CPC Practice Exam

Medical Terminology: Prefixes

  • Prefix: a-
    Meaning: Without
    Example: Amenorrhea - without a menstruation cycle
  • Prefix: ab- , abs-
    Meaning: away from
    Example: Abrade - to wear away medicalterminologyprefixesgauzeroll
  • Prefix: ad-
    Meaning: toward, to
    Example: Addiction -involuntary dependence upon a substance or action
  • Prefix: ambi-
    Meaning: both, around
    Example: Ambidextrous - having ability on both sides
  • Prefix: an-
    Meaning: Without
    Example: Anorexia - without appetite
  • Prefix: ana-
    Meaning: up, toward
    Example: Anaphylactic - exaggerated reaction to an antigen or toxin
  • Prefix: ante-
    Meaning: before
    Example: Antepartum - before labor or childbirth
  • Prefix:anti-
    Meaning: against
    Example: Antidepressant - counteracting depression
  • Prefix: apo-
    Meaning: derived, separate
    Examples: apodia - congenital absence of feet
  • Prefix: auto(o)-
    Meaning: self
    Example: autogenous - originating within the body medicalterminologyprefixeshemostats
  • Prefix: bi-
    Meaning: twice, double
    Example: bilobular - having two lobes
  • Prefix: brachy-
    Meaning: short
    Example: brachymelia - disproportionate shortness of limbs
  • Prefix: brady-
    Meaning: Slow
    Example: bradypepsia - slowness of digestion
  • Prefix: cata-
    Meaning: Down
    Example: catabolism - breaking down of chemicals in the body
  • Prefix: circum-
    Meaning: around
    Example: circumcision - cutting around the male genitalia
  • Prefix: co-; col-; com-; con-; cor-
    Meaning: together
    Example: collaboration - to bring together the efforts of two or more people
  • Prefix: contra-
    Meaning: against
    Example: contraceptive - to protect against conception
  • Prefix: de-
    Meaning: away from
    Example: delivery - the passage of fetus and placenta away from the genital canal into the external world
  • Prefix: di-; dif-; dir-; dis-
    Meaning: not, separated
    Example: Dislocation - separation of a joint
  • Prefix: dia-
    Meaning: through
    Example: dialysis - blood filtration through artificial kidney function medicalterminologyprefixeslatexglove
  • Prefix: dys-
    Meaning: abnormal, difficult
    Example: Dysuria - difficult urination
  • Prefix: ect(o)-
    Meaning: outside
    Example: ectocyst - outer layer of a hydatid cyst
  • Prefix: end(o)-
    Meaning: within
    Example: endoscopy - examination of the interior with a scope
  • Prefix: epi-
    Meaning: over
    Example: Epidemic - widespread disease over large geographical areas
  • Prefix: eu-
    Meaning: well, good, normal
    Example: eutherapeutic - having excellent curative properties
  • Prefix: ex-
    Meaning: out of, away from
    Example: excretion - to pass out of the body
  • Prefix: exo-
    Meaning: external, on the outside
    Example: Exocrine - a type of gland that secretes onto the surface of the body
  • Prefix: extra-
    Meaning: without, outside of
    Example: extraoral - outside or the oral cavity
  • Prefix: hemi-
    Meaning: half
    Example: Hemiplegia - paralysis on one side of the body
  • Prefix: hyper-
    Meaning: above normal, overly
    Example: Hyperglycemia - high blood sugar medicalterminologyprefixespills
  • Prefix: hypo-
    Meaning: below normal
    Example: Hypoglycemia - low blood sugar
  • Prefix: infra-
    Meaning: positioned beneath
    Example: infrapatellar - beneath the patella
  • Prefix: inter-
    Meaning: between
    Example: internal - beneath the surface
  • Prefix: intra-
    Meaning: within
    Example: intranasal - within the nasal cavity
  • Prefix: iso-
    Meaning: equal, same
    Example: isolate - to separate and set apart from others
  • Prefix: mal-
    Meaning: bad, inadequate
    Example: maladie - a disease or illness
  • Prefix: meg(a)- megal(o)-
    Meaning: large
    Example: Megalocardia - enlarged heart
  • Prefix: mes(o) -
    Meaning: middle, median
    Example: Mesoderm - the middle layer of skin
  • Prefix: meta-
    Meaning: after
    Example: metatarsal - the foot bone after the tarsal bone
  • Prefix: micr(o)-
    Meaning: small, microscopic
    Example: microscopic - minutely small and invisible to the unaided eye
  • Prefix: mon(o)-
    Meaning: single
    Example: Monolocular - having one cavity or chamber
  • Prefix: multi-
    Meaning: many
    Examples: multinodular - having many nodes medicalterminologyprefixesbandaids
  • Prefix: olig(o)-
    Meaning: few, little, scanty
    Example: oligodipsia - abnormal lack of thirst
  • Prefix: pan-, pant(o)-
    Meaning: all, entire
    Example: panacea - cure all remedy
  • Prefix: per-
    Meaning: through, intensely
    Example: percutaneous - passage of substance through the skin
  • Prefix: pluri-
    Meaning: several, more
    Example: pluriresistant - having multiple aspects of resistance
  • Prefix: poly-
    Meaning: many
    Example: polyadentitis - inflammation of many lymph nodes
  • Prefix: post-
    Meaning: after, following
    Example: Posterior - the back surface of the body
  • Prefix: pre-
    Meaning: before
    Example: Prenatal - before birth
  • Prefix: pro-
    Meaning: before, forward
    Example: process - the projection, growth, or the action of moving forward
  • Prefix: quadra-, quadri-
    Meaning: four
    Example: Quadrant - one fourth of a circle
  • Prefix: re-
    Meaning: again, backward
    Example: reaction - to render active again
  • Prefix: retro-
    Meaning: behind, backward
    Example: Retroflexion - bending backwards
  • Prefix: semi-
    Meaning: half
    Example: Semicomatose - a state of half consciousness
  • Prefix: sub-
    Meaning: under, inferior
    Example: Subcutaneous - beneath the skin
  • Prefix: super-
    Meaning: more than, above, superior
    Example: supersonic - greater than the speed of sound medicalterminologyprefixesicepack
  • Prefix: supra-
    Meaning: above, over
    Example: supraanal - above the anus
  • Prefix: syl-, sym-, syn-, sys-
    Meaning: together
    Example: Symbiosis - mutual interdependence
  • Prefix: tachy-
    Meaning: fast
    Example: Tachycardia - rapid heartbeat
  • Prefix: trans-
    Meaning: across, through
    Example: transplant - to transfer from one part to another
  • Prefix: ultra-
    Meaning: beyond, excessive
    Example: ultrasonic - sound waves at higher frequencies than sound
  • Prefix: un-
    Meaning: not
    Example: unconscious - not conscious
  • Prefix: uni-
    Meaning: one
    Example: union - joining of two parts into one

Medical Coding

Medical coding is dependent upon a solid understanding of medical terminology.

To be successful and accurate medical coders must have a solid understanding of common medical terms for various reasons which include:

  • Reading and understanding medical dictation
  • Proper code look up and selection
  • Communicating with physicians, insurance companies, and other medical professionals
  • Understanding human anatomy
  • Appealing claim denials


Prefixes are word parts that are conjoined with a root word.

Prefixes are placed in front of the root word and begin the medical term.

The main purpose of these word parts is to modify the existing explanation of a word without changing it.

Prefix Reference

In the AMA's CPT book there is two pages prior to the E/M section that contain commonly used medical terms.

These pages include full terms, prefixes, suffixes, and root words.

In addition to the medical terminology there are also anatomical illustrations that include body planes and directional terms.

Prefix Example


The root word uria means urine and the prefix dys- means painful or difficult

Dysuria means painful or difficult urination.

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