Key to Derivation of Medical Terms


These medical combining forms, with a prefix or a suffix, or both are those most commonly used in making medical words. Most of the medical terms are either originated from Latin or Greek. So be sure to use properly the Greek forms with the Greek prefixes and suffixes. The same is true with Latin. A vowel usually a, i, o or o is often needed for euphony.


  1. Acr (Greek) – pertaining to extremity; acrodermatitits, a dermatitits of the limbs.
  2. Aden (Greek) – pertaining to gland; adenitis, inflammation of a gland.
  3. Bio (Greek) – pertaining to life; biopsy, inspection of living organisms or tissues.
  4. Bleph (Greek) – pertaining to eyelids; blepharitis, inflammation of the eyelid.
  5. Cardi (Greek) – pertaining to heart; cardialgia, pain in the heart.
  6. Cephal (Greek) – pertaining to head; cephalalgia, headache.
  7. Cheil (Greek) – pertaining to lip; cheilitis
  8. Cheir (Greek) – pertaining to hand;  cheirospasm, writer’s cramp.


(to be continued…)