Medical Prefixes and Suffixes And What They Stand For

As a healthcare professional, it is important that you should be acquainted with common medical prefixes, suffixes or a combination of both. In medical English, there are words, phrases or terms which are difficult to understand. Most of the words are either derivatives or are modified versions. Generally, the meaning of the words gets altered by adding the prefixes or suffixes. If you know what the prefix understands for ten it will become easy for you to understand the meaning of the word or the medical term as well. 

Listed down are a few of the medical prefixes and suffixes and their meanings. These can be helpful for you when you take the OET reading or OET writing test. 

  • –iatry (treatment)
  • Infra- (below)
  • is/o (equal, like)
  • –ist (one who specializes in)
  • karyo- (nucleus)
  • latero- (lateral)
  • leuk/leuko- (white)
  • lys-/lyso-/ -lytic (dissolution)
  • –megaly (large)
  • my/myo- (muscle)
  • brachi/brachii (arm)
  • carcin/carcino- (cancer)
  • Ambi (around, on all sides, both)
  • An (not, without)
  • Angi (blood vessel)
  • ante (before)
  • aer/aero (air, gas)
  • aesthesio (Britain) sensation
  • –al (pertaining to)
  • cardi/cardio (heart, esophageal opening of stomach)
  • chem/chemo (chemistry, drug)
  • chol (bile)
  • cis (on this side) 
  • ren/reno- (kidney)
  • –rrhexis (rupture)
  • scler/sclero- (hardness)
  • splen/spleno- (spleen)
  • sub- (beneath) 
  • hydr/hydro- (water)
  • sy/syl- (together)
  • tachy- (fast)
  • thyr/thyro- (thyroid gland)
  • –tony (tension)
  • –trophy (growth)
  • uni- (one)
  • vasculo- (blood vessel)
  • ab (away from)
  • –ac (pertaining to)
  • acous/acouso (hearing)
  • acr/acro- (extremity, topmost)
  • alge/algesi (pain)
  • –algia (pain)
  • algio/algo (pain)
  • anti (against, opposed to)
  • arteri/arterio (artery)
  • arthr/arthro (joint, articulation)
  • bi (twice, double)
  • bio (life)
  • blast/blasto (germ or bud)
  • ecto- (outer, outside)
  • Eu- (good, well)
  • Ex- (out of, away from)
  • Exo- (exterior, outward)
  • –-galact/galacto- (milk)
  • –gen (origin or production)
  • Hemi- (one-half)
  • path/patho- (disease)
  • Peri- (around, about)
  • phaco- (lens-shaped)
  • phren/phreni- (diaphragm)
  • pyro- (fever)
  • quadr/quadri- (four)
  • dacrio (tear)
  • de (away from, cessation)
  • di (separation, two)
  • dif (separation)
  • dys (bad, difficult)
  • dal (pertaining to)
  • Ec (out, away)
  • –acusis (hearing condition)
  • xer-/xero- (dryness) 
  • Neo- (new)
  • odyn/odyno- (pain)
  • –oma (tumor)
  • –omata (plural of -oma)
  • orth/ortho- (straight, normal, correct)
  • –ous (pertaining to)
  • –ad (toward, in the direction of)
  • ad- (increase, adherence, motion toward)
  • aden/adeno (gland)
  • adip/adipo (fat)
  • adren/adreno (gland)
  •  –aemia (Britain) blood condition
  • a-, an (not, without, less)


It will certainly become easy for you to understand the meaning of the even most complex words by focusing more on the prefix or the suffix that is attached to it. 

Want to prepare for the OET? Enroll for the OET preparation online. Take OET exam online training at OETpractice.net. 

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