Medical Terminology Simplified


Most of the medical terms come from Latin or Greek. Therefore learning medical terminology can be very tedious. The easiest method adopted by the medical students and assistants is to memorize them. Read on to simplify the learning so that you don"t rely solely on rote learning.

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One important method to understand complex medical words is to break them down into recognizable components just like a sentence. There are four (4) basic components of a medical terminology to remember.


The first Component is the Prefix: This comes at the beginning of a word.

Example: In peri/ nat/ o/ logy, peri- is the prefix

The second Component is the Suffix: This comes at the end of a word. A suffix used in a medical term usually describes a procedure or action. When attempting to translate a word, you should be able to begin at the end.

Example: In peri/ nat/ o/ logy, -ology is the suffix.

In peri/ nat/ o/ logy, -ology is the suffix.

peri/nat/o/logy means the study of fetus

The third component is Word Root: This is body of the word. The root word is the foundation of the word.

Example: In peri/ nat/ o/ logy, nat is the word root

The fourth component is the combining form: body of the word with a vowel

Example: In peri/ nat/ o/ logy, nat/ o is a combining formRule - To define medical terms divide or slash them into component parts i.e prefixes, suffixes, root and the combining form.

See more: What Do You Call A Male Chicken, (+ Other Chook Terms)


poly / dips / ia

Poly prefix - means many

Dips- root - means thirst

Suffix- ia -condition

Here are some more examples:

Hyper/ kal / emia - excess potassium in the blood

Cardi / o / megaly - enlarged heart

My / o / card / ia - heart muscle

For more learning on medical terminologies and other learning resources for medical assistants please register for our webinar series.

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