What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology (2023)

What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology (1)

A suffix in medical terminology is one of the word parts that make up a medical term. When a different suffix is added to the end of a word, it can change the entire meaning of the word.

If you work in healthcare and do not have a strong foundation in medical terminology, you cannot effectively communicate with physicians and other healthcare professionals. This ineffectiveness can put a patient’s safety at risk.

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A Suffix in Medical Terminology

A suffix is the word part that is placed at the end of a word and usually, but not always, indicates, procedure, condition, disease, or disorder. This word part is also preceded by a hyphen, such as in the suffix -osis.

The other three word parts, according to Medical Terminology for Health Professions, 8th Edition, include:

  • Word root. Main part of the word that usually indicates body part, such as in pulm-, to mean lung. A word root cannot stand alone; it must be accompanied by a suffix.
  • Combining form. Word root followed by a vowel (usually “o”) used when two word roots are combined or when the suffix begins with a consonant. A combining form appears as a word root with a back slash after it and before the combining vowel, such as in my/o.
  • Prefix. Word part placed at the beginning of word root that usually indicates location, time, number, or status. A prefix is not always added. When it is, however, the word part is shown with a hyphen after it, such as in hypo-.
What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology (2)
(Video) Medical Terminology: Suffixes MADE EASY [Nursing, Students, Coding]

Want to have fun while learning 10 common medical terminology suffixes? Simply print out this crossword puzzle and answer sheet and enjoy!

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Indications of a Suffix

The following are examples of medical terms with suffixes that indicate a procedure, condition, disease, or disorder:

  • Bronchoplasty. The reconstruction or repair of the bronchus. Bronch/o (bronchus); -plasty (surgical repair). The suffix -plasty refers to a procedure.
  • Arthralgia. Pain in a joint or joints. Arthr (joint); -algia (pain). The suffix -algia refers to a condition.
  • Neuropathy. Any disease or damage to a nerve. Neur/o (nerve); -pathy (disease). The suffix -pathy refers to a disease.
  • Spondylosis. A degenerative disorder that can lead to loss of normal spinal structure and function. Spondyl (verebrae); -osis (abnormal condition or disease). The suffix-osis refers to a disorder.

One Word Root and a Suffix

When a suffix starts with a vowel, NO combining vowel is used to link the word root to the suffix, according to Medical Terminology & Anatomy for Coding, 3rd Edition.

Example: The term is adenosis. The word root is aden, meaning gland, and the suffix is -osis, meaning abnormal condition or disease. The suffix -osis comes at the end of the word root aden. Adenosis means abnormal condition or disease of a gland.

When a suffix starts with a consonant, a vowel is used to link the word root to the suffix.

Example: The term is rhinoplasty.The word root is rhin (nose) and is combined with the suffix -plasty (surgical repair). The combining vowel “o” is used before -plasty, because -plasty starts with a consonant. Rhinoplasty is the surgical repair of the nose.

Two Word Roots and a Suffix

When there are two word roots and a suffix that starts with a vowel, a vowel is added to the first word root.

Example:The term is pyelonephritis. Pyel means renal pelvis; nephr means kidney; -itis means inflammation. The vowel (o) is added to the first word root to make the combining form pyel/o. There is no need to add a vowel to the second word root in this case, because -itis starts with a vowel. Pyelonephritis means inflammation of both the renal pelvis and kidney.

(Video) Medical Terms 4, Suffixes

When there are two word roots and a suffix that starts with a consonant, a vowel is added to the first word root and the second word root.

Example: The term is electrocardiogram. The two word roots are electr (electricity) and cardi (heart). The vowel (o) is added to the first word root to make the combining form electr/o. The suffix -gram (record) begins with a consonant and, therefore, the vowel (o) is used after the second word root to make the term easier to pronounce. Electr/o/cardi/o/gram. Electrocardiogram is the record of the electricity in the heart.

What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology (3)

Different Suffix, Same Meaning

Some medical terms have the same meaning even though they have different suffixes.

Example: Take the terms, hysterodynia and hysteralgia. In hysterodynia, hyster/o means uterus; -dynia means pain. Hysterodynia means pain in the uterus. In hysteralgia, hyster/o means uterus; -algia means pain. Hysteralgia means pain in the uterus.

Different Suffix, Different Meaning

Changing the suffix changes the meaning of the word.

Example: The term is cardiac. The word root cardi means heart; the suffix -ac means pertaining to. Cardiac means pertaining to the heart.

Now, if we take the term, cardiologist. Again, cardi means heart, the suffix -ologist means specialist. Cardiologist is a physician who specializes in diagnosing and treating abnormalities, diseases, and disorders of the heart.

Suffixes That Change a Word Root Into a Noun

These suffixes change the word root into a noun (person, place, or thing):

(Video) Medical Terminology. Suffixes part 1

-a, -ae, -e, -i, -um, -us, -y

Example: The term is pericardium. Peri- means surrounding, cardi means heart, and -um is the singular noun ending. Pericardium (thing) is also called the pericardial sac that surrounds the heart.

Suffixes That Mean “Pertaining To”

These suffixes mean “pertaining to” and turn the word root into an adjective (word that defines or describes):

-ac, -al, -an, -ar, -ary, -eal, -ial, -ical, -ic, -ine, -ior-, -ory, -ous, -tic

Example: Epigastric. epi- (above); gastr (stomach); -ic (pertaining to). Epigastric refers to the region above the stomach.

Suffixes That Mean “Abnormal Condition or Disease”

Suffixes that mean “abnormal condition or disease” include:

-ago, -esis, -ia, -iasis, -ion, -ism, -nic, -osis

Example: Ankylosis. Ankyl/o (bent, crooked, or stiff); -osis (abnormal condition or disease). Anklyosis is abnormal stiffening of a joint.

Double R’s

Some medical terms have suffixes that start with two of the letter “r” and are often called the double Rs.

(Video) Medical terms - common prefixes

Suffixes that contain double Rs include:

-rrhage, -rrhagia, -rrhaphy, -rrhea, -rrhexis

Example: Splenorrhagia. splen/o (spleen); -rrhagia (bleeding). Splenorrhagia is an abnormal enlargement of the spleen.

Conclusion

Hopefully, you now have a better understanding of what a suffix is in medical terminology and how it can affect patient care. Just by changing this word ending, it changes the meaning of the word. We discussed many of the common suffixes used in medical terminology and their rules associated with one and two word roots and vowels and consonants.

Now that you have reviewed the information on suffixes, why not take the related Medical Terminology Challenge? You only need to sign in if you are already a member. Or you may wish to subscribe to gain access to this challenge and many others. They are FREE!

It’s only one multiple-choice question, so it will only take a few minutes. Once you have completed it, compare your answer to the answer and rationale provided.

What Is a Suffix in Medical Terminology (4)
  • Medical Terms Ending in Osis: Take the Quiz
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  • 7 Benefits of Medical Crossword Puzzles
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  • Suffixes Indicating Procedure: Medical Terminology Challenge

FAQs

What is suffix and examples? ›

4. Common noun suffixes
SuffixMeaningExample
-eerengaged in something, associated with somethingvolunteer
-ersomeone who performs an actordancer
-ionthe action or process ofcelebration
-itythe state or condition ofequality
6 more rows

What does the suffix able mean in medical terms? ›

The common root for capable of, skilled at—e.g., operable.

What is a suffix give 5 examples? ›

Common Suffixes in English
SuffixMeaningExample
-istone whochemist, narcissist, plagiarist
-ity, -tyquality ofinactivity, veracity, parity, serenity
-mentcondition ofargument, endorsement, punishment
-nessstate of beingheaviness, sadness, rudeness, testiness
8 more rows
14 Feb 2020

What are the 4 suffix types? ›

Common Suffixes in the English Language

There are many forms of suffixes (which we'll dive into here), but over 95% of all suffixes can be categorized into the four more common forms: -ed, -ing, -ly, and -s.

What are the 10 example of suffix? ›

10 Examples of Suffix, Meaning and Suffixes Examples
SuffixMeaningExample
-er/orA personTeacher
–eryA type or place of workBakery
–essMakes a feminine formWaitress
-fulAs much as will fillSpoonful
6 more rows
4 Mar 2022

What is suffix in simple word? ›

A suffix is a letter or group of letters, for example '-ly' or '- ness', which is added to the end of a word in order to form a different word, often of a different word class. For example, the suffix '-ly' is added to ' quick' to form 'quickly'. Compare affix and , prefix.

What are the 5 most common suffixes? ›

The most common suffixes are: -tion, -ity, -er, -ness, -ism, -ment, -ant, -ship, -age, -ery.
...
Nouns.
SuffixMeaningExamples
-alaction/result of Vdenial, proposal, refusal, dismissal
7 more rows

What does ment mean as a suffix? ›

Definition of -ment

1a : concrete result, object, or agent of a (specified) action embankment. b : concrete means or instrument of a (specified) action entertainment. 2a : action : process development. b : place of a (specified) action encampment. 3 : state or condition resulting from a (specified) action amazement.

Why is able a suffix? ›

-able and -ible are both suffixes, groups of letters that are added to a word to change its meaning or use. When -able and -ible are added to words it generally means 'capable of being' e.g. Enjoyable: can enjoy.

Which suffix means without? ›

The suffix –less means “without.” It is also used occasionally to denote a failure or inability to perform.

What are the 20 examples of suffix? ›

20 Examples of Suffixes, Meaning and Examples
SuffixMeaningExample
-enceAn action or stateDifference
-er/orA personTeacher
–eryA type or place of workBakery
–essMakes a feminine formWaitress
6 more rows
4 Mar 2022

What is suffix example sentence? ›

The suffix -hood, in contrast, is derivational because it combines with its stem to create a new word—for example, the noun likelihood from the adjective likely.
...
Common Verb Suffixes.
SuffixMeaningExample
-ingverb form/present participle of an actiondriving, skating, running, becoming, listening
6 more rows

Can a medical term have 2 suffixes? ›

Suffixes are word endings that form nouns, adjectives, or verbs. Â Medical terms can have more than one suffix, and a suffix can appear in the middle of a compound term affixed to a combining form.

What are the three basic types of suffixes? ›

Suffix
  • Noun-forming suffixes.
  • Verb forming suffixes.
  • Adjective forming suffixes.
  • Adverb forming suffixes.
26 Oct 2017

Can you give me an example of a suffix? ›

“A suffix (also called ending) is an affix that is placed after the stem of a word.”
...
List of Common Suffixes.
Noun Suffixes
SuffixMeaningExample
-izebecomehumanize, organize, socialize, legalize
Adjective Suffixes
-ablecapable of beingpresentable, readable, believable
44 more rows

How are suffixes written? ›

What Are Suffixes? (with Examples) A suffix is a letter or a group of letters added to the end of a word to alter its meaning or to ensure it fits grammatically into a sentence. Suffixes (added to the back of words) contrast with prefixes (added to the front). Suffixes and prefixes are known as affixes.

What is a suffix on a name? ›

A name suffix, in the Western English-language naming tradition, follows a person's full name and provides additional information about the person. Post-nominal letters indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor (e.g. "PhD", "CCNA", "OBE").

How do you identify a suffix? ›

A suffix is a letter or group of letters added at the end of a word which makes a new word. The new word is most often a different word class from the original word. In the table above, the suffix -ful has changed verbs to adjectives, -ment, and -ion have changed verbs to nouns.

What are the two types of suffixes? ›

There are two primary types of suffixes in English: Derivational suffix (such as the addition of -ly to an adjective to form an adverb) indicates what type of word it is. Inflectional suffix (such as the addition of -s to a noun to form a plural) tells something about the word's grammatical behavior.

What are the suffix rules? ›

There are two kinds of suffixes. Consonant suffixes begin with a consonant (-s, -ful, -less, - ness, -ly…). Vowel suffixes begin with a vowel (-ing, -ed, -er, -est, -y…). ➢ When adding a consonant suffix, just add.

What is the biggest suffix? ›

example
suffixgrammatical changesuffixed word
-ingcontinuous/progressivehe is sleeping
-ercomparativebigger
-estsuperlativethe biggest
5 more rows

Is Mrs A suffix? ›

The prefix Mrs. is used to describe any married woman. In the present day, many women decide they want to keep their last name instead of taking their husband's. These women are still referred to as Mrs. A widowed woman is also referred to as Mrs., out of respect for her deceased husband.

What suffix means made of? ›

-en (2) suffix added to nouns to produce adjectives meaning "made of, of the nature of" (such as golden, oaken, woolen), corresponding to Latin -anus, -inus, Greek -inos; from Proto-Germanic *-ina- (from PIE *-no-, adjectival suffix).

What does the suffix or? ›

-or (Cyrillic spelling -ор) Suffix appended to words to create a masculine noun, usually denoting a profession or a performer, used chiefly for words of Latin origin.

What type of suffix is tion? ›

a suffix occurring in words of Latin origin, used to form abstract nouns from verbs or stems not identical with verbs, whether as expressing action (revolution; commendation), or a state (contrition; starvation), or associated meanings (relation; temptation).

What are examples of suffix less? ›

10 English Words Ending in -LESS
  • careless = without care. ...
  • doubtless = without a doubt. ...
  • endless = without end (or very long) ...
  • fearless = brave, without fear. ...
  • helpless = unable to help oneself. ...
  • homeless = someone who has no place to live. ...
  • hopeless = without hope, without possibility of success. ...
  • restless = agitated, not relaxed.

Does ability have a suffix? ›

-ability, suffix. -ability, a combination of -able and -ity, is used to form nouns from adjectives that end in -able:capable (adjective) → capability (noun); reliable (adjective) → reliability (noun).

What Is able and ible? ›

The suffixes -able and -ible both mean capable of or suitable for, but we treat them differently. The most important difference is that -able is a living suffix, meaning we can affix it to virtually any verb without using a hyphen, while -ible is not used to make new words.

What is the suffix for sleep? ›

Examples
Adjective= Noun+ Suffix
sleepy= sleep+ y
friendly= friend+ ly
10 Feb 2016

Which suffix means body? ›

somat/o. body. -some. body [suffix] somn(i/o)

Do all medical words require a suffix? ›

As was discussed above, a medical term must have at least one root, but does not have to have a prefix and/or a suffix. An example of this is the term "sternocleidomastoid," which is a muscle that has attachments at the sternum, the clavicle, and the mastoid.

What are the 100 examples of suffix? ›

100 Suffixes Words List for Grades
SuffixesMeaningsExamples
-atebecomemediate, collaborate, create, accurate, appropriate, certificate, climate
-iseBecomepublicize, synthesize, hypnotize, advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise.
2 more rows

What's the suffix for pain? ›

For example, the word element -algia means "pain" or "ache", which can be combined with other word elements referring to parts of the body. Thus, myalgia refers to a pain or ache in a muscle or muscles.

Can a word have more than 1 suffix? ›

Some words have two suffixes (beauti/ful/ly). 3. Words do not always have a prefix and a suffix.

What is the suffix for pain? ›

Suffix meaning pain, painful condition.

What is a prefix and suffix in medical terminology? ›

Prefix: A prefix is placed at the beginning of a word to modify or change its meaning. Pre means "before." Prefixes may also indicate a location, number, or time. Root: central part of a word. Suffix: The ending part of a word that modifies the meaning of the word.

What is root word and suffix? ›

A root word is a basic word with no prefix or suffix added to it (a prefix is a string of letters that go at the start of a word; a suffix is a string of letters that go at the end of a word). By adding prefixes and suffixes to a root word we can change its meaning.

Can a medical term have 2 suffixes? ›

Suffixes are word endings that form nouns, adjectives, or verbs. Â Medical terms can have more than one suffix, and a suffix can appear in the middle of a compound term affixed to a combining form.

What is prefix and suffix in medical coding? ›

Medical Prefixes: When included, the prefix appears at the beginning of a medical term and usually indicates location, direction, time, quality, or quantity. Medical Suffixes: The suffix is tacked onto the end of a term and typically indicates a procedure, function, test, condition, or pathology.

Why are suffixes in medical terminology? ›

Medical terms always end with a suffix. The suffix usually indicates a specialty, test, procedure, function, condition/disorder, or status. For example, “itis” means inflammation and “ectomy” means removal. Alternatively, the suffix may simply make the word a noun or adjective.

Does every medical term have a suffix? ›

As was discussed above, a medical term must have at least one root, but does not have to have a prefix and/or a suffix.

When a suffix is added to a word it? ›

When a suffix is added to a word, it changes the form, like when adding the suffix -y turns the noun soap into the adjective soapy. You can also use suffix as a verb. If you suffix the word cake with -less, you end up cakeless, which is pretty sad, especially if it's your birthday.

What are the 100 examples of suffix? ›

100 Suffixes Words List for Grades
SuffixesMeaningsExamples
-atebecomemediate, collaborate, create, accurate, appropriate, certificate, climate
-iseBecomepublicize, synthesize, hypnotize, advertise, advise, apprise, arise, chastise, circumcise, comprise, compromise.
2 more rows

What is suffix or prefix? ›

A prefix is a word part added to the beginning of a word that changes the word's meaning. A suffix is a word part added to the end of a word that changes the word's meaning. Learning the meanings of prefixes and suffixes will help expand your vocabulary, which will help improve your writing.

Which of the following is the suffix? ›

example, -ation, -fy, -ing, -itis, etc are suffixes.

What are the two types of suffixes? ›

There are two primary types of suffixes in English: Derivational suffix (such as the addition of -ly to an adjective to form an adverb) indicates what type of word it is. Inflectional suffix (such as the addition of -s to a noun to form a plural) tells something about the word's grammatical behavior.

What's the suffix for pain? ›

For example, the word element -algia means "pain" or "ache", which can be combined with other word elements referring to parts of the body. Thus, myalgia refers to a pain or ache in a muscle or muscles.

Can a word have more than 1 suffix? ›

Some words have two suffixes (beauti/ful/ly). 3. Words do not always have a prefix and a suffix.

How do you pass a medical exam? ›

Super Easy Tips to Learn Medical Terminology
  1. Using visual cues to remember complex terms.
  2. Practicing terms using apps for iOS and Android.
  3. Deciphering terms by learning basic Latin components (root, suffix, prefix)
  4. Bulk learning using self-made acronyms.
  5. Using engaging guides and workbooks.
  6. Taking free online classes.

What is a suffix and what does it usually indicate? ›

A suffix is a word part that is added to the end of a word to complete that term. In medical terminology, suffixes usually, but not always, indicate a procedure, condition, disorder, or disease.

How do you learn medical prefixes and suffixes? ›

7 Ways to Learn Medical Terminology
  1. Get your Greek (and Latin) on. Nearly all medical terms come from Greek or Latin words. ...
  2. See the patterns in words. ...
  3. Use Acronyms. ...
  4. Imagine it. ...
  5. Flash cards. ...
  6. Medical Term Bingo. ...
  7. Slow and steady. ...
  8. Start Your Healthcare Administration Journey Today.

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