ROOTS AND COMBINING FORMS IN MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY

The list of roots and combining forms in this appendix pertains only to external anatomy - that which can be visualized with the naked eye. Some terms are complete Latin or Greek words, and this is noted in the definition. They are arranged alphabetically, and the region of the body is indicated where applicable.

Word or Combining
Form
Meaning Body
Region*
axilla (pl. axillae) Latin for armpit E
blepharo-, blephar- Eyelid or eyelash H&N
brachium Latin for arm, mainly the arm above the elbow E
bucca Latin for cheek H&N
calx Latin for heel
(Do not confuse with calyx, a recess of the pelvis of the kidney)
E
canthus (pl. canthi),
cantho-
The angle at either end of the slit between the eyelids H&N
capillus (pl. capilli) Latin for hair
(Term can apply to hair anywhere on the body)
H&N
caput (pl. capita) Latin for head H&N
carpus, carpo- Latin for wrist; also the eight bones of the wrist collectively E
cephalo- Relating to the head H&N
cervix (pl. cervices), cervico- Latin for neck or neck-like part
(Term also used for cervix uteri, or neck-like projection of the uterus)
H&N
cheilo-, cheil- Greek for lip H&N
cheiro-, chiro-, cheir-, chir- Hand E
cilium (pl. cilia) Latin for eyelid or eyelash or any minute hairlike process
attached to the free surface of a tissue or cell
H&N
core-, coro- Pupil of eye H&N
corium Latin for true skin
coxa Latin for hip or hip joint
(Also an internal anatomic term)
T
cubitus Latin for elbow, but used mainly to refer to the forearm E
cutis Latin for skin
dactylo- Digit, usually a finger but sometimes a toe E
dento-, dent-, denta,
denti, dentia
Tooth or teeth H&N
derm-, derma-,
dermato-, dermo-
Skin
digit Finger or toe E
dorsum (pl. dorsa),
dorso-
Latin for back T
facio- Face H&N
frons, fronto- Latin for forehead H&N
genu Latin for knee E
gingiva Gum H&N
glosso-, gloss- Tongue H&N
gnatho-, gnath- Jaw H&N
hallux (pl. halluces) Latin for great toe E
irido- Iris of eye
(From a Greek word meaning rainbow or colored circle)
H&N
inguen Latin for groin
(The "e" changes to "i" in words pertaining to the groin, e.g., inguinal)
T
labio- Lip, especially of the mouth H&N
laparo- Loin or flank; sometimes used loosely to refer to the abdomen T
latus, latero- Latin for side
(Term may be used to denote either the side of any organ or a position)
T
lingua Latin for tongue H&N
lumbus Latin for loin T
mamma (pl. mammae) Latin for breast, or mammary gland T
manus Latin for hand E
masto-, mast- Breast T
melia Greek for limbs (melos) E
mentum Latin for chin
(Do not confuse with words beginning with men that refer to the mind or menses; the sense in which it is used will govern the meaning)
H&N
naris (pl. nares) Latin for one of the openings into the nasal cavity H&N
naso- Nose H&N
nucha Latin for back, or nape, of neck H&N
occiput Latin for back part of the head H&N
oculo- Eye H&N
odonto- Tooth or teeth H&N
omo- Shoulder T
omphalo- Navel (umbilicus) T
onycho- Nail E
ophthalmo-, ophthalm- Eye H&N
ora Latin for mouth H&N
orb Latin for sphere or eyeball H&N
orbit Bony socket containing the eye H&N
oto- Ear H&N
palpebra (pl. palpebrae) Latin for eyelid H&N
papilla (pl. papillae) Latin for nipple or nipple-shaped projection T
pectus Latin for chest, thorax, or breast T
pes, ped-, pod- Foot
(Do not confuse with Greek paed or ped, referring to a child)
E
phallo Latin for penis T
pilo- Hair

plantar Latin for sole of foot E
pollex Latin for thumb E
poples Latin for posterior surface of knee E
rhino-, rhin- Nose H&N
soma, somato- Greek for body
sterno- Sternum, or breastbone, as usually used,
but formerly referred to chest
T
steth-, stetho- Chest T
stomato-, stomo- Mouth H&N
talus Latin for ankle; also refers to an ankle bone E
tarso- Instep of the foot; also edge of eyelid E
thele Greek for nipple T
thenar Greek for palm of hand or sole of foot E
thoraco- Chest or thorax T
-thrix Suffix relating to hair
trachelo- Neck or neckline structure, such as the cervix

tricho- Hair
unguis Latin for nail of finger or toe E
venter Latin for stomach or belly, belly-shaped or hollowed part T
ventro- Belly; front or anterior aspect of the body


*
E = extremities
H&N = head and neck
T = trunk

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