CPC Practice Exam

Medical Terminology: Root Words

  • Root word: Acanth(o)
    Meaning: Spiny, thorny
    Example: acanthion - the tip of the anterior nasal spine medicalterminologyrootwordsrxbottles
  • Root word: Actin(o)
    Meaning: Light
    Example: Actinotherapy - ultraviolet light therapy used in dermatology
  • Root word: Aer(o)
    Meaning: Air, gas
    Example: Aerosol - liquid or particulate matter dispersed in air, gas, or vapor form
  • Root word: Alge, algesi, algio, algo
    Meaning: Pain
    Example: Analgesic - a pain reducing agent
  • Root word: Amyl(o)
    Meaning: Starch
    Example: Amylolysis - hydrolysis of starch unto soluable products
  • Root words: Andro
    Meaning: Masculine
    Example: Androsterone - a steroid metabolite found in male urine
  • Root words: Athero
    Meaning: Plaque, fatty substance
    Example: Atheroembolism - cholesterol embolism originating from an atheroma
  • Root qord: Bacill(i)
    Meaning: Bacilli, bacteria
    Example: Bacillemia - presence of bacilli in the blood
  • Root word: Bacteri(o)
    Meaning: Bacteria
    Example: Bacteriocin - a protien toxin produced and released by bacteria
  • Root word: Bar(o)
    Meaning: Weight, pressure
    Example: Bartaxis - reaction of living tissue to changes in pressure
  • Root words: Bas(o), basi(o)
    Meaning: Base
    Example: Basoplasm - part of cytoplasm that stains readily with basic dyes
  • Root words: Bio-
    Meaning: Life
    Example: Biopsy - sampling of tissue from living patients
  • Root words: Blast(o)
    Meaning: Immature cells
    Example: blastoma - a neoplasm composed of immature cells
  • Root words: Cac(o)
    Meaning: Bad, ill
    Example: cacomelia - congenital deformity of one or more limbs
  • Root words: Calc(o), calci(o)
    Meaning: Calcium
    Example: Calcipenia - a condition of insufficient calcium
  • Root words:Carcin(o)
    Meaning: Cancer
    Example: Carcinogen - cancer-producing substance
  • Root words: Chem (o)
    Meaning: Chemical
    Example: Chemotherapy - the treatment of disease by the use of chemicals medicalterminologyrootwordsmask
  • Root words: Chlor (o)
    Meaning: Chlorine, Green
    Example: Chloropenia - a deficiency in chloride
  • Root words: Chondrio, Chondro
    Meaning: Cartilage, grainy, gritty
    Example: Chondropathy - ant diese of the cartilage
  • Root words: Chore (o)
    Meaning: Dance
    Example: Choreoathetosis - abnormal body movements
  • Root word: Chrom, Chromat, Chromo
    Meaning: Color
    Example: Chromatism - abnormal pigmentation
  • Root word: Chrono
    Meaning: Time
    Example: Chonopharmicology - the study of the effects of drugs based on the timing of biological events and cycles.
  • Root word: Chyl (o)
    Meaning: Chyle, digestive juice
    Example: Chylidrosis - sweating of milky fluid that resembles chyle
  • Root word: Chym (o)
    Meaning: Chyme, semifluid produced of chyl and partially digested food
    Example: Chymorrhe - the flow of chyme
  • Root word: Cine (o)
    Meaning: Movement
    Example: Cineradiography - the radiography of an organism on motion
  • Root word: Coni (o)
    Meaning: Dust
    Example: Coniosis - any disease or morbid condition caused by dust
  • Root word: Crin (o)
    Meaning: Secrete
    Example: Crinin - an old term for a substance that stimulates the production of secretion by specific glands
  • Root word: Cry (o)
    Meaning: Cold
    Example: Cryospasm - movement of muscles caused by cold
  • Root word: Crypt (o)
    Meaning: Hidden, Obscure
    Example: Cryptorchidism - failure of one or both testicals to descend
  • Root word: Cyan (o)
    Meaning: Blue
    Example: Cyanosis - a darkblue or purplish color to the skin or mucous membranes
  • Root word: Cycl (o)
    Meaning: Circle, Cycle, Cilliary body
    Example: Cyclectomy - excision of a portion of a ciliary body medicalterminologyrootwordsscope
  • Root word: Cyst, Cyst (o)
    Meaning: Bladder, Cyst, Cystic duct
    Example: Cystitis - inflammation of the urinary bladder
  • Root word: Cyt (o)
    Meaning: Cell
    Example: Cytocidal - causing the death of cells
  • Root word: Dextr (o)
    Meaning: Right, toward right
    Example: Dexter - leaning toward or relating to the right side
  • Root word: Dips (o)
    Meaning: Thirsty
    Example: Polydipsia - excessively thirsty
  • Root word: Dors (o), dorsi
    Meaning: Back
    Example: Dorsolumbar - the lower back
  • Root word: Dynamo
    Meaning: Force, energy
    Example: Dynamogenic - Power produced by muscular and neural activity
  • Root word: Echo
    Meaning: Reflected sound
    Example: Echographer - an ultrasonographer
  • Root word: Electro (o)
    Meaning: Electricity, electric
    Example: Electrolyte - A compound in body fluid that conducts electricity
  • Root word:Eosin (o)
    Meaning: Red, rosy
    Example: Eosiniphobia - A morbid fear of the dawn
  • Root word: Ergo
    Meaning: Work
    Example: Ergodynamograph - Used to record the degree of muscle force and the amount of work done by muscle contraction
  • Root word: Erythro (o)
    Meaning: Red, redness
    Example: Erythrocatalysis - Phagocytosis of RBC
  • Root word: Esthesio
    Meaning: Sedation, perception
    Example: Esthesiology - The study of sensory phenomenon
  • Root word: Ethmo
    Meaning: Ethmoid bone
    Example: Ethmoiditis - Inflammation of the ethmoid sinuses
  • Root word: Etio
    Meaning: Cause
    Example: Etiology - The study of the cause of diseases and their mode of operation
  • Root word: Fibr (o)
    Meaning: Fiber
    Example: Fibroadipose - Relating to or containing both fibrous and fatty structures
  • Root word: Fluor (o)
    Meaning: Light, luminous, fluorine
    Example: Fluorocyte - Term used for a reticulocyte that exhibits fluorescence
  • Root word: Fungi
    Meaning: Fungus
    Example: Fungitoxic - Poisonous to the growth of fungus
  • Root word: Galact (o)
    Meaning: Milk
    Example: Galactocele - Retention of cyst caused by a blocked or narrowing milk duct
  • Root word: Gen (o)
    Meaning: Producing, being born
    Example: Genotoxic - A substance that damages DNA and causes in utero mutation or cancer
  • Root word: Gero, geront (o)
    Meaning: Old age
    Example: Gerontotherapy - Treatment of disease in the aged
  • Root word: Gluco
    Meaning: Glucose
    Example: Glucopenia - low blood sugar medicalterminologyrootwordsvials
  • Root word: Glyco
    Meaning: Sugars
    Example: Glycolipid - A lipid with one or more covalently attached sugar
  • Root word: Gonio
    Meaning: Angle
    Example: Gonioscope - A lens designed for the study of the angle of the anterior chamber of the eye
  • Root word: Granulo
    Meaning: Granular
    Example: Granuloplastic - forming granules
  • Root word: Gyn (o), gyne, gyneco
    Meaning: Women
    Example: Gynecology - The study of genitalia diseases, endocrinology, and reproductive physiology in women
  • Root word: Home (o), homo
    Meaning: Same, constant
    Example: Homonuclear - A cell line that retains the original chromosome complement
  • Root word: Hydro (o)
    Meaning: Hydrogen, water
    Example: Hydropenia - Reduction or deprivation of water
  • Root word: Hypn (o)
    Meaning: Sleep
    Example: Hypnopompic - The occurrence of visions or dreams during a drowsy state following sleep
  • Root word: Iatr (o)
    Meaning: Physician, treatment
    Example: Iatrogenic - The response to medical or surgical treatment, usually when response is unfavorable
  • Root word: Ichthy (o)
    Meaning: Dry, scaly, fish
    Example: Ichthyism - Poisoning by eating stale fish
  • Root word: Idio
    Meaning: Distinct, unknown
    Example: Idiopathic - Of unknown origin
  • Root word: Immun (o)
    Meaning: Safe, immune
    Example: Immunosuppressant - An agent that weakens or suppress the immune system
  • Root word: Kal (i)
    Meaning: Potassium
    Example: Hypokalemia - Too little potassium present in the blood
  • Root word: Karyo
    Meaning: Nucleus
    Example: Karyoplast - A cell nucleus surrounded by a narrow band of cytoplasm and plasma membrane
  • Root word: Ket (o), keton (o)
    Meaning: Ketone, acetone
    Example: Ketoacidosis - Acidosis, usually in diabetics or anorexics, caused by enhanced production of ketone bodies
  • Root word: Kin (o), kine
    Meaning: Movement
    Example: Kinometer - An instrument used to measure movement
  • Root word: Kinesi (o), kineso
    Meaning: Motion
    Example: Kinesthesia - The sense perception of movement
  • Root word: Kyph (o)
    Meaning: Humpback
    Example: Kyphoplasty - Injection of bone cement into a compressed vertebra
  • Root word: Lact (o), lacti
    Meaning: Milk
    Example: Lactate - To produce milk in the mammary glands
  • Root word: Latero
    Meaning: Lateral, to one side
    Example: Laterotrusion - The movement of the jaw bone when chewing
  • Root word: Lepto
    Meaning: Light, frail, thin
    Example: Leptocephalous - Having an abnormally tall, narrow cranium
  • Root word: Leuk (o)
    Meaning: White
    Example: Leukocytosis - A condition of elevated WBC
  • Root word: Lip (o)
    Meaning: Fat
    Example: Liposuction - Removal of unwanted fat by use of a suction cannulae
  • Root word: Lith (o)
    Meaning: Stone
    Example: Ureterolithiasis - Formation of one or more calculi in one or both ureters
  • Root word: Log (o)
    Meaning : Speech, words, thoughts
    Example: Logopathy - Speech disorder medicalterminologyrootwordsreflexhammer
  • Root word: Lys (o)
    Meaning: Dissolution
    Example: Lysis - The destruction of RBC, bacteria, ect. by a specific lysin
  • Root word: Macr (o)
    Meaning: Large, long
    Example: Macroscopic - Visible to the naked eye
  • Root word: Medi (o)
    Meaning: Middle, medial place
    Example: Mediodorsal - Relating to the median and dorsal planes
  • Root word: Meg (a), megal (o)
    Meaning: Large, million
    Example: Megalocardia - Enlarged heart
  • Root word: Melan (o)
    Meaning: Black, dark
    Example: Melanuria - Excretion of dark colored urine
  • Root word: Mes (o)
    Meaning: Middle, median
    Example: Mesocardia - Atypical location of the heart in the central thorax
  • Root word: Micr (o)
    Meaning: Small, one-millionth, tiny
    Example: Microscopic - Visible only with the aid of a microscope; of minute size.
  • Root word: Mio
    Meaning: Smaller, less
    Example: Miosis - Contraction of the pupil
  • Root word: Morph (o)
    Meaning: Structure, shape
    Example: Morphosis - Mode of development of a part
  • Root word: Narco
    Meaning: Sleep, numbness
    Example: Narcolepsy - Sleep disorder causing frequent day sleep and interrupted night sleep
  • Root word: Necr (o)
    Meaning: Death, dying
    Example: Necrosis - Pathological death of one or more cells, tissue, or organs with irreversible changes
  • Root word: Noct (i)
    Meaning: Night
    Example: Nocturnal - pertaining to the hours of darkness
  • Root word: Norm (o)
    Meaning: Normal
    Example: Normobaric - The barometric pressure equivalent to the pressure at sea level
  • Root word: Nucle
    Meaning: Nucleus
    Example: Nucleon - One of the subatomic partials of anomic partials, ex. Proton
  • Root word: Nyct (o)
    Meaning: Night
    Example: Nyctophobia - Morbid fear of night time or darkness
  • Root word: Oncho, onco
    Meaning: Tumor
    Example: Oncology - The study of neoplastic growths
  • Root word: Orth (o)
    Meaning: Straight, normal
    Example: Orthodontics - Dental specialty concerned with the correction of tooth placement
  • Root word: Oxy
    Meaning: Sharp, acute, oxygen
    Example: Oxyphonia - Shrill or high pitch of the voice
  • Root word: Pachy
    Meaning: Thick
    Example: Pachyblepharon - Thickening of the tarsal boarder of the eyelid
  • Root word: Path (o)
    Meaning: Disease
    Example: Pathogen - Disease causing substance
  • Root word: Phago
    Meaning: Eating, devouring, swallowing
    Example: Phagocyte - A cell that ingests bacteria and other intruders
  • Root word: Pharmaco
    Meaning: Drugs, medicine
    Example: Pharmacology - The study of drugs medicalterminologyrootwordsrxbottle
  • Root word: Phon (o)
    Meaning: Sound, voice, speech
    Example: Phonetics - The science of speech and pronunciation
  • Root word: Phot (o)
    Meaning: Light
    Example: Photogen - A microorganism that produced luminescence
  • Root word: Physic, physio
    Meaning: Physical, natural
    Example: Physiotherapeutic - Pertaining to physical therapy
  • Root word: Physo
    Meaning: Air, gas, growing
    Example: Physocele - Herniated sac distended with gas
  • Root word: Phyt (o)
    Meaning: Plant
    Example: Phytodermatitis - Dermatitis caused by skin contacting and reacting to specific plants
  • Root word: Plasma, plasmo
    Meaning: Formative, plasma
    Example: Plasmoschisis - The splitting of protoplasm into fragments
  • Root wrd: Poikilo
    Meaning: Varied, irregular
    Example: Poikiloblast - A nucleated RBC of irregular shape
  • Root word: Pseud (o)
    Meaning: False
    Example: Pseudoapraxia - A condition of exaggerated awkwardness in which an individual make wrong use of objects
  • Root word: Pyo
    Meaning: Pus
    Example: Pyuria - Pus in the urine
  • Root word: Pyreto
    Meaning: Fever
    Example: Pyretogenesis - The origin of a fever
  • Root word: Pyro
    Meaning: Fever, fire, heat
    Example: Pyrolysis - Decomposition of a substance by heat
  • Root word: Radio
    Meaning: Radiation, x-ray, radius
    Example: Radiologist - A physician trained in diagnostic / therapeutic use of x-ray and radionuclides
  • Root word: Salping (o)
    Meaning: Tube
    Example: Salpingoophorectomy - Removal of the ovary and it’s uterine tube
  • Root word: Schisto
    Meaning: Split
    Example: Schisocelia - Congenital fissure of the abdominal wall
  • Root word: Schiz (o)
    Meaning: Split, division
    Example: Schizotonia - Division of the distribution of tone in the muscle
  • Root word: Scler (o)
    Meaning: Hardness, hardening
    Example: Scleroblastema - The embryonic tissue entering into the formation of bone
  • Root word: Scolio
    Meaning; Cooked, bent
    Example: Scoliosis - Condition of abnormal lateral and rotational spine curvature
  • Root word: Scoto
    Meaning: Darkness
    Example: Scotopic - Referring to low illumination in which the eye is dark adapted
  • Root word: Sidero
    Meaning: Iron
    Example: Siderocyte - An erythrocyte containing granules of free iron medicalterminologyrootwordsfirstaidtape
  • Root word: Sito
    Meaning: Food, grain
    Example: Sitosterol - A plant-derived chemical similar to cholesterol, commonly found in wheat germ, soy beans, and corn oil.
  • Root word: Somat (o)
    Meaning: Body
    Example: Somatalgia - Pain in the body
  • Root word: Sono
    Meaning: Sound
    Example: Ultrasonography - containing few or no echoes of sound waves
  • Root word: Spasmo
    Meaning: Spasm
    Example: Spasmogen - A substance causing a smooth muscle to contract
  • Root word: Sphere (o)
    Meaning: Round, spherical
    Example: Sphereocytosis - The presence of sheric RBCs in the blood
  • Root word; Spir (o)
    Meaning: Breath, breathe
    Example: Spiroscope - A device for measuring air capacity in the lungs
  • Root word: Squamo
    Meaning: Scale, squamous
    Example: Squamocellular - Relating to or having squamous epithelium
  • Root word: Staphyl (o)
    Meaning: Grapelike cluster
    Example:Staphylococcus - Common species that is the cause of a variety of infections
  • Root word: Steno
    Meaning: Narrowness
    Example: Stenosis - A narrowing or stricture of any canal or orifice
  • Root word: Stere (o)
    Meaning: Three-dimensional
    Example: Stereology - A study of three-dimensional aspects of a cell or microscopic structure
  • Root word: Strepto
    Meaning: Twisted chains, streptococci
    Example: Streptococcus - A common organism that causes various infections
  • Root word: Styl (o)
    Meaning: Peg-shaped
    Example: Stylomastoid - Relating to the styloid and mastoid processes of the temporal bone
  • Root word: Syring (o)
    Example: Syringe - An instrument used for injecting or withdrawing fluid
  • Root word: Tel (o), tele (o)
    Meaning: Distant, end, complete
    Example: Teletherapy - Radiation treatment administered with the source at a distance from the body
  • Root word: Terato
    Meaning: Monster (as in malformed fetus)
    Example: Teratogen - An agent that causes a malformed fetus
  • Root word: Therm (o)
    Meaning: Heat
    Example: Thermometer - An instrument used to measure temperature
  • Root word: Tono
    Meaning: Tension, pressure
    Example: Tonometry - Measurement of tension ex. Blood pressure
  • Root word: Top (o)
    Meaning: Place, topical
    Example: Topophobia - A neurotic dread of a particular place
  • Root word:Tox (i), toxico, toxo
    Meaning: Poison, toxin
    Example: Toxicoid - Having an action like that of a poison
  • Root word: Tropho
    Meaning: Food, nutrition
    Example: Trophodynamics - The dynamics of nutrition or the metabolism (nutritional energy)
  • Root word: Vivi
    Meaning: Life
    Example: Vivisection - Any cutting operation on a living animal for purposes of experimentation medicalterminologyrootwords
  • Root word: Xanth (o)
    Meaning: Yellow
    Example: Xanthoma - A yellow nodule or plaque
  • Root word: Xeno
    Meaning: Stranger
    Example: Xenograft - A graft transfer from one species to another
  • Root word: Xer (o)
    Meaning: Dry
    Example: Xerochilia - Dryness of the lips
  • Root word: Xiph (o)
    Meaning: Sword, xiphoid
    Example: Xiphopagus - Conjoined twins united in the region of the xiphoid process
  • Root word: Zo (o)
    Meaning: Life
    Example: Zoograft - A graft from an animal to a human
  • Root word: Zym (o)
    Meaning: Fermentation, enzyme
    Example: Zygote - Diploid cell resulting from the union of a sperm and a secondary oocyte

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

Root Words

Root words provide the basic meanings for medical terms. They can be used alone or can be joined with a prefix, a suffix, or both.

Example 1: (A root word with no prefix or suffix.) The root word "plasma" means a semi-liquid form found in cells.

Root Word Reference

In the AMA's CPT book there are 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.

Root Word Example


The root word cardio means heart. The suffix -ology means to study.

The word Cardiology means the study of the heart.

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