Understanding Prefixes and Suffixes?

  1. Does anyone have any advice or websites, anything, to help with learning and understanding medical prefixes and suffixes? I have a big test coming up on it, and I am just lost.

    Some of the easier ones, I understand. And I understand the basic rules, such as there won't always be a prefix, but there's always a suffix.

    I just get confused. Here's an example of one I'm confused on.


    Tachy --> prefix
    cardi --> root

    what's the a? Can "a" be a suffix? I didn't think it could, but there must be a suffix there.

    I'm confused on things like that. I'm also confused on keeping prefixes and root words in order. I almost kept thinking Tachy was a root, until I had to remember that it EXPLAINED the root word.

    Any help keeping all this in order and getting a better understanding? Thanks!
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    About x_factor

    Joined: Jun '11; Posts: 528; Likes: 324


  3. by   gemini_girl
  4. by   nurseprnRN
    the "a" in cardi-a is from the latin and it just indicates that it's a noun, basically.

    the suffixes you are more likely to need to know are things like the difference between "'osis," condition of (as in, diverticulosis, having diverticuli,) and -itis (as in diverticulitis, inflammation of the diverticuli). individual single letters are unlikely to be significant in that way.

    adjectives, like tachy- or brady- or hyper- or hypo-, or epi- or endo-, describe the noun/root. they are most often before the root. but words in medical terminology come from many languages, and so those languages' rules influence how they are used today. for example, diabetes mellitus comes from the greek. ( μέλι (meli), honey.)

    "word history: diabetes is named for one of its distressing symptoms. the disease was known to the greeks as diabts, a word derived from the verb diabainein, made up of the prefix dia-, "across, apart," and the word bainein, "to walk, stand." the verb diabeinein meant "to stride, walk, or stand with legs asunder"; hence, its derivative diabts meant "one that straddles," or specifically "a compass, siphon." the sense "siphon" gave rise to the use of diabts as the name for a disease involving the discharge of excessive amounts of urine. diabetes is first recorded in english, in the form diabete, in a medical text written around 1425."

    if it had been first described by a latin-speaking physician we would probably call it something like dulciurinosis, lol.