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Medical Terminology Basics:

Prefixes Page 2

Medical Terminology Basics: Prefixes Page 2

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Prefixes, the most frequently used elements in the formation of Greek and Latin words, consist of one or more syllables (prepositions or adverbs) placed before words or roots to show various kinds of relationships. They are never used independently, but when added before verbs, adjectives, or nouns, they modify the meaning. Many prefixes are added to other words with a hyphen, but medical dictionary publishers are opting to drop the hyphen on many of the more common prefixed medical words.

Most prefixes are a part of words in ordinary speech and do not refer specifically to medical or scientific terminology, but there are many that occur frequently in medical terminology, and studying them is an important step in learning medical terms and building a medical vocabulary.

You may also be interested in reviewing these Medword pages: Suffixes, USP Drug Listings, Basic Medical Terms, Examples of Transcribed Reports.

Prefix Translation of
Greek or Latin
ContraAgainst, oppositeContralateral (opposite side); contraception (prevention of conception); contraindicated (not indicated)
DeAway fromDehydrate (remove water from); dedentition (removal of teeth); decompensation (failure of compensation)
DiTwice, doubleDiplopia (double vision); dichromatic (two colors); digastric (double stomach)
DiaThrough, apart, across, completelyDiaphragm (wall across); diapedesis (ooze through); diagnosis (complete knowledge)
DisReversal, apart from, separationDisinfection (apart from infection); disparity (apart from equality); dissect (cut apart)
DysBad, difficult, disorderedDyspepsia (bad digestion); dyspnea (difficult breathing); dystopia (disordered position)
E, exOut, away fromEnucleate (remove from); eviscerate (take out viscera or bowels); exostosis (outgrowth of bone)
EcOut fromEctopic (out of place); eccentric (away from center); ectasia (stretching out or dilation)
EctoOn outer side, situated onEctoderm (outer skin);ectoretina (outer layer of retina)
Em, en.InEmpyema (pus in); encephalon (in the head)
EndoWithinEndocardium (within heart); endometrium (within uterus)
EpiUpon, onEpidural (upon dura); epidermis (on skin)
ExoOutside, on outer side, outer layerExogenous (produce outside); exocolitis (inflammation of outer coat of colon)
ExtraOutsideExtracellular (outside cell); extrapleural (outside pleura)
He miHalfHemiplegia (partial paralysis); hemianesthesia (loss of feeling on one side of body)
HyperOver, above, excessiveHyperemia (excessive blood); hypertrophy (over­growth); hyperplasia (excessive formation)
HypoUnder, below, deficientHypotension (low blood pressure); hypothyroidism (deficiency or underfunction of thyroid)

  Continued . . .Go To Next Page   Go To Previous Page

Prefixes ­ Page 1: "a" To "Con"
Prefixes ­ Page 3: "Im" To "Ultra"

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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