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Medical Terminology Basics:

Prefixes Page 1

Medical Terminology Basics: Prefixes Page 1

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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.

PrefixTranslation of
Greek or Latin
A ("an" before vowel)Without, lack ofApathy (lack of feeling); apnea (without breath); aphasia (without speech); anemia (lack of blood)
AbAway fromAbductor (leading away from); aboral (away from mouth)
AdTo, toward, near toAdductor (leading toward); adhesion (sticking to); adnexia (structures joined to); adrenal (near the kidney)
AmbiBothAmbidextrous (ability to use hands equally); ambilaterally (both sides)
AmphiAbout, on both sides, bothAmphibious (living on both land and water)
AmphoBothAmphogenic (producing offspring of both sexes)
AnaUp, back, again, excessiveAnatomy (a cutting up); anagenesis (reproduction of tissue); anasarca (excessive serum in cellular tissues of body)
AnteBefore, forwardAntecubital (before elbow); anteflexion (forward bending)
AntiAgainst, opposed to, reversedAntiperistalsis (reversed peristalsis); antisepsis (against infection)
ApoFrom, away fromAponeurosis (away from tendon); apochromatic (abnormal color)
BiTwice, doubleBiarticulate (double joint); bifocal (two foci); bifurcation (two branches)
CataDown, according to, completeCatabolism (breaking down); catalepsia (complete seizure); catarrh (flowing down)
CircumAround, aboutCircumflex (winding about); circumference (surrounding); circumarticular (around joint)
ComWith, togetherCommissure (sending or coming together)
ConWith, togetherConductor (leading together); concrescence (growing together); concentric (having a common center)

  Continued . . .Go To Next Page

Prefixes ­ Page 2: "Contra" To "Hypo"
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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