A prefix dictionary for biology and medicine
EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD GENETICS
About Biology Prefixes
Biology Prefixes is a prefix dictionary, a subsection of Suffix Prefix Dictionary, the most comprehensive online dictionary of biological and medical suffixes and prefixes. The prefix lists accessed from the links on this page provide definitions, examples, and etymologies for a wide variety of prefixes used in biology and medicine (on a separate page there is also a full list of prefixes defined in the dictionary which links all of the prefixes to their individual definitions). Many of the examples are cross-linked to their definitions in the biology dictionary on this website. To find the meaning of a prefix, click on its first letter below (you can also search the prefix dictionary from the Prefix Dictionary Search Page).
What is a Prefix?
A prefix is a letter or series of letters attached to the beginning of a word, word base, or suffix to produce a derivative word with a new meaning. There are many prefixes used by biologists in constructing scientific names and terminology. In general, they are either of Latin or Greek derivation. For example, in the word telophase, the prefix telo-, indicating end or conclusion, is attached to the beginning of the word phase. So telophase is the name of the last phase of meiosis and mitosis. As another example, the prefix bry- refers to moss, so bryology is the study of mosses.
Proper Names Used as Prefixes
In biology prefixes are often based on geographic and personal names. Examples of geographic prefixes are altaicus (= residing in the Altai Mountains of Central Asia), europaeus (= European), anatoliensis (= occurring in Anatolia). An example of a personal name used as a prefix is rogersii (= of Rogers). It would be pointless to include in this dictionary all of the proper names used as prefixes in the construction of scientific names, but users should consider this possibility when they fail to find a prefix in the dictionary.
Biology Prefixes: the Internet's most comprehensive list of biology prefixes.