Medical Terminology An Introduction
Medical Terminology was derived primarily from Greek & Latin --these were the languages of scholarly people in ancient times
Greeks: founders of modern medicine • Hippocrates— • Four body humors: • black bile, yellow bile, blood & phlegm • Too much black bile caused depression • Called condition melancholy • Literally means condition of black bile
Romans (who spoke Latin) gradually conquered much of civilized world. Romans acquired most of their medical knowledge from Greece. Thus, terminology of learned men involved in medicine developed from Greek & Latin languages.
you might see different terms & acronyms that mean the same thing. Because of this use of two languages, Example: • EKG • ECG - “K” (kardia) = heart --Greek electro/kardio/gram -“C” (cardia) = heart -- Latin electro/cardio/gram
Greek mythology tells us of beautiful, fierce woman warriors. Take the word Amazon. • They were excellent in archery & fighting. • They fought oppression of men. • Men called them Amazonwarriors.
What does the Greek word amazonmean? • Amazon comes from the Greek word: amazos • The “a” is a prefix that means “without” • “mazos” is the word root, which means “breast” • Translated, Amazon refers to “without a breast” • Greek mythology has it that these fierce women cut off their right breast in order to better handle their bows and arrows.
Another interesting medical root is gastr/o • This root means stomach • gastr/itis = inflamed stomach • Gastr/ologist = stomach doctor
How is it, then, that the calf muscle is called the gastrocnemius muscle? • In ancient times, gastr/o was a Greek work meaning “belly” • Since calf muscle “bellied” out, the root gastr/o was used to describe it.
Medical words are like individual jigsaw puzzles-- each piece is a word part that comes together to form a medical term. prefix suffix root
Example: ologist dermat dermatologist = skin doctor
Medical terms may have4word parts: • Root • Prefix • Suffix • Combining form
1. theroot • Gives basic meaning of term • Each medical term contains oneormore roots • Unlike English roots, which can stand alone, most medical roots are meant to be used in combinations. Example: heart - cardi/
In medical terminology, roots usually indicate a body part: pulmon/o dent/o cardi/o enter/o
2.theprefixis • A word part added before a root to modify its meaning • Many medical terms do not have a prefix Example:pretest
A prefix usually indicates a: • Number • Time • Position • Sense of negation
Prefix examples: • “number” prefixes • uni- (uni/corn) • bi- (bi/lateral) • tri- (tri/athlon) • “time” prefixes • pre- (pre/test) • post- (post/test)
“position” prefixes • sub- (sub/marine) • trans- (trans/atlantic) • hypo- (hypo/dermic) • “negation” prefixes • a- (a/moral) • an- (an/aerobic)
3. thesuffixis • a word part added to end of root to modify its meaning • Most medical terms have a suffix Example: root--teachto teacher
In medical terminology, a suffix often times indicates: • a procedure ( -ectomy= surgical removal of) append/ectomy • a condition ( -osis= abnormal condition of) halit/osis • a disease ( -itis= inflammation of) tonsill/itis
root/ prefix/suffixexamples: • Root example:write • Suffix example:writer • Prefix example:rewrite • See how both the suffix & prefix modify the root?
4. Combining Vowel • usually an “o” is used between word parts • eases pronunciation Examples: therm/o/meter
“i” or “e” pelv/i or chol/e • occasionally other vowels are used: • A root word plus a vowel is referred to as a “combining form”. combining form = root = hepat/ hepat/o
Roots & combining forms are indicated by a slash “/ ” between the root and vowel. cardi/o
IMPORTANT: Try to learn combining forms rather than word roots because: Combining forms are easier to pronounce. Example: Difficult to pronounce: gastr Easier to pronounce: gastr/o
Guidelines For Using Combining Vowels • Rule 1 • If asuffixbegins with a vowel, only use word root—not the combining form. • Example • suffix: -itis • root + suffix • hepat + -itis = hepat/itis
-If asuffixbegins with a consonant, use the combining vowel • Rule 2 Example: wordroot combin. vowel suffix therm/ o -meter
Rule 3 • To link two root words, always use a combining vowel. Example: word roots combin. vowel suffix splen/ o hepat/ -itis
In most instances, the combining vowel is retained between two roots -even if the 2nd root begins with a vowel. word roots combin. vowel suffix chondr/ o arthr/ -algia
even if the last letter of the 1st root ends with a vowel (oste/)& • the 1st letter of the 2nd root begins with a vowel (arthr/), • you must still use the combining “o” • Example: • oste/+ o +arthr/+ -itis
Never use a combining vowel after a prefix, even if root begins with a consonant. Rule 4 Example: Never, never, NEVER!!! NO “O” HERE! prefix word root suffix post/ rhin/o -plasty
Three Basic Steps to Defining & Interpreting Medical Words: • First, define the suffix • Second, define the prefix (if one is used) • Last, define the middle part (root) of word
Example 1: sub/gastr/algia sub- + gastr/ + -algia (under) (stomach) (pain) prefix root suffix 2 3 1
Example 2:trans/cardi/o/pulmon/itis trans- cardi/o pulmon/ -itis + + + (across) (heart) (lungs) (inflam.) prefix root root suffix 2 3 4 1
Example 3:peri/oste/o/arthr/o/megaly peri- oste/o arthr/o -megaly + + + (around) (bone) (joints) (enlargement) prefix root root suffix 2 3 4 1
little note… • the root for heart =cardi/ • when you put this root with suffix,-itis, drop one “i” • instead of cardi/itis you would have: carditis