What Are Some Definitions for Common Medical Terms?


Quick Answer

Some common medical terminologies involve the body's systems, such as the integumentary, which consists of the hair, nails, skin and glands of the skin. The endocrine system includes hormones, the pituitary and adrenal gland, the thyroid, pancreas and gonads.

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Full Answer

Many root words are useful in deciphering the meaning of medical terminology. "Anter/o" is for "front," and "dors/i" or "dors/o" is for "back" or "posterior." "Bio" means "life," and "path/o" means "disease." "Cyt/o" is for "cell" and "hist/o" or "histi/o" is for "tissue." "Hemat/o" means "blood." "Atri/o" means "heart" and "encephal/o" is for "brain." "Gynec/o" is for "female." "Lymph/o" relates to the lymph vessels. "My/o" is for "muscle" and "neur/o" is for "nerve." "Ocul/o" means "eye," "or/o" means "mouth" and "ot/o" is for "ear."

There are also Greek words often used in the medical field. "Semantics" is derived from the Greek "semantikos," meaning “significant.” The pancreas, a fleshy organ, comes from the Greek "pan," meaning “all,” and "krea," meaning “flesh.” "Coccyx" comes from the Greek word for "cuckoo," for it resembles a bird's beak. The Greek "glaukos" means “blue-gray,” and "oma" means "a condition." From these, "glaucoma" is formed, a condition in which a gray color replaces the normally black pupil.

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