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Suffixes are the one or more syllables or elements added to the root or stem of a word (the part that indicates the essential meaning) to alter the meaning or indicate the intended part of speech.
In order to make a word pronounceable, the last letter or letters of the root to which the suffix is attached may be changed. The last vowel may be changed to an "o," or an "o" may be inserted if it is not already present before a suffix beginning with a consonant, as in "cardiology." The final vowel in the root may be dropped before a suffix beginning with a vowel, as in "neuritis."
Most suffixes are in common use in English, but there are some peculiar to medical science. The suffixes most commonly used to indicate disease are "itis," meaning inflammation; "oma," meaning tumor; and "osis," meaning a condition, usually morbid. The suffixes listed occur often in medical terminology, but they are also used in ordinary language.
|ize, ate||Add to nouns or adjectives to make verbs expressing to use and to act like; to subject to; make into||Visualize (able to see); impersonate (act like); hypnotize (Put into state of hypnosis)|
|ist, or, er||Add to verbs to make nouns expressing agent or person concerned or instrument||Anesthetist (one who practices the science of anesthesia); dissector (Instrument that dissects or person who dissects); donor (giver)|
|ent||Add to verbs to make adjectives or nouns of agency||Recipient (one who receives); concurrent (happening at same time)|
|sia, y, tion||Add to verbs to make nouns expressing action, process, or condition||Therapy (treatment); inhalation (act of inhaling); anesthesia (process or condition of feeling)|
|ia, ity||Add to adjectives or nouns to make nouns expressing quality or condition||Septicemia (poisoning of blood); disparity (inequality); acidity (condition of excess acid); neuralgia (pain in nerves)|
|ma, mata, men, mina, ment, ure||Add to verbs to make nouns expressing result of action or object of action||Trauma (injury); foramina (openings); ligament (tough fibrous band holding bone or viscera together); fissure (groove)|
|ium, olus, olum, culus, culum, cule, cle||Add to nouns to make diminutive nouns||Bacterium; alveolus (air sac) follicle (little bag); cerebellum (little brain); molecule (little mass); ossicle (little bone)|
|ible, ile||Add to verbs to make adjectives expressing ability or capacity||Contractile (ability to contract); edible (capable of being eaten); flexible (capable of being bent)|
|al, c, ious||Add to nouns to make adjectives expressing relationship, concern, or pertaining to||Neural (referring to nerve); neoplastic (referring to neoplasm); cardiac (referring heart); delirious ( suffering from delirium)|
|id||Add to verbs or nouns to make adjectives expressing state or condition||Flaccid (state of being weak or lax); fluid (state of being liquid)|
|tic||Add to a verb to make an adjective showing relationship||Caustic (referring to burn); acoustic (referring to sound or hearing)|
|oid, form||Add to nouns to make adjectives expressing resemblance||Polypoid (resembling polyp); plexiform (resembling a plexus); fusiform (resembling a fusion); epidermoid (resembling epidermis)|
|ous||Add to nouns to make adjectives expressing material||Ferrous (composed of iron); serous (composed of serum); mucinous (composed of mucin)|
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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