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Prefixes
Prefix

Word element located at the beginning
of a word that alters the meaning
(prefix)

Pre-
(before)
(word root)
(suffix)
+ nat + -al
(birth)
= prenatal
(pertaining to)
Prefixes of Position

epi


under, below
Infracostal: below the ribs
inter
under, below, deficient
Hypodermic: pertaining to under the skin
infra

Epidermis: area above the dermis (outermost layer of
skin)
hypo
above, upon
between
Intercostal: between the ribs
Prefixes of Position

post



backward, behind
Retroversion: turning backwards
sub
before, in front of
Prognosis: knowing before
retro
before, in front of
Preoperative: before surgery
pro

Postnatal: pertaining to period after birth
pre
after, behind
under, below
Subnasal: under the nose
Prefixes of Number and
Measurement

bi



excessive, above normal
Hyperglycemia: high blood suger
macro
one half
Hemiplegia: paralysis of one half of the body
hyper
double
Diplopia: double vision
hemi

Bilateral: pertaining to two sides
dipl
two
large
Macrocyte: large cell
Prefixes of Number and
Measurement

Micro


one
Uninuclear: pertaining to one nucleus
multi
one
Monotherapy: one treaement
uni

Microscope: instrument for examining small objects
mono
small
many, much
Multigavida: woman who has been pregnant > 1x
Prefixes of Number and
Measurement

poly


Polyphobia: fear of many things
quadri
four
Quadriplegia: paralysis of four limbs
tri
many, much
three
Triceps: three heads
Prefixes of Direction

ab


around
Circumduction: circular movement of a limb at it’s
distal end, while the proximal end stays stationary
peri
toward
Adduction: movement of a limb towards the body
circum

Abduction: movement of a limb away from the body
ad
away from
around
Periodontal: pertaining to around a tooth
Prefixes of Direction

dia- or trans


in, within
Intramuscular: within the muscle
para
outside, outward
Extracranial: outside the skull
endo- or intra

Diarrhea: flow through
ecto-, exo-, extra

through, across
nea, beside, beyond
Paranasal: beside the nose
Prefixes of Direction

super


Superior: pertaining to upper part of a structure
supra
above, excessive, superior
Suprarenal: pertaining to above the kidney
ultra
upper, above
excess, beyond
Ultrasound: vibrations of sound beyond what can be
heard by the human ear
Other Common Prefixes

a


slow
Bradycardia: slow heart rate
dys
against
Antibacterial: against bacteria
brady
without, not
Anesthesia: without feeling
anti- or contra

Asymptomatic: without symptoms
an

without, not
bad, painful, difficult
Dysmenorrhea: painful menstruation
Other Common Prefixes

homo- or homeo



union, together, joined
Syndactylism: condition of joined toes or fingers
tachy
false
Pseudocyesis: false pregnancy
syn
bad
Malnutrition: bad nutrtion
pseudo

Homeostasis: maintaining stable internal
physiological conditions
mal
same
rapid
Tachypnea: rapid breathing
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