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How to Figure Out Biology Prefixes and Suffixes

2 of 8 in Series: The Essentials of Biology Basics

The prefixes and suffixes used in biology lingo can help you figure out many biology terms. These prefixes and suffixes also can help you understand what the people in biology subspecialties do.

For example, hemato- is the prefix meaning “blood.” Therefore, a hematologist is a scientist who studies blood (and hematocrit is a measurement of blood cells). The following figure shows you several common prefixes and suffixes used in biology.

Knowing key prefixes and suffixes under the biology umbrella can help you figure out lots of biolog
Knowing key prefixes and suffixes under the biology umbrella can help you figure out lots of biology words.

Understanding what the focus of each subspecialty is will help you relate the different areas under the big biology umbrella and give you the bigger picture.

If you have an infection in your bloodstream, a hematologist may be called to help you. However, the hematologist may need to work with an immunologist (“immuno” refers to the immune system) and a microbiologist (“micro” and “bio” refer to small living organisms, such as bacteria or viruses) or cardiologist (“cardio” refers to the heart) to completely cure you. All these specialties, because they deal with living things, fall under the heading of biology.

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