Chapter 1: Introduction to
Medical Terminology
MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY
 The
process of dividing medical
words into component parts.
 Analysis of words will make
medical terminology easier to
understand
and remember.
ORIGINS
Word
parts generally come
from two language origins:
 Greek
 Latin
5 BASIC WORD PARTS
 Root
word
 Suffix
 Prefixes
 Combining vowel
 Combining form
ROOT WORD




Root Word – foundation of the word, usually
indicates the involved body part
Examples:
 cardi - 
 cephal –
 gastr –
 cyt –
A medical term can have one or more root words.
Ex. – cardi/o/thorac/ic = pertaining to heart and
chest
SUFFIXES
Word ending; usually indicates a procedure,
condition, disorder or disease.
 Read from the suffix backwards to the root
word for the correct meaning.
 Suffixes can be nouns or adjectives
 All medical words have suffixes
 Examples:
-itis
-ic
-logy
-lysis

PREFIXES
Word beginning; usually indicates location,
time, or a number
 Not all medical words have prefixes
 Examples:

a pre hyper sub
COMBINING VOWELS
AND FORMS
Combining Vowel
 A vowel that links two word parts together
 Usually an ‘o’
 Has no meaning of it’s own
Combining Form – root word plus a combining vowel
 Examples:
 Hemat/o –
 Cardi/o –
 Gastr/o –
 Oste/o –
RULES FOR USING
COMBINING VOWELS
1.
When the ending of the root word and
the beginning of the suffix are both
consonants, use a combining vowel.
 Example
2.
– hemat/o/logy
When the ending of the root word is a
consonant, and the beginning of the suffix
is a vowel, do not use a combining vowel.
 Example
– gastr/itis
RULES FOR USING
COMBINING VOWELS
3. A combining vowel is always used when
two root words are joined.
 Example
– cardi/o/thorac/ic
4. A prefix does not require a combining
vowel
 Example
– epi/gastr/ic
TAKING TERMS APART

Determine a medical word’s meaning by
looking at the component pieces.
Start at the suffix (all medical terms will have
one)
 Identify if there is a prefix (not all medical terms
will have one)
 Locate the root words (there may be more than
one)
 Identify the meaning of each word part as you
separate them

TAKING TERMS APART
Remember!
If you have any doubt about the correct
meaning of a word, use a medical dictionary
(appendix, internet) to double check the
definition.
SPELLLING

In medicine, spelling is critical!!!

One wrong letter could mean an
entirely different place on the body or
test to be performed

Examples – ilium and ileum, PAC and
PVC, etc…
TIME TO PRACTICE!!!
1.
In order to break words into their component parts, you will
need to become familiar with Appendix A in your textbook
(starting on page 293).
2.
Write the following words on your paper leaving 4 spaces
between words:
• Hyperthermia
 Endocardium
 Pneumonia
• Gastroenteritis
3.
Using the appendix, break each word into word parts by
placing a line in between the breaks (a / pnea)
4.
Then, define the meaning of each word part by using the
definition in the appendix (a = no, not, without and -pnea =
breathing)
5.
Finally, write the definition of each medical word (apnea =
without breathing or no breathing)
Download

1 Intro to Medical Terminology