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Root Words in Disease Names

In medical terminology, a root word will often be paired with another root word or a prefix and/or a suffix, which can help identify what part of the body is being referred to. This blog post will review the common root words that you can use to decipher complicated terms by breaking them into parts. These root words are typically used only in the medical field, so we will only provide a medical example.

You can add this information to that gained from our other blogs on analyzing disease names, found here:

Common Disease Prefixes

Common Disease Suffixes

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


Root Refers to Medical Example
Abdomin or abdomino Abdomen Abdominoplasty
Adip, adipo, lip, or lipo Fat Lipoma
Angio Blood vessels Angiogram
Carcin Cancer Carcinogenic
Cardi, cardio, coron, or corona Heart Cardiography
Celebr, cerebro, encepha, or
Brain Encephalitis
Col or colo Colon or large intestine Colostomy
Crani or cranio Cranium or skull Craniostomy
Cyan or cyano Blue Cyanosis
Derm, dermat, dermato Skin Dermatology
Gastro Stomach Gastrectomy
Hema Blood Hematoma
Neur or neuro Nerve Neuralgia
Oste or osteo Bone Osteotomy
Ot or oto Ear Otitis
Phleb, phlebo, ven, or veno Vein Phlebotomy
Pneum or pneumo Lung or air Pneumonia
Ren, reno, nephr, or nephro Kidney Renal
Scler, or sclero Hardening Atherosclerosis
Thorac or thoraco Chest Thoracotomy
Thromb or thrombo Clot Hyperthrombosis
Vascul or vasculo Blood vessel Vasculitis

Disease Root Words

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

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