EUGENE M. MCCARTHY, PHD
About Prefix Meanings
Prefix Meanings is the prefix search page of Suffix Prefix Dictionary, the one of the most comprehensive online dictionaries of biological and medical suffixes and prefixes. The prefix lists in this dictionary 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 prefix meanings, click on first letter of the prefixe in the table above or search for the prefix by entering it in the box at the top of this 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 bry
ology 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.
Prefix Meanings: a page of Suffix Prefix Dictionary, one of the Internet's most comprehensive lists of biology prefixes.