Medical Terminology (2023): List, Prefixes, Suffixes, Medical Terms | Virohan

Medical Terminology Terms List, Abbreviations and Root Words to Know

By Arushi Trivedi on 21 Aug 2022
8 mins read

Medical terminology is very essential for people even remotely related to the field, while it is mandatory for professionals working directly in the field. Medical terminology is still a good to know factor for people who want to know the commonly used medical terms.

What is Medical Terminology

A medical Terminology is a group of words very commonly used in the field of healthcare to describe procedures, processes, diseases and disorders relating to the human body and living organisms in general.

Medical terminology is a vast subject which entails all types of words used in the field of healthcare and medicine, thus it is next to impossible to know about each one of them. To make it easy for everyone to try and understand most of the words the terminology can be broken down into various categories such as:

  • Medical Terms 
  • Medical Prefixes and Suffixes  
  • Medical Root Words  
  • Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms

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Medical Terms:

A typical medical term includes a root word and a prefix and/or a suffix attached to it. Example –

Hypothermia consists of a prefix – Hypo which means “deficient/low” and root word – therm which means “heat”. The combined meaning of the word is – a medical emergency which occurs when the body loses heat faster than it can produce, causing a low body temperature.In this manner most of the medical terms can be formed by combining root word with a prefix and or suffix. Most of these root words, prefixes and suffixes are from Ancient Greek or Latin, thus their meanings come from the language of origin. Thus Medical terminology in itself is a language.

Also Read: Paramedical Courses List 

Medical Terminology Prefixes and Suffixes List

Medical terms list contain root words which mostly have a prefix or suffix with them. Medical terminology prefixes are words that are used at the start of the term and Suffixes are words used at the end of the term. Most of the terms used in the medical field can be deciphered using these prefixes and suffixes – Given is the medical terminology list that consists of prefix and suffix medical terminology.

Medical Prefixes List:

  • Anti - Against, opposite of
  • Bi - Two, double
  • Brady - Slow
  • De - Away from, down
  • Dys - Abnormal, difficult, painful
  • Endo - Within, inner
  • Epi - Upon, over, above
  • Hyper - Excessive, above normal
  • Hypo - Below normal, deficient
  • Inter - Between, among
  • Intra - Within, inside
  • Macro - Large, great
  • Micro - Small, minute
  • Neo - New
  • Poly - Many, much
  • Post - After, behind
  • Pre - Before, in front of
  • Pro - Before, in front of
  • Re - Again, back
  • Sub - Under, below
  • Super - Above, beyond
  • Tachy - Fast, rapid
  • Trans - Across, through

Medical Suffixes List

  • -algia - Pain
  • -centesis - Surgical puncture to remove fluid
  • -ectomy - Surgical removal of a body part
  • -emia - Blood condition
  • -itis - Inflammation
  • -logy - Study of
  • -oma - Tumor, mass
  • -osis - Abnormal condition
  • -otomy - Cutting into, incision
  • -pathy - Disease, suffering
  • -rrhea - Flow, discharge
  • -scopy - Visual examination
  • -oma - Swelling, tumor
  • -emia - Blood condition
  • -blast - Immature cell
  • -cyte - Cell
  • -penia - Deficiency
  • -emia - Blood condition
  • -plasty - Surgical repair
  • -rrhage - Bursting forth

Medical Root Words

These are the main or root words that form the whole term. In normal language, root words are clubbed with a prefix and/ or a suffix to make a whole term. These root words originate from the commonly used words such as body part (heart, liver, kidney), or part their of such as urine, blood, cells etc.

Root WordMeaning
BlastGerm, immature cell

Medical Abbreviations and Acronyms

Medical abbreviations can often be confusing, thus knowing a few common one’s is a good to know practice as they are very casually used in healthcare settings such as hospitals, laboratories, clinics, etc.  Checkout these commonly used medical abbreviations that are a part of basic medical terminology list:

ADHDAttention deficit hyperactivity disorder
AIDSAcquired immune deficiency syndrome
ADHAntidiuretic hormone
BMDBone Mass Density
BMIBody Mass Index
BPBlood Pressure
BPDBorderline personality disorder
CBCComplete blood count
COPDChronic obstructive pulmonary disease
CT ScanComputed Tomography
DMDiabetes mellitus
DVTDeep venous thrombosis
ECTElectroconvulsive therapy
ELISAEnzyme-linked immunosorbent assay
ENTEar, nose, and throat
ETEmbryo transfer
ETTEndotracheal tube
FBForeign Body
FHRFetal heart rate
FISHFluorescence in situ hybridization
FSHFollicle-stimulating hormone
GAGestational Age
GBCGallbladder carcinoma
GFRGlomerular filtration rate
GHGrowth Hormone
GHRHGrowth Hormone Releasing Hormone
GIFTGamete intrafallopian transfer
GODGlucose oxidase
GUGastric Ulcer
HAARTHighly active antiretroviral therapy
HAIHealthcare-associated infection
HIVHuman immunodeficiency virus
HLAHuman leukocyte antigen
HPVHuman papillomavirus
ICUIntensive Care Unit
IDIntensive Care Unit
IVFIn vitro fertilization
LFTLiver Function Test
LHRHLuteinizing hormone–releasing hormone
MICAMental illness and chemical abuse
MRIMagnetic Resonance Imaging
NICUNeonatal intensive care unit
NMRNuclear magnetic resonance
OTOccupational therapy
PACUPost-anesthesia care unit
PKProtein kinase
RAPDRelative afferent pupillary defect
RFLPRestriction fragment length polymorphism
RFTRenal function test
RhRhesus Factor
SARSSevere acute respiratory syndrome
TGFTumor growth factor
TSHThyroid stimulating hormone
UTIUrinary tract infection
VFV-fibVentricular fibrillation
WATWhite adipose tissue

Basic Medical Terminology List

  • Abdomen: The part of the body that contains the stomach, intestines, and other organs
  • Acute: Refers to a condition that has a rapid onset and short duration
  • Anemia: A condition in which the body lacks enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the body's tissues
  • Artery: A blood vessel that carries blood away from the heart to other parts of the body
  • Benign: Refers to a tumor or growth that is not cancerous and does not invade nearby tissue or spread to other parts of the body
  • Chronic: Refers to a condition that lasts a long time or is persistent
  • Diagnosis: The identification of a disease or condition based on its symptoms and medical tests
  • Inflammation: The body's response to injury or infection, characterized by redness, swelling, heat, and pain
  • Prognosis: The likely outcome of a disease or condition based on medical treatment and other factors
  • Symptom: A physical or mental indication of a disease or condition, such as pain or fatigue
  • Virus: A microscopic infectious agent that can replicate only inside a host cell and causes various diseases
  • X-ray: A medical test that uses electromagnetic radiation to produce images of internal body structures

Nursing Medical Terminology List

  • Acute: a sudden and severe onset of symptoms or illness.
    Anesthesia: loss of sensation or feeling, usually achieved through medication.
  • Anticoagulant: a medication that prevents blood clots.
  • Arrhythmia: an irregular heartbeat.
  • Artery: a blood vessel that carries oxygenated blood from the heart to other parts of the body.
  • Catheter: a flexible tube inserted into the body to remove or deliver fluids.
  • Chronic: a condition or disease that is long-lasting or recurrent.
  • Diastolic: the lower number in a blood pressure reading that indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting.
  • Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG): a test that measures the electrical activity of the heart.
  • Embolism: a blockage in a blood vessel, usually caused by a blood clot or other debris.
  • Hemoglobin: a protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
  • Hypertension: high blood pressure.
    Inflammation: a localized response to injury or infection that is characterized by redness, swelling, and warmth.
  • Intravenous (IV): a method of delivering fluids or medications directly into a vein.
  • Ischemia: a lack of blood flow to an area of the body, usually caused by a blockage in a blood vessel.
  • Myocardial infarction (MI): commonly known as a heart attack, occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, causing damage to the heart muscle.
  • Palliative care: specialized medical care for people with serious illnesses that focuses on providing relief from symptoms and improving quality of life.
  • Prophylaxis: a preventative treatment used to protect against a particular disease or infection.
  • Systolic: the higher number in a blood pressure reading that indicates the pressure in the arteries when the heart is contracting.
  • Thrombosis: the formation of a blood clot inside a blood vessel.
  • Tracheostomy: a surgical procedure in which an opening is made in the neck and a tube is inserted into the windpipe to help with breathing.
  • Urinary incontinence: a loss of bladder control, resulting in the accidental release of urine.
  • Ventilation: the process of breathing, or the mechanical assistance of breathing, in patients who are unable to breathe on their own.
  • Wound debridement: the removal of dead or damaged tissue from a wound to promote healing.

Medical Terminology List of Desease

Here is a list of some common medical terms used to describe diseases:

  • Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS): a severe lung condition that can occur in response to injury or infection.
  • Asthma: a chronic lung disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the airways.
  • Cancer: a group of diseases characterized by the uncontrolled growth and spread of abnormal cells.
  • Cardiovascular Disease (CVD): a class of diseases that affect the heart and blood vessels.
  • Cerebrovascular Accident (CVA or stroke): a disruption in blood flow to the brain that can cause damage to brain tissue.
  • Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD): a group of lung diseases that make it difficult to breathe.
  • Congestive Heart Failure (CHF): a condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood to meet the body's needs.
  • Diabetes: a chronic condition characterized by high blood sugar levels.
  • Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease (GERD): a condition in which stomach acid flows back into the esophagus, causing irritation and discomfort.
  • Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV): a virus that attacks the immune system and can lead to acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS).
  • Hypertension: high blood pressure.
    Influenza (Flu): a highly contagious viral infection that affects the respiratory system.
  • Malaria: a parasitic disease transmitted by infected mosquitoes.
  • Multiple Sclerosis (MS): a chronic autoimmune disease that affects the central nervous system.
  • Osteoporosis: a condition characterized by weak, brittle bones.
  • Parkinson's Disease: a chronic neurodegenerative disorder that affects movement and coordination.
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis: a chronic autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and damage to the joints.
  • Tuberculosis (TB): a bacterial infection that primarily affects the lungs.
  • Ulcerative Colitis: a chronic inflammatory bowel disease that causes inflammation and ulcers in the lining of the colon.
  • Urinary Tract Infection (UTI): an infection in any part of the urinary system, including the kidneys, bladder, and urethra.
  • Zika Virus: a mosquito-borne virus that can cause fever, rash, joint pain, and other symptoms.

This article covers most of the commonly used medical terms. Hope you found what you are looking for. If you still are confused while learning new medical terminology you can add the word in the comments section below and we will get back to you with the full meaning of it which includes – prefix, suffix and root word along with the commonly used medical abbreviations and acronyms.

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