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Common Disease Prefixes

As you enter the medical field, the terminology may seem overwhelming. The origin of many disease names is Latin, which few people study these days. Luckily, if you become familiar with the common prefixes, roots, and suffixes, you can decipher even the most bizarre-sounding terms.

This blog covers the common disease prefixes that are often part of the disease name or term description. A prefix is a word part that precedes the root word. We also have information on roots and suffixes, as well as a review that puts all of these parts together. You can find them here:

Common Disease Suffixes

Root Words in Disease Names

Making Sense of Disease Names: Roots, Prefixes, and Suffixes


Prefix Meaning Common Example Medical Example
A-, an-, or ana- Without or not Anaerobic Anemia
Ab- Away from Abnormal Abduction
Ad- Toward Adhere Adduction
Anti- or ant- Opposite or against Antagonist Anticoagulant
Bi- Two Bidirectional Bicuspid
Dys- or dis- Bad, painful, or
Dysfunctional Dysphagia
Brady- Slow N/A Bradycardia
Hemi- Half or partly Hemisphere Hemiplegia
Hyper- Excessive Hypersensitive Hyperthyroidism
Hypo- Under or below Hypocrite Hypoxia
Post- After or behind Postscript Postmortem
Pre- Before Prepubescent Preeclampsia
Tachy- Rapid or fast N/A Tachycardia

![Common Disease Prefixes](

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