1.1 Introduction to Basic Word Structure

Learning Objectives

By the end of this chapter, you should be able to

  1. Define the component parts of medical terms
  2. Identify combining forms in medical terms
  3. Identify prefixes and define their meaning
  4. Identify suffixes and define their meaning
  5. Apply an understanding of component parts to define medical terms

Chapter Overview

Medical language may appear to be very complex; however, most medical terms can be understood through a process of breaking them down into their component parts. Being able to identify the component parts, understand their meaning, and bring the terms together will demystify medical language and make it much easier to understand. Many healthcare professions use medical language on a daily basis, whether to diagnose a patient, interpret test results, or consult with other healthcare professionals. If you are working in health care, it is essential that you understand common medical terms so you know what is being communicated.

This chapter will introduce you to common medical terms used in various healthcare settings. We will begin with the basic component parts of medical terms, language rules, combining forms, and prefixes and suffixes. Then we will bring it all together with some review activities at the end of the chapter.



Unless otherwise indicated, material on this page has been adapted from the following resource:

Carter, K., & Rutherford, M. (2020). Building a medical terminology foundation. eCampusOntario. https://ecampusontario.pressbooks.pub/medicalterminology/ licensed underĀ CC BY 4.0



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The Language of Medical Terminology Copyright © 2022 by Lisa Sturdy and Susanne Erickson is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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