Oh! Those Sixties: Confronting the Turmoil and Moving on
The Greek physician, Hippocrates, who lived from 460 to 377 B.C., is credited with the development and use of medical terminology. The Romans adopted Greek medicine and terminology by the Third Century B.C. and for convenience, often gave the words Latin spellings.
During the Renaissance, both Latin and Greek received new importance, as these became the medium of accurate transfer of the increasing intellectual inquiry and discoveries. They provided a convenient, proven, and ready method of constructing medical words that could be used and understood by physicians and scientists throughout Europe and other parts of the world. Over seventy-five percent of the scientific words commonly used today are of these ancient languages. The balance came from later translations of Arabic, German, and French, which are not included in this text, since they tend to stand alone and are unique.
Current medical terminology is one accepted as the standard for communicating medical information and is used by health care professionals the world over. Since ancient Greek and Latin are deemed "dead" languages, the meanings of their elements (prefixes, roots, and suffixes) have not changed' over the centuries. In addition the rules of combining them that evolved also stood the test of time. Thus, medical terms formed from their combination are logical and precise, leading to their universal acceptance and use.
This book is not a mere compendium of medical terms used. Rather, it constitutes a compilation of the most used elements (prefixes, root words, suffixes), along with their English meanings. It also explains how to properly combine these elements in such a way as to describe or denote a medical object, condition, or state.