pertaining to the abdominal wall, flank Ancient Greek λαπάρᾱ (lapárā), flank Laparotomy
laryng(o)- Of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box is Ancient Greek λάρυγξ, λαρυγγ- (lárynx, laryng-), throat, gullet Larynx
latero- lateral Latin Lateral pectoral nerve
lei(o)- smooth Greek λεῖος Leiomyoma
-lepsis, -lepsy attack, seizure Greek λῆψις Epilepsy, narcolepsy
lept(o)- light, slender Greek λεπτός (leptos) Leptomeningeal
leuc(o)-, leuk(o)- Denoting a white color Ancient Greek λευκός (leukos), white, bright Leukocyte
lingu(a)-, lingu(o)- Of or pertaining to the tongue Latin (lingua), tongue Linguistics
lip(o)- fat Greek λίπος (lipos) Liposuction
liss(os)- smooth Greek Λισσός (lissos) Lissencephaly
lith(o)- stone, calculus Greek λίθος (lithos) Lithotripsy
log(o)- speech Greek λόγος (logos) dialog, catalog, logos
-logist Denotes someone who studies a certain field (the field of _____-logy); a specialist; one who treats Ancient Greek λογιστής (logistēs), studier, practitioner Oncologist, pathologist
-logy Denotes the academic study or practice of a certain field; the study of Ancient Greek λόγoς (logos) study hematology, urology
lumb(o)-, lumb(a)- Of or relating to the part of the trunk between the lowest ribs and the pelvis. Latin (lumbus or lumbaris) loin Lumbar vertebrae
lymph(o)- lymph Latin lympha - water Lymphedema
lys(o)-, -lytic dissolution Greek Lysosome
-lysis Destruction, separation Greek λύσις Paralysis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
macr(o)- large, long Greek μακρός Macrophage
-malacia softening Greek μαλακία Osteomalacia
mamm(o)- Of or pertaining to the breast Latin (mamma), breast; udder Mammogram
mammill(o)- Of or pertaining to the nipple Latin mammilla, nipple Mammillaplasty, Mammillitis
manu- Of or pertaining to the hand Latin (manus), hand Manufacture
mast(o)- Of or pertaining to the breast Ancient Greek μαστός (mastós), breast, women's breast; man's pectoral muscle Mastectomy
meg(a)-, megal(o)-, -megaly enlargement, million Greek μέγας Splenomegaly, Megameter
melan(o)- black color Ancient Greek μέλας, μελανο- (melas, melano-), black; dark Melanin
melos extremity Ancient Greek μέλος Erythromelalgia
mening(o)- membrane Greek μῆνιγξ, μηνιγγ- Meningitis
men- month, menstrual cycle Ancient Greek μήν (mḗn), month Menopause, Menorrhagia
mer- part Greek μέρος (meros), part Merocrine, Meroblastic
mes- middle Ancient Greek μέσος (mesos), "middle" Mesoderm
met, meta- after, beside, beyond or change Greek μετά Metacarpal, Metacarpus, Metacromion, Metanephros, Metatheria
-meter instrument used to measure or count Greek μέτρον Sphygmomanometer
-metry process of measuring Greek -μετρία Optometry
metr- Pertaining to conditions or instruments of the uterus Ancient Greek μήτρᾱ (mētrā), womb, uterus Metrorrhagia
micr- denoting something as small, or relating to smallness, millionth Ancient Greek μικρός (mikros), small Microscope
milli- thousandth Latin mille, thousand Milliliter
mon- single Greek μονός (monos) Infectious Mononucleosis
morph- form, shape Greek μορφή (morphē) Morphology
muscul(o)- muscle Latin Musculoskeletal system
my(o)- Of or relating to muscle Ancient Greek μῦς, μυ- (mys, my-), muscle; mouse; mussel Myoblast
myc(o)- fungus Greek μύκης, μυκητ- Onychomycosis
myel(o)- Of or relating to bone marrow or spinal cord Ancient Greek μυελόν (myelon), marrow; bone-marrow Myeloblast
myl(o)- Of or relating to molar teeth or lower jaw Greek (myle) Mylohyoid nerve
myri- ten thousand Ancient Greek μύριοι (mýrioi), myriad Myriad
myring(o)- eardrum Latin myringa Myringotomy
myx(o)- mucus Greek μύξα Myxoma


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
narc(o)- numb, sleep Greek νάρκη narcolepsy
nas(o)- Of or pertaining to the nose Latin (nāsum), nose nasal
necr(o)- death Greek νεκρός Necrosis, necrotizing fasciitis
neo- new Greek νέος Neoplasm
nephr(o)- Of or pertaining to the kidney Ancient Greek νεφρός (nephrós), kidney Nephrology
nerv- Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system [Uncommon as a root: neuro- mostly always used] Latin (nervus), tendon; nerve; Cognate with the Greek νευρον (neuron) (see below) Nerve, nervous system
neur(i)-, neur(o)- Of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system Ancient Greek νεῦρον (neuron), tendon, sinew; nerve Neurofibromatosis
noci- pain, injury, hurt Latin (noceo) Nociception
normo- normal Latin Normocapnia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
ocul(o)- Of or pertaining to the eye Latin (oculus), the eye Oculist
odont(o)- Of or pertaining to teeth Ancient Greek ὀδούς, ὀδοντ- (odoús, odont-), tooth orthodontist
odyn(o)- pain Greek ὀδύνη stomatodynia
-oesophageal, oesophago-(BrE) gullet Greek οἰσοφάγος oesophagus
-oid resemblance to Greek -οειδής Sarcoidosis
ole small or little Latin  
olig(o)- Denoting something as 'having little, having few' Ancient Greek ὀλίγος (oligos), few Oligotrophy
om(o)- shoulder Ancient Greek ὠμός (ōmos), shoulder Omoplate
-oma (singular), -omata(plural) tumor, mass, fluid collection Greek -ωμα Sarcoma, teratoma, Mesothelioma
omphal(o)- Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Ancient Greek ὀμφαλός (omphalós), navel, belly-button Omphalotomy
onco- tumor, bulk, volume Greek ὄγκος Oncology
-one     hormone
onych(o)- Of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe) Ancient Greek ὄνυξ, ὀνυχο- (ónyx, ónycho-), nail; claw; talon Onychophagy
oo- Of or pertaining to an (egg), a woman's egg, the ovum Ancient Greek ᾠόν, ᾠο- (ōón, ōo-), egg, ovum Oogenesis
oophor(o)- Of or pertaining to the woman's (ovary) Neoclassical Greek ᾠοφόρον (ōophóron), ovary, egg-bearing Oophorectomy
ophthalm(o)- Of or pertaining to the (eye) Ancient Greek ὀφθαλμός (ophthalmós), the eye Ophthalmology
opistho- back, behind, rear[8] Greek roots, ὄπισθεν, opisthen meaning "behind" Opisthotonus
-opsy Examination or inspection Ancient Greek ὄψις (opsis), sight Biopsy, autopsy
optic(o)- Of or relating to chemical properties of the eye Middle French (optique) < Greek ὀπτικός (optikós); cognate with Latin oculus, relating to the eye Opticochemical, biopsy
or(o)- Of or pertaining to the mouth Latin (ōs, or-), mouth Oral
-or one who   doctor
orchi(o)-, orchid(o)-, orch(o)- testis Greek ὀρχις (orkhis, orkhi-) Orchiectomy, orchidectomy
orth(o)- Denoting something as straight or correct Ancient Greek ὀρθός (orthós), straight, correct, normal Orthodontist
-osis a condition, disease or increase Greek -ωσις Harlequin type ichthyosis, psychosis, osteoporosis
osse- bony Latin Osseous
ossi- bone Latin Peripheral ossifying fibroma
ost(e)-, oste(o)- bone Greek ὀστέον Osteoporosis, Osteoarthritis
ot(o)- Of or pertaining to the ear Ancient Greek οὖς, ὠτ- (ous, ōt-), the ear Otology
-ous pertaining to Latin -osus porous
ovari(o)- Of or pertaining to the ovaries Latin (ōvarium), ovary Ovariectomy
ovo-, ovi-, ov- Of or pertaining to the eggs, the ovum Latin (ōvum), egg, ovum Ovogenesis
oxo- addition of oxygen Greek ὀξύς  
oxy- sharp, acid, acute, oxygen Greek ὀξύς(oxus) Oxytocin, oxygenated, oxycodone


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
pachy- thick Greek παχύς pachyderma
palpebr- Of or pertaining to the eyelid (uncommon as a root) Latin (palpebra), eyelid palpebra
pan-, pant(o)- Denoting something as 'complete' or containing 'everything'; "all" Ancient Greek πᾶς, παν- (pas, pan-), all, every panophobia, panopticon, pancytopenia (deficiency in 'ALL' blood cell types - erythrocytes, leukocytes, thrombocytes)[9]
papill- Of or pertaining to the nipple (of the chest/breast) Latin (papilla), nipple; diminutive of papula (see below) papillitis
papul(o)- Indicates papulosity, a small elevation or swelling in the skin, a pimple, swelling Latin (papula), pimple, pustle; a small elevation or swelling in the skin papulation
para- alongside of Ancient Greek παρά (para) paracyesis
-paresis slight paralysis Greek πάρεσις hemiparesis
parvo- small Latin parvus Parvovirus
path(o)- disease Greek πάθος Pathology
-pathy Denotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorder Ancient Greek πάθος (pathos), suffering, accident sociopathy, neuropathy
pauci- Few Latin paucus Pauci-immune
pector- breast or chest Latin pectus pectoralgia, pectoriloquy, pectorophony
ped-, -ped-, -pes Of or pertaining to the foot; -footed Latin pēspēd-, foot Pedoscope
ped-, pedo- Of or pertaining to the child Ancient Greek παιδός, child pediatrics. pedophilia
pelv(i)-, pelv(o)- hip bone Latin Pelvis
-penia deficiency Greek πενία osteopenia
peo- Of or pertaining to the penis Greek πέος (peos) Peotomy
-pepsia Denotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract. Ancient Greek πεπτός (peptós) cooked, digested < πέσσω (péssō) I boil, cook; digest Dyspepsia
per- through Latin percutaneous
peri- Denoting something with a position 'surrounding' or 'around' another Ancient Greek περί (peri), around Periodontal
-pexy fixation Greek πῆξις Nephropexy
phaco- lens-shaped Greek φακός phacolysis, phacometer, phacoscotoma
-phage, -phagia Forms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestion Ancient Greek φαγία (phagía) eating < φαγεῖν (phagein) to eat Sarcophagia
-phago- eating, devouring Greek -φάγος phagocyte
phagist- Forms nouns that denote a person who 'feeds on' the first element or part of the word Ancient Greek φαγιστής (phagistēs) eater; see -phagia Lotophagi
-phagy Forms nouns that denotes 'feeding on' the first element or part of the word Ancient Greek φαγία (phagia) eating; see -phagia hematophagy
phall- phallus Greek φαλλός (phallos) Aphallia
pharmac- drug, medication Greek φάρμακον pharmacology
pharyng- Of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavity Ancient Greek φάρυγξ, φαρυγγ- (phárynx, pháryng-), throat, windpipe; chasm pharyngitis, pharyngoscopy
-phil(ia) attraction for Greek φιλία hemophilia
phleb- Of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein Ancient Greek φλέψ, φλεβ- (phleps, phlebo-), blood-vessel, vein phlebography, phlebotomy
-phobia exaggerated fear, sensitivity, aversion Greek φόβος arachnophobia
phon- sound Greek φωνή phonograph, symphony
phos- Of or pertaining to light or its chemical properties, now historic and used rarely. See the common root phot- below. Ancient Greek φῶς, φωτ- (phōs, phōt-), light phosphene
phot- Of or pertaining to light Ancient Greek φῶς, φωτ- (phōs, phōt-), light photopathy
phren-phrenic- the mind Greek φρήν, φρεν- phrenic nerve, schizophrenia
phyllo- leaf-like   phyllodes tumour
phyt- to grow   hydrophyte
pia- soft   pia mater
piri- Pear Latin pirum, pear Piriformis muscle
-plasia formation, development Greek πλάσις Achondroplasia
-plasty surgical repair, reconstruction Greek πλαστός rhinoplasty
-plegia paralysis Greek πληγή paraplegia
pleio- more, excessive, multiple Greek πλεῖον pleiomorphism
pleur- Of or pertaining to the ribs Latin (pleura) from Ancient Greek πλευρόν (pleurón), rib, side of the body Pleurogenous
-plexy stroke or seizure Greek πλῆξις Cataplexy
pne-pneum- air, breath, lung Ancient Greek πνεῖν (pneîn), πνεῦμα, πνεύματος(pneûma), πνεύμων (pneúmōn) apnea, pneumatology, pneumonocyte, pneumonia
pod-, -pod-, -pus Of or pertaining to the foot, -footed Ancient Greek πούς, ποδ- (poús, pod-), foot podiatry
-poiesis production   hematopoiesis
polio- Denoting a grey color Ancient Greek πολιός (poliós), "grey" poliomyelitis
poly- Denotes a 'plurality' of something Ancient Greek πολυς (polys), "much, many" polymyositis
por- pore, porous πόρος (póros) pore
porphyr- Denotes a purple color Ancient Greek πορπύρα (porphýra), "purple" porphyroblast
post- Denotes something as 'after' or 'behind' another Latin (post), after, behind postoperation, postmortem
pre- Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) Medieval Latin (pre-) < (Classical) Latin (præ), before, in front of premature birth
presby- old age Greek presbyopia, presbycusis
prim- Denotes something as 'first' or 'most-important' Latin prīmus, first, most important primary
pro- Denotes something as 'before' another (in [physical] position or time) Ancient Greek προ (pro), before, in front of procephalic
proct- anus, rectum   proctology
prosop- face Greek (prosopon), face, mask prosopagnosia
prot- Denotes something as 'first' or 'most important' Ancient Greek πρωτος (prōtos), first; principal, most important protoneuron
pseud- Denotes something false or fake Ancient Greek pseudoephedrine
psor- Itching   psoriasis
psych- Of or pertaining to the mind Ancient Greek ψυχή (psyché), breath, life, soul psychology, psychiatry
pterygo- Pertaining to a wing Greek lateral pterygoid plate
-ptosis falling, drooping, downward placement, prolapse   apoptosis, nephroptosis
-ptysis spitting Greek hemoptysis, the spitting of blood derived from the lungs or bronchial tubes
pulmon-, pulmo- Of or relating to the lungs Latin (pulmo, pulmōn-, usually used in plural), a lung pulmonary
py- pus Greek πύον pyometra
pyel- pelvis Ancient Greek (pyelos) pyelonephritis
pykno- to thicken (as the nucleus does in early stages of cell death) Greek πυκνωνω, to thicken or condense pyknosis
pylor- gate Greek pyloric sphincter
pyr- fever Greek πῦρ, πυρετός antipyretic


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
quadr(i)- four Latin quadriceps


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
radi- radiation Latin radiowave
radic- referring to the beginning, or the root, of a structure, usually a nerve or a vein Latin (radix) root radiculopathy
re- again, back Latin relapse
rect- rectum Latin rectal, rectum
ren- Of or pertaining to the kidney Latin (rēnes), kidney renal
reticul(o)- net Latin reticulocyte
retro- backward, behind Latin retroversion, retroverted
rhabd(o)- rod shaped, striated Greek ῥάβδος rhabdomyolysis
rhachi(o)- spine Greek ῥάχις rachial, rachialgia, rachidian, rachiopathy
rhin(o)- Of or pertaining to the nose Ancient Greek ῥίς, ῥῑνο- (rhīs, rhīno-), nose rhinoceros, rhinoplasty
rhod(o)- Denoting a rose-red color Ancient Greek ῥόδον (rhódon), rose rhodophyte
-rrhage burst forth Greek -ρραγία Hemorrhage
-rrhagia rapid flow of blood Greek -ρραγία menorrhagia
-rrhaphy surgical suturing Greek ῥαφή neurorrhaphy
-rrhea (AmE) flowing, discharge Greek -ρροια Galactorrhea, Diarrhea
-rrhexis rupture Greek ῥῆξις Karyorrhexis
-rrhoea (BrE) flowing, discharge Greek -ρροια diarrhoea
rubr(o)- Of or pertaining to the red nucleus of the brain Latin (ruber), red Rubrospinal
-rupt Break or burst Latin Erupt, Interrupt


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
salping(o)- Of or pertaining to tubes e.g. fallopian tubes Ancient Greek σάλπιγξ, σαλπιγγ-, (sálpinx, salpingo-) trumpet (literally) Salpingectomy, salpingopharyngeus muscle
sangui-, sanguine- Of or pertaining to blood Latin (sanguis, sanguin-), blood Sanguine
sarco- muscular, fleshlike Greek σάρξ, σαρκ- sarcoma, sarcoidosis
schist(o)- split, cleft Greek σχιστός (schistos) schistocyte
schiz(o)- Denoting something 'split' or 'double-sided' Ancient Greek σχιζω; irregular formation of the verb σχίζειν (schizein), to cut, split Schizophrenia
scler(o)- hard Greek σκληρός Scleroderma
-sclerosis hardening Greek σκλήρωσις Atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis
scoli(o)- twisted Greek σκολιός (skolios) scoliosis
-scope instrument for viewing Greek -σκόπος stethoscope
-scopy use of instrument for viewing Greek -σκοπία endoscopy
scoto- darkness Greek σκότος (skotos) scotopic vision
semi- one-half, partly Latin semiconscious
sial(o)- saliva, salivary gland Greek σίαλος (sialos) sialagogue
sigmoid(o)- sigmoid, S-shaped curvature Greek σιγμοειδής sigmoid colon
sinistr(o)- left, left side Latin  
sinus- Of or pertaining to the sinus Latin (sinus), a curve, bend, bay Sinusitis
sito- food, grain Greek σῖτος (sitos) Sitophobia
somat(o)-, somatico- body, bodily Greek σῶμα (sōma) somatic
somn(o) Sleep   insomniac
-spadias slit, fissure Greek σπάδων hypospadias, epispadias
spasmo- spasm Greek σπασμός Spasmodic dysphonia
sperma-, spermo-, spermato- semen, spermatozoa Greek σπέρμα (sperma) Spermatogenesis
splanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)- viscera Greek σπλάγχνον splanchnology
splen(o)- spleen Greek σπλήν, σπλην- Splenectomy
spondyl(o)- Of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra Greek σπόνδυλος / σφόνδυλος, (spóndylos, sphóndylos), the spine Spondylitis
squamos(o)- Denoting something as 'full of scales' or 'scaly' Latin sqāmōsus, full of scales; scaly Squamous cell
-stalsis contraction Greek στάλσις Peristalsis
-stasis stopping, standing Greek στάσις Cytostasis, homeostasis
-staxis dripping, trickling Greek στάξις, στακτός  
sten(o)- Denoting something as 'narrow in shape' or pertaining to narrowness Ancient Greek στενός (stenos); narrow, short Stenography
-stenosis abnormal narrowing in a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure Ancient Greek στένωσις (stenōsis) restenosis, stenosis
steth- Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest, the area above the breast and under the neck Ancient Greek στῆθος (stēthos), chest, cuirass stethoscope
stheno- strength, force, power Greek σθένος  
stom-stomat- Of or pertaining to the mouth; an artificially created opening[12] Ancient Greek στόμα, στοματ- (stóma, stomat-), "mouth" stomatogastric, stomatognathic system
-stomy creation of an opening Greek -στομία colostomy
sub- beneath, under Latin subcutaneous tissue
super- in excess, above, superior Latin superior vena cava
supra- above, excessive Latin supraorbital vein
sy, syl-, sym-, syn-, sys- Indicates similarity, likeness, or being together; assimilates before some consonants: before l to syl-s to sys-, before a labial consonant to sym-. Ancient Greek συν- (syn), with, together symptom, synalgia, synesthesia, syssarcosis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
tachy- Denoting something as fast, irregularly fast Ancient Greek ταχύς (tachys), fast, quickly tachycardia
-tension, -tensive pressure Latin Hypertension
terato- Monster Ancient Greek teras(s) terata(pl) teratoma, teratogen
tetan- rigid, tense Ancient Greek tetanos tetanus
thec- case, sheath Ancient Greek θήκη (thēkē) Intrathecal
thel- Of or pertaining to a nipple (uncommon as a prefix) Ancient Greek θηλή (thēlē), a teat, nipple Theleplasty, thelarche
thely- Denoting something as 'relating to a woman, feminine' Ancient Greek θῆλυς (thēlys), female, feminine Thelygenous
therap- treatment Ancient Greek (therapeía) hydrotherapy, therapeutic
therm(o)- heat Ancient Greek θερμός (thermós) Hypothermia
thorac(i)-, thorac(o)-, thoracico- Of or pertaining to the upper chest, chest; the area above the breast and under the neck Latin (thōrāx) < Ancient Greek θώραξ (thōrax), chest, cuirass thoracic, thorax
thromb(o)- Of or relating to a blood clot, clotting of blood Ancient Greek θρόμβος (thrómbos), lump, piece, clot of blood Thrombus, thrombocytopenia
thyr(o)- thyroid Greek θυρεο-ειδής
thym- emotions Greek: "thymos", spirit, soul; courage; breath, mind, emotions dysthymia
-tic pertaining to Greek -τικός  
toco- childbirth Greek τόκος  
-tome cutting instrument Greek τομή (tomē)  
-tomy act of cutting; incising, incision Greek -τομία Gastrotomy
ton- tone, tension, pressure Greek τόνος (tonos)  
-tony tension Greek -τονία  
top(o)- place, topical Greek τόπος (topos) Topical anesthetic
tort(i)- twisted Latin tortus Torticollis
tox(i)-, tox(o)-, toxic(o)- toxin, poison Greek τοξικόν Toxoplasmosis
trache(a)- trachea Greek τραχεία Tracheotomy
trachel(o)- Of or pertaining to the neck Ancient Greek τράχηλος (tráchēlos), neck tracheloplasty
trans- Denoting something as moving or situated across or through Latin trāns, "across, through" Transfusion
tri- three Latin triangle, triceps
trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)- Of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structure Ancient Greek θρίξ, τριχ(ο)- (thríxtrich(o)-), hair Trichocyst
-tripsy crushing Greek τρίψις Lithotripsy
-trophy nourishment, development Greek -τροφία, τροφή Pseudohypertrophy
tympan(o)- eardrum Greek τύμπανον Tympanocentesis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-ula, -ule small Latin Nodule
ultra- beyond, excessive Latin ultra Ultrasound, ultraviolet
umbilic- Of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Latin umbilīcus, navel, belly-button Umbilical
ungui- Of or pertaining to the nail, a claw Latin unguis, nail, claw Unguiform, Ungual
un(i)- one Latin unus Unilateral hearing loss
ur- Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system Greek οὐρεῖν (oureîn); οὖρον (oûron), urine; οὐρητήρ (ourētḗr); οὐρήθρα (ourḗthra) antidiuretic, diuresis, diuretic, dysuria, enuresis, polyurea, polyuria, uraemia/uremia, uremic, ureter, urethra, urology
uric- uric acid Greek οὐρικός  
urin- Of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system Latin ūrīna, urine < Ancient Greek ουρον (ouron), see above. Uriniferous
uter(o)- Of or pertaining to the uterus or womb Latin (uterus), womb, uterus Uterus


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
vagin- Of or pertaining to the vagina Latin (vāgīna), sheath, scabbard Vagina
varic(o)- swollen or twisted vein Latin varix varicose
vas(o)- duct, blood vessel Latin vasoconstriction
vasculo- blood vessel Latin vāsculum  
ven- Of or pertaining to the veins, venous blood, and the vascular system Latin (vēna), blood-vessel, vein Venule, Venospasm
ventr(o)- Of or pertaining to the belly; the stomach cavities Latin (venter), the belly, the stomach; the womb Ventrodorsal
ventricul(o)- Of or pertaining to the ventricles; any hollow region inside an organ Latin (venter), the ventricles of the heart, the ventricles of the brain Cardiac ventriculography
-version turning Latin versiō anteversion, retroversion
vesic(o)- Of or pertaining to the bladder Latin (vēsīca), bladder; blister vesical arteries
viscer(o)- Of or pertaining to the internal organs, the viscera Latin (viscus, pl. viscera), internal organ(s) Viscera


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
xanth(o)- Denoting a yellow color, an abnormally yellow color Greek ξανθός (xanthós), yellow Xanthopathy
xen(o)- Foreign, different Greek ξένος (xénos), stranger Xenograft
xer(o)- dry, desert-like Greek ξηρός (xērós), dry Xerostomia, xeroderma
xiph- sword Greek ξίφος (xíphos), sword xiphisternum, xiphoid, xiphoidalgia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-y condition or process of Latin -ia < Greek -ία Surgery


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
zo(o)- animal, animal life Greek ζῷον zoology
zym(o)- fermentation Greek ζύμη enzyme, lysozyme

English meanings

This section contains lists of different root classification (e.g. body components, quantity, description, etc.). Each list is alphabetized by English meanings, with the corresponding Greek and Latin roots given.

Roots of the body

Roots of bodily concepts

Bodily concept Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
Digestion -pepsia - -
Disease -pathy - -
Eating -phagia -vory -

Roots of body parts and components

(Internal anatomy, external anatomy, body fluids, body substances)

Body part or component Greek root Latin root Other root
abdomen lapar- abdomin- -
aorta aort(o)- aort(o)- -
arm brachi- arm- -
armpit maschal- axill- -
artery arteri- -
back not- dors- -
big toe allic-, hallic- -
bladder cyst- vesic- -
blood haemat-, hemat- (haem-, hem-) sangui-, sanguin- -
blood clot thromb- -
blood vessel angi- vas-, vascul- -
body somat-, som- corpor- -
bone oste- ossi- -
bone marrow, marrow myel- medull- -
brain encephal(o)- cerebr- -
breast mast- mamm(o)- -
chest steth- pector- -
cheek parei- bucc- -
ear ot(o)- aur(i)- -
eggs, ova oo- ov- -
eye ophthalm(o)- ocul(o)- optic(o)- (French)
eyelid blephar(o)- cili-, palpebr- -
face prosop(o)- faci(o)- -
fallopian tubes salping(o)- -
fat, fatty tissue lip(o)- adip- -
finger dactyl(o)- digit- -
forehead - front(o)- -
gallbladder cholecyst(o)- fell- -
genitals, sexually undifferentiated gon(o)-, phall(o)- - -
gland aden(o)- - -
glans penis or clitoridis balan(o)- - -
gums - gingiv- -
hair trich(o)- capill- -
hand cheir(o)-, chir(o)- manu- -
head cephal(o)- capit(o)- -
heart cardi(o)- cordi- -
hip, hip-joint - cox- -
horn cerat(o)- cornu- -
intestine enter(o)- - -
jaw gnath(o)- - -
kidney nephr(o)- ren- -
knee gon- genu- -
lip cheil(o)-, chil(o)- labi(o)- -
liver hepat(o)-, (hepatic-) jecor- -
loins, pubic region episi(o)- pudend- -
lungs pneumon- pulmon(i)-, (pulmo-) -
marrow, bone marrow myel(o)- medull- -
mind psych- ment- -
mouth stomat(o)- or- -
muscle my(o)- - -
nail onych(o)- ungui- -
navel omphal(o)- umbilic- -
neck trachel(o)- cervic- -
nerve; the nervous system neur(o)- nerv- -
nipple, teat thele- papill-, mammill- -
nose rhin(o)- nas- -
ovary oophor(o)- ovari(o)- -
pelvis pyel(o)- pelv(i)- -
penis pe(o)- - -
pupil (of the eye) cor-, core-, coro- - -
rib pleur(o)- cost(o)- -
rib cage thorac(i)-, thorac(o)- - -
shoulder om(o)- humer(o)- -
sinus - sinus- -
skin dermat(o)-, (derm-) cut-, cuticul- -
skull crani(o)- - -
stomach gastr(o)- ventr(o)-
testis orchi(o)-, orchid(o)- -
throat (upper throat cavity) pharyng(o)- -
throat (lower throat cavity/voice box]) laryng(o)- -
thumb - pollic-
tooth odont(o)- dent(i)-
tongue gloss-, glott- lingu(a)-
toe dactyl(o)- digit-
tumour cel-, onc(o)- tum-
ureter ureter(o)- ureter(o)-
urethra urethr(o)-, urethr(a)- urethr(o)-, urethr(a)-
urine, urinary system ur(o)- urin(o)-
uterine tubes salping(o)- salping(o)-
uterus hyster(o)-, metr(o)- uter(o)-
vagina colp(o)- vagin-
vein phleb(o)- ven-
vulva episi(o)- vulv-
womb hyster(o)-, metr(o)- uter(o)-
wrist carp(o)- carp(o)-

Roots of color

Color Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root
black melan- atr-, nigr-
blue cyan- cerule-
gold chrys- aur-
graygrey poli- can-
green chlor- vir-
purple porphyr- purpur-, purpureo-
red erythr-, rhod- rub-, rubr-, ruf-
red-orange cirrh-
silver argent-
white leuc-, leuk- alb-, cand-
yellow xanth- flav- jaun- (French)

Roots of description

(Size, shape, strength, etc.)

Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root
bad, incorrect cac-, dys- mal- mis-
bent, crooked ankyl- prav-
big mega-, megal(o)- magn(i)-
biggest megist- maxim-
broad, wide eury- lat(i)-
cold cry(o)- frig(i)-
dead necr(o)- mort-
equal is(o)- equ(i)-
false pseud(o)- fals(i)-
female, feminine thely- -
flat platy- plan(i)-
good, well eu- ben(e)-, bon(i)-
great mega-, megal(o)- magn(i)-
hard scler(o)- dur(i)-
heavy bar(o)- grav(i)-
hollow coel(o)- cav(i)-
huge megal(o)- magn(i)-
incorrect, bad cac(o)-, dys- mal(e)- mis-
irregular poikil(o)
large; extremely large mega- magn(i)-
largest megist- maxim-
long macr(o)- long(i)-
male, masculine arseno- vir-
narrow sten(o)- angust(i)-
new ne(o)- nov(i)-
normal, correct orth(o)- rect(i)-
old paleo- veter-
sharp oxy- ac-
short brachy- brev(i)-
small micr(o)- parv(i)- (rare)
smallest - minim-
slow brady- tard(i)-
fast tachy- celer-
soft malac(o)- moll(i)-
straight orth(o)- rect(i)-
thick pachy- crass(i)-
varied, various poikilo- vari-
well, good eu- ben(e)-
wide, broad eury- lat(i)-

Roots of position

Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root
aroundsurrounding peri- circum-
left levo- laev-, sinistr-
middle mes- medi-
right dexi- dextr-

Prefixes of quantity or amount

Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root
double diplo- dupli-
equal iso- equi-
few oligo- pauci-
half hemi- semi- demi- (French)
many, much poly- multi-
twice dis- bis-

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