Fundamentals & OriginO Learning medical terminology can seem overwhelming at first, but like all other languages, certain standard rules apply. For the most part, medical terminology is comprised of words derived from Greek and Latin languages. Understanding the way medical terms are formed and identifying the base of the words provides you with the foundation.
Formulating WordsO Medical terms can be broken into three distinct parts.1. The word root – generally the central part of the word (in the middle) and identifies the main meaning, condition or body part.2. The prefix – found at the beginning of the word, and distinguishes a component or subdivision of the word, to advance its fundamental meaning.3. The suffix – found at the end of the word and signifies specific features, such as the circumstances of an aliment, its progression and the intended procedure or course of action that will be used.
Root WordO Seeing as root words are the key terminology, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with them.O Root words tells What we are talking about. Pericardium Cardi/o = heart
Prefix SuffixO The Prefix tells of a position, a time when it occurs, where it is located, how many, or the color.O The Suffix tells What is happening or describes the root word. Pericardium Peri = around, surrounding, or outer ium = Latin noun ending
More Examples EpigastricP:Upon/above R:stomach S:pertaining to Endometriosis P:within R:womb S:abnormal/condition Hyperglycemia P:above,more,over,excessive R:sweet S:of the blood
Combining Forms & Modifying Word MeaningsCombining forms are the word root plus a vowel.The most frequently used combining form is “o” andtends to be located after the word’s prefix.Again, this is best explained by seeing it on paper. Inthe word myocarditis, we see that the Greek prefix“my/mys” (muscle) the combining “o” form wasadded, giving us “myo.” The “o” merges parts of theword to create its definition. To better illustrate, takea look at the following popular example: acr(extremity), cardio (heart) and gastr (stomach). Bymeans of adding the combining form, “o” we getacro/o, cardi/o and gastr/o.
Combining Forms & Modifying Word MeaningsThe prefix and suffix of a root word also getmodified to alter the implication of a termwithout changing its central meaning (theroot word remains the same). We can seethe way “myocarditis” can be changed byswitching the prefix. Replace “myo” with“peri” (which means outer) or “endo”(meaning inner), and you’ll have pericarditisand endocarditis.
Combining Forms & Modifying Word MeaningsYou should be able to have gauged theirmeanings, since you’re familiar with the rootword and the prefixes. If we keep only theroot of the word – “cardio” and change thesuffix into “ologist” (physician/doctor thatspecializes in the heart), “pathy” (meaningdamage) or “megaly” (which meansenlargement), we have three completelydifferent words:cardiologist, cardiomyopathy, andcardiomegaly. (medword.com)
Some ExceptionsO Not all words have a prefix (cardiovascular).O Some words have more than one root word (cardiovascular).O Different prefixes can have the same meaning. O Hom/o and Home/o = same O Di and Bi = two