Medical Terminology: Latin and Greek Roots 3 - [A-N]

Well, it’s been a while since we’ve had any Greek or Latin added to our Medical Terminology section, so I figure I can dig a few more interesting ones out of the depths of my memory…no overall theme today, just some useful roots. I’ve listed some before, but it can make understanding more simple if you see what can easily get mixed up in one place.

**If you go to my page tagged #Medical Terminology and use the search function on your computer [Ctrl + F on PCs], you can type part of a medical word you’ve seen, and you just might find the term that corresponds with it. :D

Easily confused prefixes/words:

*-dont-: Relating to the teeth (ex: peridontal, a condition around the structure of the tooth)
*-ton-: Muscle or nerve stretching (ex: peritoneum, the membrane “stretched around” the abdomen)

*Ante-: In front of, before (ex: antepartum, before childbirth)
Against or opposed to (ex: antiseptic, against putrefaction)

*Brachy-: Short, little, shallow (ex: brachydactyly, short fingers)
Relating to the arm, or an arm (ex: brachiosaur, dinosaurs that had forelimbs much longer than the hind legs)
*Brady-: Slow (ex: bradycardia, excessively slow heartbeat)
*Bronchi-: "The wind pipe" - from Greek bronkhos. Now refers to the off-branchings of the wind pipe (trachea)

*Cephal-: Pertaining to the head (ex: cephalopod, “head-foot”, creatures like squids that have their “feet” [tentacles] attached to their head/thorax structure)
Pertaining to the brain (ex: cerebrovascular, pertaining to the blood vessels of the brain)
 Of the cerebellum - literally “little brain” (ex: spinocerebellar tract, one of the sets of axonal fibers in the spinal cord, that ends in the cerebellum, the structure under the brain)

*Col-: Relating to the colon (ex: colectomy, removal of all or part of the colon)
Relating to the vagina, a hollow, the womb (ex: colposcopy, imaging of the vaginal canal)

Cold (ex: cryoablation, removal of tissue by freezing)
Hidden, concealed (ex: cryptography, “relating to hidden writing [encoded messages]”)

*Cyan-: Blue (ex: cyanosis, the state of being blue, often caused by lack of oxygenation)
Pregnancy (ex: cyesis, the state of pregnancy, obsolete term, rarely seen)

Any closed cavity or sac lined by epithelial cells (ex: cysticercosis, the condition of having cysts in the body, caused by the encysting of the eggs of the tapeworm)
*Cyt-: Cell (ex: cytokine, protein molecules that signal cells to move, such as when the immune system is being activated) 
*Dacryo-: Tear (ex: dacryocele, the congenital hernial protusion of the lachrymal [tear] sac)
*Dactyl(o)-: Pertaining to the fingers or toes (ex: dactylitis, the inflammation of the fingers or toes, making them sausagey-looking and swollen)

*Eti-: “Cause of” (ex. etiology, the cause of [a given subject], in medicine, the etiology of a disease, condition, symptom, or outbreak, are particularly relevant)
*Ento-: Insect (ex. entomology, the study of insects)
*Ect(o)-: Outside, external (ex. ectopic, “out of place”, for example, a pregnancy outside of where it should be)

*Epi-: Upon, outside of (ex. epicardium, the outer layer of heart tissue, inside the pericardium)
Pertaining to the pubic region, or loin (ex. episiotomy, the controlled cutting of the vulvovaginal region prior to childbirth, to avoid uncontrolled tearing when the baby crowns)

*Glauc(o)-: A silvery or blue-gray color (ex: uroglaucin, a grayish-indigo pigment observed in the urine resulting from certain diseases, like scarlet fever)
Relating to glucose (ex: glucocorticoid, a class of steroids from the adrenal cortex that regulate glucose level)

*Hyper-: Extreme, above normal (ex: hypertrophy, “over-nourishment”, denoting an over-sized organ or structure, such as a hypertrophic heart)
Under, below normal (ex: hypodermic, under the skin)

*Inter-: Among, in between (ex: intercostal, between the ribs)
*Intr(a/o)-: To the inside, within (ex: intracranial hemorrhage, bleeding within the skull, blood stays within the cranium)

*Lip(o)-: Fat (ex: lipodystrophy, any of the various disorders of fat metabolism, resulting in the absence of subcutaneous fat)
Stone (ex: lithocystotomy, cutting open the bladder to remove kidney stone)

*Mammo-: Pertaining to the breast (ex: mammography, imaging of the whole breast)
Pertaining to the nipple (ex: mammilliform, in the shape of a nipple, used in describing certain growths, tumors, or nodules)
*Mast(o)-: Breast (ex: mastoid, breast-like, the rounded protrusion of bone just behind the ear, once thought to look like a breast)

*Myo-: Relating to muscle (ex: cardiomyopathy, any disease of the muscle of the heart)
*Myxo-: Mucus, slime (ex: myxomatous, a benign tumor of connective tissue containing jellylike/mucus material)
*Myco-: Fungus (ex: rhinomycosis, a fungal infection of the nasal mucous membranes)
*Myel(o)-: Relating to the bone marrow or spinal cord (ex: poliomyelitis, an inflammatory process involving the gray matter of the spinal cord)

*Narco-: Numb, sleep (ex: narcotic, capable of inducing a state of stuporous analgesia - a numb stupor)
Death (ex: necrotizing, causing the death of cells, as in necrotizing fasciitis, the infection causing the death of the fascia)
Kidney (ex: epinephrine, “from above the kidney”, so-called because the adrenal glands are located on top of the kidneys)

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