A list of basic medical terminology is available on the website of Des Moines University. This guide provides a list of basic terms and a tutorial on understanding how medical terms are formed.
Medical terms are formed by combining word roots with suffixes and prefixes, according to Des Moines University. The root of a medical term is usually the middle part of the word and it conveys the term's central meaning and often refers to a part of the human anatomy. The prefix comes before the root and identifies the particular part of the root that the medical term describes. The suffix comes after the root and often describes the medical condition that is affecting the root.
The medical term myocarditis illustrates this principle, explains Des Moines University. The root "card" means heart; the prefix "myo" means muscle; the suffix "itis" means inflammation. The term means inflammation of the heart muscle.