Appendix II: Anatomical Prefixes and Suffixes

Source: Wikipedia. 2021. List of Medical Roots, Suffixes, and Prefixes.,_suffixes_and_prefixes.

Alphabetical Index:

A  B  C  D   E  G  H  I  J-K  L  M  N  O  Q-R  S  T  U  V  X-Z

Index by Topic:

Bodily Concepts   Body Parts and Substances  Colour  Description  Position  Quantity or Amount


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
a-, an- not, without (alpha privative) 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; one afflicted with Greek -ακός (-akós) cardiac, hydrophobiac
acanth- thorn or spine 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 (ákron), highest or farthest point acrocrany, acromegaly, acroosteolysis, acroposthia
-acusis hearing Greek ἀκουστικός (akoustikós), of or for hearing paracusis
-ad toward, in the direction of Latin ad, toward, to dorsad, ventrad
ad- at, increase, on, toward Latin ad-, to adduction, addition
aden- of or relating to a gland Greek ἀδήν, ἀδέν-, (adḗn, adén-), 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 the adrenal glands Latin ad + rēnēs, kidneys adrenal artery
-aemia, ema, hemat (BrE) blood condition Greek ἀναιμία (anaimía), without blood anaemia
aer(o)- air, gas Greek ἀήρ, ἀέρος (aḗr, aéros) aerosinusitis, aerodynamics
aesthesi- (BrE) sensation Greek αἴσθησις (aísthēsis) anaesthesia
-al pertaining to Latin -alis abdominal, femoral
alb- denoting a white or pale color Latin albus, white albino, tunica albica
alge(si)- pain Greek ἄλγος (álgos) analgesic
-algia, alg(i)o- pain Greek myalgia
all- denoting something as different, or as an addition Greek ἄλλος (állos), another, other alloantigen, allopathy
ambi- denoting something as positioned on both sides; describing both of two Latin (ambi-, ambo), both, on both sides ambidextrous
amnio- Pertaining to the membranous fetal sac (amnion) Greek ἄμνιον (ámnion) amniocentesis
amph(i)- on both sides Greek ἀμφί (amphí) amphicrania, amphismela, amphomycin
amylo- starchy, carbohydrate-related Latin amylum (starch) amylase, amylophagia
an- not, without (alpha privative) Greek analgesia
ana- back, again, up Greek ἀνα- (ana-) anaplasia
an- anus Latin anal
andr- pertaining to a man Greek ἀνήρ, ἀνδρ- (anḗr, andr-), male android, andrology, androgen
angi- blood vessel Greek ἀγγεῖον (angeîon) angiogram, angioplasty
aniso- describing something as unequal Greek ἄνῑσος (ánīsos), unequal anisocytosis, anisotropic
ankyl-, ancyl- denoting something as crooked or bent Greek ἀγκύλος (ankúlos), crooked, curved ankylosis
ante- describing something as positioned in front of another thing Latin (āntē), before, in front of antepartum
anthropo- human Greek άνθρωπος (ánthrōpos), human anthropology
anti- describing something as ‘against’ or ‘opposed to’ another Greek αντι (anti), against antibody, antipsychotic
apo- away, separated from, derived from Greek ἀπό (apó) apoptosis
archi- first, primitive Greek ἀρχι- (arkhi-) archinephron
arsen(o)- of or pertaining to a male; masculine Greek αρσενικός (arsenikós) arsenoblast
arteri(o)- of or pertaining to an artery Greek ἀρτηρία (artēría), a wind-pipe, artery (used distinctly versus a vein) arteriole, artery
arthr- of or pertaining to the joints, limbs Greek ἄρθρον (árthron), a joint, limb arthritis
articul- joint Latin articulus articulation
-ary pertaining to Latin -arius biliary tract, coronary
-ase enzyme from Greek διάστασις (δια- (dia-, part, apart) + στάσις (stásis, stand)), division lactase
-asthenia weakness Greek ἀσθένεια (asthéneia) myasthenia gravis
atel(o)- imperfect or incomplete development Greek ἀτελής (atelḗs), without end, incomplete atelocardia
ather- fatty deposit, soft gruel-like deposit ἀθάρη (athárē) atherosclerosis
-ation process Latin medication, civilization
atri- an atrium (esp. heart atrium) Latin atrioventricular
aur- of or pertaining to the ear Latin (auris), the ear aural
aut- self Greek αὐτός, αὐτο- (autós, auto-) autoimmune, autograph, autobiography, automobile, automatic
aux(o)- increase; growth Greek αὐξάνω, αὔξω (auxánō, aúxō) 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 French azote, nitrogen; from Greek άζωτικός (ázōtikós) ἀ- (a-, no, without) + ζωή (zōḗ, life)), mephitic air 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 bi- binary vision, bicycle, bisexual
bio- life Greek βίος (bíos) biology, biological
blast- germinate or bud Greek βλαστός (blastós) blastomere
blephar(o)- of or pertaining to the eyelid Greek βλέφαρον (blépharon), eyelid blepharoplasty
brachi(o)- of or relating to the arm Latin (bracchium), from Greek βραχίων (brakhíōn), arm brachium of inferior colliculus
brachy- indicating ‘short’ or less commonly ‘little’ Greek βραχύς (brakhús), short, little, shallow brachycephalic
brady- slow Greek βραδύς (bradús), slow bradycardia
bronch(i)- of or relating to the bronchus Latin (bronchus); 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; 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, decapitation
carcin- cancer Greek καρκίνος (karkínos), crab carcinoma
cardi- of or pertaining to the heart Greek καρδία (kardía), heart cardiology
carp- of or pertaining to the wrist Latin (carpus) < Greek καρπός (karpós), wrist; NOTE: This root should not be confused with the mirror root carp(o)- meaning fruit. carpal, carpopedal spasm, metacarpal
cata- down, under Greek κατά (katá) catabolism, catacombs, cataract
-cele pouching, hernia Greek κήλη (kḗlē) hydrocele, varicocele
-centesis surgical puncture for aspiration Greek κέντησις (kéntēsis) amniocentesis
cephal(o)- of or pertaining to the head (as a whole) Greek κεφαλή (kephalḗ), the head cephalalgy, hydrocephalus
cerat(o)- of or pertaining to the cornu; a horn Greek κέρας, κερατ- (kéras, kerat-), a horn ceratoid
cerebell(o)- of or pertaining to the cerebellum Latin cerebellum, little brain cerebellum
cerebr(o)- of or pertaining to the brain Latin cerebrum, brain cerebrology
cervic- of or pertaining to the neck or the cervix Latin cervix, cervīc-), neck, cervix cervical vertebrae, cervicodorsal
cheil- of or pertaining to the lips Greek χεῖλος (kheîlos), lip, mouth, beak angular cheilitis
chem(o)- chemistry, drug Greek χημεία (khēmeía) chemical, chemistry, chemotherapy
chir-, cheir- of or pertaining to the hand Greek χείρ, χειρο- (kheír, kheiro-), hand chiropractor
chlor- denoting a green color Greek χλωρός (khlōrós), green, yellow-green chlorophyll
chol(e)- of or pertaining to bile Greek χολή (kholḗ), bile cholaemia (UK) / cholemia (US), cholecystitis
cholecyst(o)- of or pertaining to the gallbladder Greek χοληκύστις (kholēkústis), gallbladder < χολή (kholḗ), bile, gall + κύστις (kústis), bladder cholecystectomy
chondr(i)o- cartilage, gristle, granule, granular Greek χονδρός (grc) chondrocalcinosis
chrom(ato)- color Greek χρῶμα (khrôma) hemochromatosis
-cidal, -cide killing, destroying Latin -cīda, cutter, killer bacteriocidal, suicide, suicidal
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 (klastós), broken osteoclast
clostr- spindle Greek κλωστήρ (klōstḗr), spindle, thread Clostridium
co- with, together, in association Latin co- coenzymes, co-organization
-coccus, ‑coccal round, spherical Greek κόκκος (kókkos), berry, seed Streptococcus
col-, colo-, colono- colon Greek κόλον (kólon) colonoscopy
colp- of or pertaining to the vagina Greek κόλπος (kólpos), bosom, womb; hollow, depth colposcopy
com- with, together Latin cum communicate
contra- against Latin contrā contraindication
cor- with, together Latin cor- corrective
cor- of or pertaining to the eye’s pupil Greek κόρη (kórē), girl, doll; pupil of the eye corectomy
cord(i)- of or pertaining to the heart (uncommon as a prefix) Latin cor, heart commotio cordis,
cornu- applied to describing processes and parts of the body as likened or similar to horns Latin cornū, horn greater cornu
coron- pertaining to the heart Latin corōna coronary heart disease
cortic- cortex, outer region Latin cortex, bark of a tree corticosteroid
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, from Greek κρᾱνίον (krāníon), cranium, skull, bones enclosing the brain craniology
-crine, crin(o)- to secrete Greek κρίνω (krínō), separate, divide, discern endocrine
cry(o)- cold Greek κρύος (krúos), cold, frost cryoablation, cryogenic
cutane- skin Latin cutis subcutaneous
cyan(o)- having a blue color Greek κύανος, κυάνεος (kúanos, kuáneos, blue, of the color blue) cyanopsia
cycl- circle, cycle Greek κύκλος (kúklos) cyclosis, cyclops, tricycle
cyph(o)- denotes something as bent (uncommon as a prefix) Greek κυφός (kuphós), bent, hunchback cyphosis
cyst(o)-, cyst(i)- of or pertaining to the urinary bladder Greek κύστις (kústis), bladder, cyst cystotomy
cyt(o)-, -cyte cell Greek κύτος (kútos), a hollow, vessel cytokine, leukocyte, cytoplasm


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 Greek δάκτυλος (dáktulos), finger, toe dactylology, polydactyly
de- from, down, or away from Latin de- dehydrate, demonetize, demotion
dent- of or pertaining to teeth Latin dens, dentis, tooth dentist, dental
dermat(o)-, derm(o)- of or pertaining to the skin Greek δέρμα, δέρματος (dérma, dérmatos), 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 dis- dilation, distal, dilute
dia- through, during, across Greek διά (diá), through, during, across dialysis
dif- apart, separation Latin dif- 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 (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- twelve Latin duodeni duodenal atresia, duodenum
dura- hard Latin durus dura mater
dynam(o)- force, energy, power Greek δύναμις (dúnamis) hand strength dynamometer, dynamics
-dynia pain Greek ὀδύνη (odúnē) vulvodynia
dys- bad, difficult, defective, abnormal Greek δυσ- (dus-) dysentery, dysphagia, dysphasia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-eal (see -al) pertaining to English -al, from Latin -ālis adenohypophyseal, corneal, esophageal, perineal
ec- out, away Greek ἐκ (ek), out of, from ectopia, ectopic pregnancy
ect(o)- outer, outside Greek ἐκτός (ektós) ectoblast, ectoderm, ectoplasm
-ectasia, -ectasis expansion, dilation Greek ἔκτασις (éktasis) bronchiectasis, telangiectasia
-ectomy denotes a surgical operation or removal of a body part; resection, excision Greek ἐκτομή (ektomḗ), excision mastectomy
-emesis vomiting condition Greek ἕμεσις (hémesis) hematemesis
-emia blood condition (Am. Engl.) Greek αἷμα (haîma), “blood” anemia
encephal(o)- of or pertaining to the brain; see also cerebro- Greek ἐγκέφαλος (enképhalos), the brain encephalogram
endo- denotes something as inside or within Greek ἔνδον (éndon), inside, internal endocrinology, endospore, endoskeleton
eosin(o)- having a red color Greek ἠώς (ēṓs), dawn, daybreak, morning red, goddess of the dawn (Ἠώς, Ēṓs) eosinophil granulocyte
enter(o)- of or pertaining to the intestine Greek ἔντερον (énteron), intestine gastroenterology
epi- on, upon Greek ἐπι- (epi-), before, upon, on, outside, outside of epicardium, epidermis, epidural, episclera, epistaxis, epidemic
episi(o)- of or pertaining to the pubic region, the loins Greek ἐπίσιον (epísion), the pubic area, loins; vulva episiotomy
erythr(o)- having a red color Greek ἐρυθρός (eruthrós), red erythrocyte
-esophageal, -esophago- gullet (AmE) Greek οἰσοφάγος (oisophágos) esophagus
esthesio- sensation (AmE) Greek αἴσθησις (aísthēsis), to perceive esthesioneuroblastoma, esthesia
eu- true, good, well, new εὖ (eû) eukaryote
ex- out of, away from Latin ex- excision, except
exo- denotes something as “outside” another Greek ἔξω (éxō), outside of, external exophthalmos, exoskeleton, exoplanet
extra- outside Latin extra, outside of, beyond extradural hematoma extraordinary, extreme


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
faci- of or pertaining to the face Latin faciēs, the face, countenance facioplegic, facial
fibr- fiber Latin fibra, fiber, filament, entrails[2] fibril, fibrin, fibrinous pericarditis, fibroblast, fibrosis
fil- fine, hair-like Latin fīlum, thread filament, filum terminale
foramen hole, opening, or aperture, particularly in bone Latin forāmen foramen magnum
-form used to form adjectives indicating “having the form of” Latin fōrma, form, shape cruciform, cuneiform, falciform
fore- before or ahead Old English fōr(e)-, before, in front of foregut, foreshadow
fossa a hollow or depressed area; a 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- milk Greek γάλα, γαλακτ- (gála, galakt-) galactorrhea, galaxy
gastr- of or pertaining to the stomach Greek γαστήρ, γαστρ- (gastḗr, gastr-), stomach, belly gastroenterology, gastropod
-gen *born in, from Greek -γενής (-genḗs), from γεν-νάειν (gen-náein), to be born *endogen
of a certain kind heterogenous
-genic formative; pertaining to producing Greek -γενής (-genḗs) cardiogenic shock
genu- of or pertaining to the knee Latin genū, knee genu valgum
-geusia taste Greek γεῦσις (geûsis) ageusia, dysgeusia, hypergeusia, hypogeusia, parageusia
gingiv- of or pertaining to the gums Latin gingīva, gum gingivitis
glauc(o)- Having a grey or bluish-grey colour Greek γλαυκός (glaukós), grey, bluish-grey glaucoma
gloss(o)-, glott(o)- of or pertaining to the tongue Greek γλῶσσα, γλῶττα (glôssa, glôtta), tongue glossology
gluco- sweet Greek γλυκύς (glukús), sweet glucocorticoid, glucose
glyc- sugar Greek γλυκύς (glukús), sweet glycolysis
gnath- of or pertaining to the jaw Greek γνάθος (gnáthos), jaw gnathodynamometer
-gnosis knowledge Greek γνῶσις (gnôsis), inquiry, knowledge diagnosis, prognosis
gon- seed, semen; reproductive Greek γόνος (gónos), fruit, seed, procreating gonorrhea
-gram, -gramme record or picture Greek γράμμα (grámma), picture, letter, writing angiogram, gramophone
-graph instrument used to record data or picture Greek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation electrocardiograph, seismograph
-graphy process of recording Greek -γραφία (-graphía), written, drawn, graphic interpretation angiography
gyno-, gynaeco- (BrE), gyneco- (AmE) woman Greek γυνή, γυναικ (gunḗ, gunaik) gynaecology, gynecomastia, gynoecium


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
halluc- to wander in mind Latin ālūcinor, to wander in mind hallucinosis, hallucination
hem(at)-, haem(ato)- of or pertaining to blood Latin hæma[citation needed], from Greek αἷμα, αἱματ- (grc), blood hematology, older form haematology
hema-, hemo- blood (AmE) Greek αἷμα, (grc), blood hemal, hemoglobin
hemangi(o)- blood vessels Greek αἷμα, (grc), blood, + ἀγγεῖον (angeîon), vessel, urn hemangioma
hemi- one-half Greek ἡμι- (hēmi-), half cerebral hemisphere
hepat-, hepatic- of or pertaining to the liver Greek ἧπαρ, ἠπᾰτ- (hêpar, ēpat-), the liver hepatology, hepatitis
heter(o)- denotes something as “the other” (of two), as an addition, or different Greek ἕτερος (héteros), the other (of two), another; different heterogeneous
hidr(o)- sweat Greek ἱδρώς, ἱδρωτ- (hidrṓs, hidrōt-), sweat, perspiration hyperhidrosis
hist(o)-, histio- tissue Greek ἱστός (histós), web, tissue histology
home(o)- similar Greek ὅμοιος (homoios), like, resembling, similar homeopathy
hom(o)- denotes something as “the same” as another or common Greek ὁμός (homós), the same, common homosexuality, homozygote, homophobic
humer(o)- of or pertaining to the shoulder (or [rarely] the upper arm) Latin umerus, shoulder humerus
hydr(o)- water Greek ὕδωρ (húdōr), water hydrophobe, hydrogen
hyper- extreme or beyond normal Greek ὑπέρ (hupér), over, above; beyond, to the extreme hypertension, hypertrichosis
hyp(o)- below normal Greek ὑπό, ὑπο- (hupó), below, under hypovolemia, hypoxia
hyster(o)- of or pertaining to the womb or the uterus Greek ὑστέρα (hustéra), womb hysterectomy, hysteria


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
-iasis condition, formation, or presence of Latin -iasis, pathological condition or process; from Greek ἴασις (íasis), cure, repair, mend mydriasis
iatr(o)- of or pertaining to medicine or a physician (uncommon as a prefix but common as a suffix; see -iatry) Greek ἰατρός (iatrós), healer, physician iatrochemistry, iatrogenesis
-iatry denotes a field in medicine emphasizing a certain body component Greek ἰατρός (iatrós), healer, physician podiatry, psychiatry
-ic pertaining to Greek -ικός (-ikós) hepatic artery
-ics organized knowledge, treatment Latin -icus, collection of related things, theme; cognate with Greek -ικός (ikós), of, pertaining to obstetrics
idio- self, one’s own Greek ἴδιος (ídios), one’s own idiopathic
ileo- ileum Greek εἰλεός (eileós), to shut in, intestinal obstruction ileocecal valve
infra- below Latin īnfrā, below infrahyoid muscles
inter- between, among Latin inter interarticular ligament
intra- within Latin intrā intramural
ipsi- same Latin ipsi- ipsilateral
irid(o)- of or pertaining to the iris Latin īrīs, rainbow; from Greek ἶρις (îris), rainbow iridectomy
isch- restriction Greek ἴσχω (ískhō), hold back, restrain ischemia
ischio- of or pertaining to the ischium, the hip-joint Greek ἰσχίον (iskhíon), hip-joint, ischium ischioanal fossa
-ine of or pertaining to Latin -īnus, of or pertaining to; cognate with Greek -ινος, added to form adjectives relating to material, time, and so on morphine, masculine/​feminine
-ism condition, disease Greek -ισμός (-ismós), suffix forming abstract nouns of state, condition, doctrine dwarfism
-ismus spasm, contraction Greek -ισμός hemiballismus
iso- denoting something as being equal Greek ἴσος (ísos), equal isotonic
-ist one who specializes in Greek -ιστής (-istḗs), agent noun, one who practices pathologist
-ite the nature of, resembling Latin -ītēs, those belonging to, from Greek -ίτης (-ítēs) dendrite
-itis inflammation Greek -ῖτις (-îtis) fem. form of -ίτης (-ítēs), pertaining to, because it was used with the feminine noun νόσος (nósos, disease), thus -îtis nósos, disease of the, disease pertaining to tonsillitis
-ium structure, tissue Latin -ium, aggregation or mass of (such as tissue) pericardium


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
juxta- near to, alongside, or next to Latin iuxta juxtaglomerular apparatus
kal- potassium New Latin kalium, 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 (kinéō), to move, to change akinetopsia, kinesthesia
koil-[6] hollow Greek κοῖλος (koîlos) koilocyte
kyph-[7] humped Greek κυφός (kuphós), bent forward, stooping, hunchbacked kyphoscoliosis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
labi- of or pertaining to the lip Latin labia, labium, lip labiodental
lacrim(o)- tear Latin lacrima, tear from crying Lacrimal canaliculi
lact(i)-, lact(o) milk Latin lac, milk lactation
lapar(o)- of or pertaining to the abdominal wall, flank Greek λαπάρα (lapára), flank laparotomy
laryng(o)- of or pertaining to the larynx, the lower throat cavity where the voice box is Greek λᾰ́ρυγξ, (lárunx), throat, gullet larynx
latero- lateral Latin laterālis, lateral, of or belonging to the side lateral pectoral nerve
lei(o)- smooth Greek λεῖος (leîos), smooth leiomyoma
-lepsis, -lepsy attack, seizure Greek λῆψις (lêpsis), seizure epilepsy, narcolepsy
lept(o)- light, slender Greek λεπτός (leptós), thin, lean leptomeningeal
leuc(o)-, leuk(o)- denoting a white color Greek λευκός (leukós), white, bright, pale leukocyte
lingu(a)-, lingu(o)- of or pertaining to the tongue Latin lingua, tongue, speech, language linguistics
lip(o)- fat Greek λίπος (lípos), fat, lard liposuction
liss(os)- smooth Greek Λισσός (Lissós), smooth lissencephaly
lith(o)- stone, calculus Greek λῐ́θος (líthos) lithotripsy
log(o)- speech Greek λόγος (lógos) dialog, catalog, logos
-logist denotes someone who studies a certain field (the field of _____-logy); a specialist; one who treats Greek λογιστής (logistḗs), studier, practitioner (lit., accountant) oncologist, pathologist
-logy denotes the academic study or practice of a certain field; the study of Greek -λογῐ́ᾱ (-logíā) base noun for the study of something 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 λῠ́σῐς (lúsis), loosen, release, + -ic lysosome
-lysis destruction, separation Greek λῠ́σῐς (lúsis), loosen, release paralysis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
macr(o)- large, long Greek μᾰκρός (makrós), long, tall macrophage
-malacia softening Greek μαλακία (malakía), soft, weak, self-indulgent 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 Greek μαστός (mastós), breast, woman’s breast, man’s pectoral muscle mastectomy
meg(a)-, megal(o)-, -megaly enlargement, million Greek μέγᾰς (mégas), big, large, great, mighty splenomegaly, megameter
melan(o)- having a black color Greek μέλᾱς, μελανο- (mélās, melano-), black, dark melanin
melos extremity Greek μέλος (mélos), part of a body, limb, member erythromelalgia
mening(o)- membrane Greek μῆνῐγξ (mêninx) meningitis
men- month, menstrual cycle Greek μήν (mḗn), month menopause, menorrhagia
mer- part Greek μέρος (méros), part, component, region merocrine, meroblastic
mes- middle Greek μέσος (mésos), middle, between, half mesoderm
met, meta- after, beside, beyond or change Greek μετᾰ́ (metá), with, among, along with, in common with metacarpal, metacarpus, metacromion, metanephros, metatheria
-meter instrument used to measure or count Greek μέτρον (métron), measure or property, something used to measure sphygmomanometer, thermometer
-metry process of measuring, -meter + -y (see -meter) Greek μέτρον (métron) optometry
metr- pertaining to conditions or instruments of the uterus Greek μήτρᾱ (mḗtrā), womb, uterus metrorrhagia
micr- millionth; denoting something as small, relating to smallness Greek μῑκρός (mīkrós), small microscope
milli- thousandth Latin mille, thousand milliliter
mon- single Greek μονός (monós) infectious mononucleosis
morph- form, shape Greek μορφή (morphḗ) morphology
muscul(o)- muscle Latin mūsculus, muscle (lit. mouse-like, due to mouse-shaped appearance of some muscles; loanword from Greek μῦς (mûs), mouse, + Latin -culus, diminutive suffix) musculoskeletal system
my(o)- of or relating to muscle Greek μῦς, μυ- (mûs, mu-), muscle, mouse, mussel myoblast
myc(o)- fungus Greek μύκης, μυκητ- onychomycosis
myel(o)- of or relating to bone marrow or the spinal cord Greek μυελός (muelós), marrow, bone-marrow myelin sheath, myeloblast
myl(o)- of or relating to molar teeth or the lower jaw Greek μῠ́λη (múlē, mill, grind, molars mylohyoid nerve
myri- ten thousand Greek μῡρῐ́ος (mūríos), innumerable, countless, infinite myriad
myring(o)- eardrum Latin myringa, eardrum myringotomy
myx(o)- mucus Greek μύξᾰ (múxa), mucus, nasal discharge myxoma


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
nan(o)- dwarf, small Greek νᾶνος (nânos), dwarf nanogram, nanosecond
narc(o)- numb, sleep Greek νάρκη (nárkē), numbess, torpor narcolepsy
nas(o)- of or pertaining to the nose Latin nāsus, nose nasal
nat(o)- birth Latin nātus, born, arisen, made neonatology
necr(o)- death Greek νεκρός (nekrós), dead body, corpse, dying person necrosis, necrotizing fasciitis
neo- new Greek νέος (néos), young, youthful, new, fresh neoplasm
nephr(o)- of or pertaining to the kidney 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 Greek νεῦρον (neûron), tendon, string, nerve nerve, nervous system
neur- of or pertaining to nerves and the nervous system Greek νεῦρον (neûron), tendon, sinew, nerve neurofibromatosis
noci- pain, injury, hurt Latin noceō nociception
norm- normal Latin nōrma, norm or standard; lit. carpenter’s square normocapnia


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
ocul- of or pertaining to the eye Latin oculus, the eye Oculist
odont- of or pertaining to teeth Greek ὀδούς, ὀδοντ- (odoús, odont-, tooth orthodontist
odyn- pain Greek ὀδύνη (odúnē) stomatodynia
-oesophageal, oesophago- (BrE) gullet Greek οἰσοφᾰ́γος (oisophágos) oesophagus
-oid resemblance to Greek -ειδής (-eidḗs), like, connected to, pertaining to Sarcoidosis
ole small or little Latin -olus, suffix to form a diminutive of the noun arteriole
olig- having little, having few Greek ὀλῐ́γος (olígos), few oligotrophy
om(o)- shoulder Greek ὦμος (ômos), shoulder omoplate
-oma (singular), -omata (plural) tumor, mass, fluid collection Greek -μα (-ma), suffix added to verbs to form nouns indicating the result of a process or action; cf. English -tion sarcoma, teratoma, mesothelioma
omphal(o)- of or pertaining to the navel, the umbilicus Greek ὀμφαλός (omphalós), navel, belly-button omphalotomy
onco- tumor, bulk, volume Greek ὄγκος (ónkos) oncology
-one hormone
onych(o)- of or pertaining to the nail (of a finger or toe) Greek ὄνυξ, ὀνυχο- (ónux, onukho-), nail; claw; talon onychophagy
oo- of or pertaining to an (egg), a woman’s egg, the ovum Greek ᾠόν, ᾠο- (ōión, ōio-), egg, ovum oogenesis
oophor(o)- of or pertaining to the woman’s (ovary) Neoclassical Greek ᾠοφόρον (ōiophóron), ovary, egg-bearing oophorectomy
ophthalm(o)- of or pertaining to the (eye) Greek ὀφθαλμός (ophthalmós), the eye ophthalmology
opistho- back, behind, rear[8] Greek ὄπῐσθεν (ópisthen), behind, at the back opisthotonus
-opsy examination or inspection Greek ὄψῐς (ópsis), view biopsy, autopsy
optic(o)- of or relating to chemical properties of the eye Middle French optique; from Greek ὀπτῐκός (optikós); cognate with Latin oculus, relating to the eye opticochemical, biopsy
or(o)- of or pertaining to the mouth Latin ōs, ōris, mouth oral
-or one who, agent noun–forming suffix generally appended where Latin would do it—to the root of a Latin-type perfect passive participle. Cf. -er doctor
orchi(o)-, orchid(o)-, orch(o)- testis Greek ὄρχις (órkhis), testicle, ovary orchiectomy, orchidectomy
orth(o)- denoting something as straight or correct Greek ὀρθός (orthós), straight, correct, normal orthodontist
-osis a condition, disease or increase Greek -ωσις (-ōsis), state, abnormal condition, action Harlequin type ichthyosis, psychosis, osteoporosis
ossi-, osse- bone, bony Latin os, bone peripheral ossifying fibroma, osseous
ost(e)-, oste(o)- bone Greek ὀστέον (ostéon), bone osteoporosis, osteoarthritis
ot(o)- of or pertaining to the ear Greek οὖς, ὠτ- (oûs, ōt-), the ear otology
-ous pertaining to Latin -ōsus, full of, prone to 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-, ox/i addition of oxygen
oxy- sharp, acid, acute; oxygen borrowed from French oxygène (originally principe oxigine, ‘acidifying principle’, referring to oxygen’s role in the formation of acids, from Greek ὀξύς (oxús), sharp, pointed + γένος (génos), birth) oxytocin, oxygenated, oxycodone


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
pachy- thick Greek πᾰχῠ́ς (pakhús), thick, large, stout pachyderma, pachyderm
-pagus Indicates conjoined twins, with the first part denoting the organs fused Greek πάγος (págos), fixed, set, fastened xiphopagus
palpebr-| of or pertaining to the eyelid (uncommon as a root)! scope=”row” | 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” Greek πᾶς, παν- (pâs, 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 Greek πᾰρᾰ́ (pará) paracyesis
-paresis slight paralysis Greek πάρεσις (páresis) hemiparesis
parvo- small Latin parvus, small, little, unimportant Parvovirus
path(o)- disease Greek πᾰ́θος (páthos), pain, suffering, condition Pathology
-pathy denotes (with a negative sense) a disease, or disorder Greek πᾰ́θος (páthos), 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 pēs, pēd-, foot Pedoscope
ped-, pedo- of or pertaining to the child Greek παῖς, παιδός (paîs, paidós), child pediatrics. pedophilia
pelv(i)-, pelv(o)- hip bone Latin pelvis, basin Pelvis
-penia deficiency Greek πενῐ́ᾱ, poverty, indigence osteopenia
peo- of or pertaining to the penis Greek πέος (péos) Peotomy
-pepsia denotes something relating to digestion, or the digestive tract. Greek πεπτός (peptós), cooked, digested < πέσσω (péssō), I boil, cook; digest dyspepsia
per- through Latin per, through, by means of percutaneous
peri- denoting something with a position ‘surrounding’ or ‘around’ another Greek περῐ́ (perí), around, about, concerning periodontal
-pexy fixation Greek πῆξις (pêxis), fixing in place, fastening nephropexy
phaco- lens-shaped Greek φᾰκός (phakós), lentil-bean phacolysis, phacometer, phacoscotoma
-phagia, -phage Forms terms denoting conditions relating to eating or ingestion Greek φαγία (phagía) eating < φᾰγεῖν (phageîn), to eat Sarcophagia
-phago- eating, devouring Greek -φᾰ́γος (-phágos), eater of, eating phagocyte
phagist- Forms nouns that denote a person who ‘feeds on’ the first element or part of the word Greek φαγιστής (phagistḗs) eater; see -phagia Lotophagi
-phagy Forms nouns that denotes ‘feeding on’ the first element or part of the word Greek φαγία (phagia) eating; see -phagia hematophagy
phall- phallus Greek φαλλός (phallós), penis Aphallia
pharmac- drug, medication Greek φάρμᾰκον (phármakon), witchcraft, drug pharmacology
pharyng- of or pertaining to the pharynx, the upper throat cavity Greek φᾰ́ρῠγξ, φαρυγγ- (phárunx, pharung-), throat, windpipe; chasm pharyngitis, pharyngoscopy
-phil(ia) attraction for Greek φῐλῐ́ᾱ (philíā), friendship, love, affection hemophilia
phleb- of or pertaining to the (blood) veins, a vein Greek φλέψ, φλεβ- (phléps, phleb-), blood-vessel, vein phlebography, phlebotomy
-phobia exaggerated fear, sensitivity, aversion Greek φόβος (phóbos), terror, fear, flight, panic arachnophobia
phon- sound Greek φωνή (phōnḗ) phonograph, symphony
phos- of or pertaining to light or its chemical properties, now historic and used rarely. See the common root phot- below. Greek φῶς, φᾰ́ος, φωτ- (phôs, pháos), light phosphene
phot- of or pertaining to light Greek φωτω- (phōtō-), < φῶς (phôs), light photopathy
phren-, phrenic- the mind Greek φρήν (phrḗn), intellect, wits, mind phrenic nerve, schizophrenia
phyllo- leaf-like Greek φῠ́λλον (phúllon), leaf, foliage, plant phyllodes tumour, phyllotaxis
-phyte, phyto- to grow Greek φῠτόν (phutón), plant, tree hydrophyte
pia soft Medieval Latin pia mater, tender mother, from Latin pia, pius, pious, dutiful, good pia mater
piri- Pear Latin pirum, cognate with Greek ἄπιον (ápion), pear Piriformis muscle
-plasia formation, development Greek πλᾰ́σῐς (plásis), moulding, conformation Achondroplasia
-plasty surgical repair, reconstruction Greek πλαστός (plastós), molded, formed rhinoplasty
-plegia paralysis Greek πληγή (plēgḗ), stroke (from a sword), from πληγή (plēgḗ), to strike or smite paraplegia
pleio- more, excessive, multiple Greek πλεῖον (pleîon), more pleiomorphism
pleur- of or pertaining to the ribs Greek πλευρᾱ́ (pleurā́), rib, side of the body Pleurogenous
-plexy stroke or seizure Greek πλήσσω, πλήσσειν (plḗssō, plḗssein), to strike or smite Cataplexy
pne-, pneum- air, breath, lung Greek πνεῖν (pneîn), πνεῦμα, πνεύματος (pneûma, pneúmatos), πνεύμων (pneúmōn) apnea, pneumatology, pneumonocyte, pneumonia
pod-, -pod-, -pus of or pertaining to the foot, -footed Greek πούς, ποδ- (poús, pod-), foot podiatry
-poiesis production Greek ποίησις (poíēsis), poetry, poem, creation hematopoiesis
polio- having a grey color Greek πολῐός (poliós), grey, grizzled poliomyelitis
poly- denotes a ‘plurality’ of something Greek πολῠ́ς (polús), many, a lot of, large, great polymyositis
por- pore, porous Greek πόρος (póros), passage, passageway pore
porphyr- denotes a purple color Greek πορφύρα (porphúra), Tyrian purple, royal purple porphyroblast
post- denotes something as ‘after (time)’ or ‘behind (space)’ another Latin post, after, behind postoperation, postmortem
pre- denotes something as ‘before’ another (in [physical] position or time) Middle English pre-, from Medieval Latin pre- < (Classical) Latin prae-, before, in front of premature birth
presby- old age Greek πρέσβυς (présbus), old man, elder presbyopia, presbycusis[10]
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) Greek πρό- (pró-), before, in front of procephalic
proct- anus, rectum Greek πρωκτός (prōktós), anus proctology
prosop- face Greek πρόσωπον (prósōpon), face, visage, mask prosopagnosia
prot- denotes something as ‘first’ or ‘most important’ Greek πρωτος (prōtos), first; principal, most important protoneuron
pseud- denotes something false or fake Greek ψεύδω (pseúdō), to lie or deceive pseudoephedrine
psor- Itching Greek ψώρα (psṓra), itch, mange, scurvy psoriasis
psych- of or pertaining to the mind Greek ψυχή (psukhḗ), breath, life, soul psychology, psychiatry
ptero-, ptery- Pertaining to a wing; ‘pterygo-‘, wing-shaped Greek πτερόν (pterón), wing, feather lateral pterygoid plate
-ptosis falling, drooping, downward placement, prolapse Greek πτῶσῐς (ptôsis), falling apoptosis, nephroptosis
-ptyal-, ptyalo saliva, salivary glands, sialaden ptyalolithiasis
-ptysis spitting Greek πτῡ́ω (ptū́ō), to spit up, disgorge; + -σις (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or process hemoptysis, the spitting of blood derived from the lungs or bronchial tubes
pulmon-, pulmo- of or relating to the lungs Latin pulmō, a lung pulmonary
py- pus Greek πύον (púon pyometra
pyel- pelvis Greek πύελος (púelos), pelvis, wash basin pyelonephritis
pykno- to thicken (as the nucleus does in early stages of cell death) Greek πύκνωσις (púknōsis), thickening pyknosis
pylor- gate Greek πυλωρός (pulōrós), gate keeper; lower orifice of the stomach pyloric sphincter
pyr- fever Greek πῦρ, πυρετός (pûr, puretós), fire, heat, fever antipyretic


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
quadr(i)- four Latin quattuor quadriceps
radi- radiation Latin radiō, I radiate, emit beams; from radius, ray of light, spoke of a wheel radiowave
radic- referring to the beginning, or the root, of a structure, usually a nerve or a vein Latin rādīx, root radiculopathy
re- again, back Latin re- relapse
rect- rectum abbr. of New Latin rectum intestinum (‘straight intestine’) < Latin rēctus, straight rectal, rectum, rectus femoris
ren- of or pertaining to the kidney Latin rēn, rēnes, kidney renal
reticul(o)- net Latin rēticulum reticulocyte
retro- backward, behind Latin retro retroversion, retroverted
rhabd(o)- rod shaped, striated Greek ῥᾰ́βδος (rhábdos), wand, stick, stripe rhabdomyolysis
rhachi(o)- spine Greek ῥάχις (rhákhis), spine or backbone rachial, rachialgia, rachidian, rachiopathy
rhin(o)- of or pertaining to the nose Greek ῥίς, ῥῑνο- (rhís, rhīno-), nose rhinoceros, rhinoplasty
rhod(o)- denoting a rose-red color Greek ῥόδον (rhódon), rose rhodophyte
-rrhage, -rrhagia burst forth, rapid flow (of blood, usually) Greek -ραγία (-ragía), to break, to burst hemorrhage, menorrhagia
-rrhaphy surgical suturing Greek ῥαφή (rhaphḗ) hymenorrhaphy, neurorrhaphy
-rrhea (AmE) flowing, discharge Greek ῥοίᾱ (rhoíā), flow, flux galactorrhea, diarrhea
-rrhexis rupture Greek ῥῆξῐς (rhêxis), breaking, bursting, discharge karyorrhexis
-rrhoea (BrE) flowing, discharge Greek ῥοίᾱ (rhoíā), flow, flux diarrhoea
rubr(o)- of or pertaining to the red nucleus of the brain Latin ruber, red rubrospinal
-rupt break or burst Latin rumpō erupt, interrupt


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
salping(o)- of or pertaining to tubes, e.g. Fallopian tubes Greek σᾰ́λπῐγξ, σαλπιγγ-, (sálpinx, salping-), trumpet salpingectomy, salpingopharyngeus muscle
sangui-, sanguine- of or pertaining to blood Latin sanguis, blood sanguine
sapro- relating to putrefaction or decay Greek σαπρός (saprós), rotten, putrid saprogenic
sarco- muscular, flesh-like Greek σάρξ (sárx), flesh sarcoma, sarcoidosis
schist(o)- split, cleft Greek σχῐστός (skhistós), cloven, divided schistocyte
schiz(o)- denoting something “split” or “double-sided” Greek σχῐ́ζω (skhízō), I split, cleave, part; irregular formation of the verb σχῐ́ζειν (skhízein), to cut, split schizophrenia
scler(o)- hard Greek σκληρός (sklērós) scleroderma
-sclerosis hardening Greek σκληρός (sklērós), hard, harden; + -σῐς (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or process atherosclerosis, multiple sclerosis
scoli(o)- twisted Greek σκολιός (skoliós), curved, bent scoliosis
-scope instrument for viewing Greek σκόπος (skópos), watcher stethoscope
-scopy process of viewing Greek σκοπέω (skopéō), to look at, behold, examine endoscopy
scoto- darkness Greek σκότος (skótos) scotopic vision
semi- one-half, partly Latin semi- semiconscious
sial(o)- saliva, salivary gland Latin salīva, saliva. sialagogue
sigmoid(o)- sigmoid, S-shaped curvature Greek σιγμοειδής (sigmoeidḗs), crescent-shaped, lunate sigma-shaped sigmoid colon
sinistr(o)- left, left side Latin sinister
sinus- of or pertaining to the sinus Latin sinus, a curve, bend, hollow cavity, bosom sinusitis
sito- food, grain Greek σῖτος (sîtos) sitophobia
somat(o)-, somatico- body, bodily Greek σῶμα (sôma) somatic
somn(o) Sleep Latin somnus, sleep, drowsiness insomniac[11]
-spadias slit, fissure Greek σπάω (spáō), break, split hypospadias, epispadias
spasmo- spasm Greek σπασμός (spasmós) Spasmodic dysphonia
sperma-, spermo-, spermato- semen, spermatozoa Greek σπέρμα (spérma), seed, semen spermatogenesis
splanchn(i)-, splanchn(o)- viscera Greek σπλᾰ́γχνον (splánkhnon), bowels, guts splanchnology
splen(o)- spleen Greek σπλήν, σπλην- (splḗn, splēn-), spleen, milt splenectomy
spondyl(o)- of or pertaining to the spine, the vertebra Greek σφόνδῠλος / σπόνδυλος (sphóndulos, spóndulos), the spine spondylitis
squamos(o)- denoting something as “full of scales” or “scaly” Latin squāmōsus, full of scales, scaly squamous cell
-stalsis contraction Greek στέλλω (stéllō), I dispatch, place, set peristalsis
-stasis stopping, standing Greek στᾰ́σῐς (stásis), to stand, place, set cytostasis, homeostasis
-staxis dripping, trickling Greek στάζω, στακτός (stázō, staktós), drip, leak, trickle
sten(o)- denoting something as narrow in shape or pertaining to narrowness Greek στενός (stenós), narrow, short stenography
-stenosis abnormal narrowing of a blood vessel or other tubular organ or structure Greek στενός (stenós), narrow, short; + -σῐς (-sis), added to verb stems to form abstract nouns or nouns of action, result or process restenosis, stenosis
steth- of or pertaining to the upper chest, the area above the breast and under the neck Greek στῆθος (stêthos), chest, cuirass stethoscope
stheno- strength, force, power Greek σθένος (sthénos)
stom-, stomat- of or pertaining to the mouth; an artificially created opening[12] Greek στόμᾰ, στοματ- (stóma, stomat-), mouth stomatogastric, stomatognathic system
-stomy creation of an opening New Latin stoma, opening; from Greek στόμᾰ (stóma) colostomy
sub- beneath, under Latin sub subcutaneous tissue
super- in excess, above, superior Latin super superior vena cava
supra- above, excessive Latin supra 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- Greek σῠν- (sun-), with, together symptom, synalgia, synesthesia, syssarcosis


Affix Meaning Origin language and etymology Example(s)
tachy- denoting something as fast, irregularly fast Greek τᾰχῠ́ς (takhús), fast, quickly tachycardia
-tension, -tensive pressure Latin tēnsiō, stretching, extension, tension hypertension
terato- Monster Greek τέρᾰς (téras) teratoma, teratogen
tetan- rigid, tense Greek τέτανος (tétanos) tetanus
thec- case, sheath Greek θήκη (thḗkē) intrathecal
thel- of or pertaining to a nipple (uncommon as a prefix) Greek θηλή (thēlḗ), a teat, nipple Theleplasty, thelarche
thely- denoting something as relating to a woman, feminine Greek θῆλῠς (thêlus), female, feminine Thelygenous
therap- treatment Greek θερᾰπείᾱ (therapeíā) hydrotherapy, therapeutic
therm(o)- heat 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 < Greek θώρᾱξ (thṓrāx), chest, cuirass thoracic, thorax
thromb(o)- of or relating to a blood clot, clotting of blood Greek θρόμβος (thrómbos), lump, piece, clot of blood thrombus, thrombocytopenia
thyr(o)- thyroid Greek θῠρεός (thureós), large oblong shield; + εἶδος (eîdos), a form or shape
thym- emotions Greek θῡμός (thūmós), spirit, soul; courage; breath, mind, emotions dysthymia
-tic pertaining to Greek -τῐκός (-tikós), adjective-forming suffix denoting: relating to, able to, suited to
toco- childbirth Greek τόκος (tókos) tocolytic
-tome cutting instrument Greek τομή (tomḗ), intersection
-tomy act of cutting; incising, incision Greek τομία (-tomía) Gastrotomy
ton- tone, tension, pressure Greek τόνος (tónos), rope, cord; tension
-tony tension Greek -τονία (-tonía)
top(o)- place, topical Greek τόπος (tópos) Topical anesthetic
tort(i)- twisted Latin tortus Torticollis
tox(i)-, tox(o)-, toxic(o)- toxin, poison Greek τοξικόν (toxikón), bow (archery), bow-related; from Greek τοξικόν φάρμᾰκον (toxikón phármakon), poison for smearing arrows with Toxoplasmosis
trache(a)- trachea Greek τραχεῖα (trakheîa), windpipe Tracheotomy
trachel(o)- of or pertaining to the neck Greek τρᾰ́χηλος (trákhēlos), neck tracheloplasty
trans- denoting something as moving or situated across or through Latin trāns, across, through Transfusion
tri- three Latin tri- triangle, triceps
trich(i)-, trichia, trich(o)- of or pertaining to hair, hair-like structure Greek θρῐ́ξ (thríx), hair trichocyst
-tripsy crushing Greek τρῖψις (trípsis), rubbing, friction lithotripsy
-trophy nourishment, development Greek τροφή (trophḗ), food, nourishment pseudohypertrophy
-trop turned toward, with an orientation toward, having an affinity for, affecting Greek τρόπος (trópos), a turn, way, manner, style geotropic, phototropic
tympan(o)- eardrum Greek τῠ́μπᾰνον (túmpanon), drum, eardrum 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 ūnus unilateral hearing loss
ur- of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system Greek οὐρέω, οὐρεῖν (ouréō, oureîn); οὖρον (oûron), urine antidiuretic, diuresis, diuretic, dysuria, enuresis, polyurea, polyuria, uraemia/uremia, uremic, ureter, urethra, urology
urin- of or pertaining to urine, the urinary system Latin ūrīna, urine < Greek οὖρον (oûron), see ur- 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 vaginal epithelium
varic(o)- swollen or twisted vein Latin varix varicose, esophageal varices
vas(o)- duct, blood vessel Latin vās, vessel, dish, vase vasoconstriction
vasculo- blood vessel Latin vāsculum cardiovascular
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, belly, stomach, womb ventrodorsal
ventricul(o)- of or pertaining to the ventricles; any hollow region inside an organ Latin ventriculus, the ventricles of the heart, the ventricles of the brain cardiac ventriculography, atrioventricular node
-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)- having a yellow color, especially an abnormally yellow color Greek ξᾰνθός (xanthós), yellow xanthopathy
xen(o)- foreign, different Greek ξένος (xénos), foreign, stranger xenograft
xer(o)- dry, desert-like Greek ξηρός (xērós), dry xerostomia, xeroderma
xiph- sword Greek ξῐ́φος (xíphos), sword xiphisternum, xiphoid, xiphoidalgia
-y condition or process of Latin -ia, from Greek -ῐ́ᾱ, -ειᾰ (-íā, -eia), suffixes used to form abstract nouns surgery
ze- boil Greek ζέω (zéō), to boil, seethe, bubble eczema
zo(o)- animal, animal life Greek ζῷον (zôion) zoology
zym(o)- fermentation Greek ζύμη (zúmē), leaven, yeast enzyme, lysozyme

Bodily Concept

Bodily concept Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
digestion -pepsia
disease -pathy
eating -phagia -vory

Body Parts and Substances

Body part or component Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
abdomen lapar- abdomin-
aorta aort-
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- cerebr-
breast mast- mamm-
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-
hands 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)-


Colour Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
black melan- atr-, nigr-
blue cyan- cerule-
gold chrys- aur-
gray, grey 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)


Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
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)-
fast tachy- celer-
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)-
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)-
soft malac(o)- moll(i)-
straight orth(o)- rect(i)-
thick pachy- crass(i)-
varied, various poikilo- vari-


Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
around, surrounding peri- circum-
internal, within endo- intra-
left levo- laev-, sinistr-
middle meso-, mes- medi-
right dexi- dex-, dextr-, dextro-

Quantity or Amount

Description Greek root in English Latin root in English Other root in English
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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Douglas College Human Anatomy & Physiology I (2nd ed.) Copyright © 2019 by Douglas College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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