Medical Terminology: Adjectives Medical terminology adjectives are based on the same root words as nouns and can take one of several endings. For now, we will concentrate on those that end in –al, and -ic. 1. -al is a very common suffix in medical terminology. Adjectives corresponding to nouns that end with –um or -ium usually end with –al and so do many nouns that end with –a. Noun Myocardium Endometrium Rectum Ileum Meaning The heart muscle Lining of the uterus Last part of the large intestine Part of the small intestine Adjective Myocardial Endometrial Rectal Ileal Example of use Myocardial infarction Endometrial biopsy Rectal thermometer Ileal valve 2. –ic is another common ending and is found in adjectives that correspond to nouns that end with any of the following suffixes Suffix - itis - pathy - plegia - pnea - rrhea - rrhagia - scopy - sclerosis - stasis -trophy Meaning Inflammation Disease/damage Paralysis Breath Flow Fast flow Visual exam Adjectives - itic - pathic - plegic - pneic - rrheic - rrhagic - scopic Example of use Arthritic joints Neuropathic symptoms Paraplegic Tachypneic Amenorrheic Hemorrhagic fever Endoscopic examination Sclerotic lesions Oncostatic Atrophic Hardening - Sclerotic Control/stop - static Growth/nourishment - trophic 3) Many root words and organ names take –ic or –al adjective endings as well Root Cephal Cyst Enter Hepat Pneumon Splen Ped Digit Derm Neur Organ/body part Head Bladder/sac Intestines Liver Lung Spleen Foot Finger Skin Nerve Adjective Cephalic Cysctic Enteric Hepatic Pneumonic Splenic Pedal Digital Dermal Neural Example of Use Mesenteric vessels Cystic fibrosis Mesenteric arteriography Hepatic duct Pneumonic plague Splenic enlargement Pedal edema Digital rectal examination Transdermal delivery system Neural tube defect Note: ‘dermal’ means ‘of the skin, but some adjective containing the root ‘-derm’ end in ‘-ic’, as in hypodermic, which means ‘under the skin’. 4) There are several other adjective endings, such as: Noun ending -cle/cule -ula -ynx -illa Example Clavicle Scapula Larynx Axilla Adjective Clavicular Scapular Laryngeal Axillary Visit the class website for medical terminology vocabulary exercises and activities.
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