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Adjectival Derivatives From Greek & Latin


In medical terminology, many adjectives or combining forms of adjectives are derived from either Greek or Latin. Adjectives will appear most often in compounds and will be joined to either nouns or verbs. Suffixes may be added to make them into nouns as well.

RootMeaningExamples
AutoSelfAutoinfection; autolysis; autopathy (disease); autopsy (view -postmortem examination)
BrachyShortBrachycephalia (head); brachydactylia (fingers); brachycheilia (lip); brachygnathous (jaw)
BradySlowBradypnea (breath); bradypragia (action); bradyuria (urine); bradypepsia (digestion)
BrevisShortBrevity; breviflexor (short flexor muscle)
CavusHollowCavity; cavernous, vena cava (vein)
CoelHollowCoelarium (lining membrane of body cavity); coelom (body cavity of embryo)
CryoColdCryotherapy; cryotolerant; cryometer
CryptoHidden,
concealed
Cryptorchid (testis); cryptogenic (origin obscure or doubtful); cryptophthalmos (eye)
DextroRightAmbidextrous (using both bands with equal ease); dextrophobia (fear of objects on right side); dextrocardia (heart)
DiploDouble, twiceDiplocephaly (head); diplopia (double sight)
DysDifficult, bad,
disordered,
painful
Dysarthria (speech); dyshidrosis (sweat); dyskinesia (motion); dystocia (birth); dysphasia (speech); dyspepsia (digestion)
EuWell,
good
Euphoria (well-being); euphagia; eupnea (breath); euthyroid (normal thyroid); eutocia (normal birth)
EuryBroad,
wide
Eurycephalic (head); euryopia (vision); eurysomatic (body - squat, thickset body).
GlycoSugar,
sweet
Glycohemia (sugar in blood); glycopenia (poverty of sugar - low blood sugar level)
GravisHeavyGravida (pregnant woman); gravidism (pregnancy)
HaploSingle,
simple
Haploid (having a single set of chromosomes); haplodermatitis (simple inflammation of skin); haplopathy (simple uncomplicated disease)
Hetero,
heter
Other,
relationship to
other
Heterogeneous (kind - dissimilar elements); heterinoculation; heterology (abnormality of structure); heterointoxication
HomoSameHomogeneous (same kind or quality throughout); homozygous (possessing identical pair of genes); homologous (corresponding in structure)
HydroWet,
water
Hydronephrosis (kidney - collection of urine in kidney pelvis); hydropneumothorax (fluid in chest); hydrophobia (fear of water - water causes painful reaction in this disease)
IsoEqualIsocellular (similar cells); isodontic (all teeth alike); isocytosis (equality of size of cells); isochromatic (having same color throughout)
LatusBroadLatitude; latissimus dorsi (muscle adducting humerus)
LeioSmoothLeiomyosarcoma (smooth-muscle fleshy malignant tumor); leiomyofibroma (tumor of muscle and fiber elements); leiomyoma (tumor of unstriped muscle)
LeptoSlenderLeptosomatic (body); leptodactylous (fingers)
LevoLeftLevocardia (heart); levorotation (turning to left)
LongusLongAdductor longus (muscle of thigh); longitude
MacroLarge, abnormal
size
Macrocephalic (head); macrocheiria (hands); macromastia (breast); macronychia (nails)
MagnaLarge, greatMagnitude; adductor magnus (thigh muscle)
MalacoSoftMalacia (softening); osteomalacia (bones)
MalusBadMalady; malaise; malignant; malformation
MediusMiddleMedian; medium; gluteus medius (femur muscle)
MegaGreatMegacolon (large colon); megacephaly (head)
MegaloHugeMegalomania (delusion of grandeur); megaly (enlarged liver); splenomegaly enlarged spleen)
MesoMiddle,

mid
Mesocarpal (wrist); mesoderm (skin); mesothelium (a lining membrane of cavities)
MicroSmallMicroglossia (tongue); microblepharia (eyelids); microorganism; microphonia (voice)
MinimusSmallestGluteus minimus (smallest muscle of hip); adductor minimus (muscle of thigh)
MioLessMioplasmia (plasma - abnormal decrease in plasma in blood); miopragia (perform - decreased activity)
MonoOne, single,
limited to one
part
Monochromatic (color); monobrachia (arm)
multiMany,
much
Multipara (bear - woman who has borne many children); multilobar (numerous lobes); multicentric (many centers)
NecroDeadNecrosed; necrosis; necropsy (postmortem examination); necrophobia (fear of death)
NeoNewNeoformation; neomorphism (form); neonatal (first four weeks of life); neopathy (disease)
OligoFew, scanty,

little
Oligophrenia (mind); oligopnea (breath); oliguria (urine); oligodipsia (thirst)
OrthoStraight,
normal,
correct
Orthodont (teeth-normal); orthogenesis (progressive evolution in a given direction); orthograde (walk - carrying body upright); orthopnea (breath - unable to breathe unless in an upright position)
OxySharp,
quick
Oxyesthesia (feel); oxyopia (vision); oxyosmia (smell)
PachyThickPachyderm (skin); pachyemia (blood); pachypleuritis (inflammation of pleura); pachycholia (bile); pachyotia (ears)
PaleoOldPaleogenetic (origin in the past); paleopathology (study of diseases in mummies)
PlatyFlatPlatybasia (skull base); platycoria (pupil); platycrania (skull)
PleoMorePleomorphism (forms); pleochromocytoma (tumor composed of different-colored cells)
PoikiloVariedPoikiloderma (skin mottling); poikilothermal (heat - variable body temperature )
PolyMany,

much
Polyhedral (many bases or faces); polymastia (more than two breasts); polymelia (supernumerary limbs); polymyalgia (pain in many muscles)
PronusFace downProne, pronation
PseudoFalse,
spurious
Pseudostratified (layered); pseudocirrhosis (apparent cirrhosis of liver); pseudohypertrophy
ScleroHardSclerosis (hardening); arteriosclerosis (artery); scleronychia (nails); sclerodermatitis (skin)
ScolioTwisted,
crooked
Scoliodontic (teeth); scoliosis; scoliokyphosis (curvature of spine)
SinistroLeftSinistrocardia; sinistromanual (left-handed); sinistraural (hearing better in left ear)
StenoNarrowStenosis; stenostomia (mouth); mitral stenosis (mitral valve in heart)
StereoSolid, three
dimensions
Stereoscope; stereometer
SupinusFace upSupine, supination; supinator longus (muscle in arm)
TachyFast, swiftTachycardia (heart); tachyphrasia (speech)
TeleEnd, far awayTelepathy; telecardiogram
TeloCompleteTelophase
ThermoHeat,
warm
Thermal; thermometer; thermobiosis (ability to live in high temperature)
TrachyRoughTrachyphonia (voice); trachychromatic (deeply staining)
XeroDryXerophagia (eating of dry foods); xerostomia (mouth); xerodermia (skin)

The list below covers just a few areas of interest that are, in fact, the foundations for learning the language of medicine - medical terminology.

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