Medical terminology can sometimes sound like a foreign language all of its own. It is packed with industry-specific jargon, abbreviations and formal words that are not general used in common parlance; however, these very aspects allow people in this industry to communicate more effectively and be more specific. Just like any foreign language, those training in medicine should take the time to properly study and become familiar with medical language.
In addition, they also use prefixes and/or suffixes to add extra meaning to the root word. By studying common words from foreign languages that are used in medical terminology, it can then be easier to approximate the meaning of a new word when we come across it. This can simply be done by breaking down the root and its extensions and working out what the entire word means when each of these parts are combined. The resources below are categorized to indicate online searchable medical dictionaries and other word lists, charts of medical abbreviations, and tables of medical word origins and parts.
Medical Dictionaries and Glossaries
- General Health Resources Dictionary – Use a search tool to look up any words or phrases related to health and medications.
- FreeDictionary Medical Dictionary – Search for medical terms in this online dictionary, browse through related articles, or use helpful tools, such as their dictionary browser plugins for quick searches.
- Harvard Medical Dictionary – Browse this dictionary by letter and read a brief explanation for various important medical terms.
- Medical Encyclopedia and Dictionary – In this extremely useful online resource, public users can research medical terms by letter or symptom, and read related information as well.
- 18th Century Medical Dictionary – An online edition of a 1755 medical dictionary covers words and phrases that were commonly used at that time. This resource is extremely helpful for studying medical texts and practices of the past.
- Hardin Disease Dictionary – Try a unique dictionary that supplies related images and authoritative links or suggested reading resources for further information.
- Merck Manual of Medical Terms – The Merck Manual is famed in medical circles and presents highly authoritative information. In the online edition, users can browse through a list of symptoms or medical specialty, or search for words alphabetically.
Medical Abbreviations and Terminology
- Medical Abbreviations Glossary – Browse through an alphabetical list of common abbreviations used in medical fields, or use one of several quick search tools including drug tables and lab values.
- Medical Terminology Extensions – Learn about the main roots of medical words, as well as prefixes and suffixes to understand new terminology more easily.
- Medical Field and Educational Abbreviations (PDF) – Look through a comprehensive list of abbreviations used in the medical field and also in regards to medical education, training, and certification.
- Medical Documentation Abbreviations (PDF) – Download and print a useful and convenient chart of abbreviations used in documenting medical cases.
- Common Abbreviations in Cardiovascular Medicine (PDF) – This list of medical abbreviations focuses more on cardiovascular terminology that is used for describing a condition, and diagnosing and examining a patient.
Origin of Medical Terms
- Greek and Latin Roots – Browse by medical word roots that are derived from original Latin or Greek words and see how they are applied to medical terms in English.
- Medical Word Origins – Read about common words used in medicine and see how they originally came from other languages such as German, Old English, Latin, and French.
- Latin Origins in Medical Language – This in-depth guide does not only explain what the Latin origins in medical words mean, but it also indicates which abbreviations are used with regards to time, actions, place, amounts, and more.
- Parts of Medical Words – Read an explanation of how medical words can be broken down to separate the word roots, prefixes, and suffixes. This resource also includes a chart to indicate various prefixes and suffixes, their language origins, and how to use them.
- Etymology of Medical Terms – Read a list of common anatomy terms, and find out which language they were derived from. This list shows that many words that are commonly used today come from ancient languages such as Medieval Latin, Old French, Anglo Saxon and even Arabic.
- Greek and Latin Influence on Medical Terminology – Read how Ancient Greek and Latin medicine influenced English terminology for medical phrases centuries later.