Medical Terminology

Medical Terminology

When interpreting complex medical terms, it is best to learn root words and word endings individually.  When the words are combined, understanding the meanings will be much simpler.

Common Word endings:

  • -al, -ic, -ac:  pertaining to
    • cardiac – pertaining to the heart
    • gastric – pertaining to the stomach
    • cervical – pertaining to the neck

Root words for Chapter 1:

ana–   up, back, or again

  • anatomy – ana/tomy:  to cut up

cephal–   head

  • cephalic – cephal/ic:  pertaining to the head

cervic–   neck

  • cervical – cervic/al:  pertaining to the neck

bucco–   cheek

  • buccal – bucc/al:  pertaining to the cheek

crani–  skull

  • cranial – crani/al:  pertaining to the skull

digit  finger, toe

  • digital – digit/al:  pertaining to the fingers or toes

dors–   back

  • dorsal – dors/al:  pertaining to the back

hallux-   great toe

hom-/homeo–   same

  • homeostasis – homeo/sta/sis:  to stand the same (maintaining the same environment)

later-   side

  • lateral – later/al:  pertaining to the side of the body; away from the midline

med–  middle

  • medial – med/ial:  pertaining to the midline of the body

otomy  to cut into

  • gastrotomy:  to cut into the stomach

para–   beside, beyond

  • parasagittal – para/sagitt/al:  pertaining to beside the sagittal plane

peri–   about, around

  • pericardial – peri/cardi/al:  pertaining to around the heart

physio–   function

  • physiology – physi/ology:  the study of the functions of the body

poster–  back part

  • posterior- post/eri/or:  pertaining to the back side of the body (toward the back)

sta–  stand, stop

  • hemostat – hemo/stat:  anything used to stop blood flow (heme = blood)

thorac–   chest

  • thoracic – thorac/ic:  pertaining to the chest

trans–   through, across

  • transdermal – trans/dermal:  across the skin

ventr–  front

  • ventral – ventr/al:  pertaining to the front of the body