Latin and Greek in Anatomy and Physiology

Part of the Anatomy & Physiology Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Science, especially medicine, is permeated with Latin and Greek terms. Latin names are used for every part of the body; and since the Greeks are the founders of modern medicine, Greek terms are common in medical terminology, as well.

Latin and Greek roots

This table represents some common Latin and Greek roots used in anatomy and physiology:

English Form Meaning Example
angi(o)– vessel angiogram
arthr(o)– joint arthritis
bronch– air passage bronchitis
calc(i)– calcium calcify
card(i)– heart cardiovascular
cili– small hair cilia
corp– body corpus luteum
crani– skull cranium
cut(an)– skin cutaneous
gastr(o)– stomach, belly gastric
gluc(o)– sweet, sugar glucosa
hemat(o)– blood hematology
hist(o)– webbing (tissue) histology
hyster(o)– womb hysterectomy
lig– to bind ligament
osteo– bone osteoblast
pleur– side, rib pleural cavity
pulm(o)– lung pulmonary
ren– kidney renal
squam– scale, flat squamous
thorac– chest thoracic
vasc– vessel vascular

Latin and Greek prefixes and suffixes

This table represents some common Latin and Greek prefixes and suffixes you should know when studying anatomy and physiology:

English Form Meaning Example
a(n)– without, not anaerobic
aut(o)– self autonomic
dys– bad, disordered dysplasia
ec–, ex(o)–, ect– out, outside exoskeleton
end(o)– within, inside, inner endometrium
epi– over, above epidermis
hyper– excessive, high hyperextension
hypo– deficient, below hypothalamus
inter– between, among interoceptor
intrañ within, inside intraocular
iso– equal, same isotope
meta– beside, after metacarpus
ortho– straight, correct orthopedic
para– beside, near, alongside parathyroid
peri– around pericardium
sub– under subcutaneous
trans– across, beyond, through transplant
–blast -to sprout, to make, to bud chloroblast
–clast to break, broken osteoclast
–crine -to release, to secrete endocrine
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