What is Medical Terminology?


Different professions have different "languages". An example of this is auto maintenance: automobile mechanics use terms to describe the objects and situations they encounter while working, such as "master cylinder" and "oil filter". Comparatively, medical workers use terms to describe the objects and situations encountered in their fields, such as "hepatitis" and "intravenous". The words - or terms - which make up the language of medicine are referred to as the terminology of the medical field, or Medical Terminology.

Like every other language, medical terminology has changed over time. The basis for medical terminology; however, remains the same. The majority of medical terms are based in Latin or Greek. One such medical term is herpes, which is an inflammatory disease affecting the skin. Herpes is based on the word herpo, which is Greek for "creep along". Workers in the medical field chose "herpo"--or herpes--to describe the skin condition because it seems to "creep along" the skin.

Herpes Resource Center

If the above link is not working, try these:

To answer the question from the worksheet go here - Mayo Clinic site.

Pictures of Genital Herpes (Don't go here if you don't want to!)

Derm Net - Lots of infectous diseases effecting the skin - including Herpes. (Don't go here if you don't want to!)

(Note: some of the above links do not work all the time.. IF the links are not in operation, just move on to the next question in your worksheet)

Medical terminology also includes words that consist either entirely or partly of personal names, such as Adam's apple and Strumpell-Marie disease. The term Adam's apple came from the belief that biblical Adam was not able to completely swallow the fruit of the forbidden tree, and so it became lodged in his throat, visible to all (Adam's Apple - scroll down on this site / Kid's Health Adam's Apple) . In 1884, Ernest Strumpell became the first person to completely described the condition now known as ankylosing spondylitis, and so the condition Strumpell-Marie disease was named after him [go to ankylosing spondylitis page].




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