Microbiology Cumulative Root Words With Meanings

Microbiology Cumulative Root Words With Meanings

One of the crucial underpinnings of any discipline is its nomenclature. We have become convinced over the years that mastery of nomenclature is facilitated immeasurably by knowledge of the etymology of the nomenclature. Thus, we emphasize the derivation of the terms used in a discipline we are teaching as a tool to learn its nomenclature.  What follows is a list of some of the crucial word stems used in microbiology along with their meanings.

 In my courses, being able to translate these word stems to their root meanings is one of the major features of  evidence of mastery of the material. Thus, on every test and quiz, there will be word stems which you are to “translate” into the root meanings.  We believe that this knowledge of etymology will not only benefit the learning of this particular discipline, but also serve as a tool for life, allowing at least basic understanding of the meaning of new words never encountered before by identifying and understanding the word stems from which the word is derived.
KEY to topic abbreviations:
Abc antibiotics
Ana prokaryotic anatomy
Dis diseases
Enz enzymes
Epi epidemiology
Flg flagella
Fng fungus
Grm germ theory
Gth bacterial growth
His history of microbiology
Imn immunity
Mtb metabolism
Plt plate count
Pst parasites
Pth pathogenicity
Scp microscope
Str sterile technique
Vir viruses
Please let me know if any of these word stem meanings are in error. I acknowledge that with this volume of word stems, there are almost certainly an occasional error or two.
word root     topic              meaning
acet-              Grm                 vinegar
achromatic    Scp                   without color
acid               Mtb                  sour, sharp
actin-             Fng                   radiate
aden-             Mtb                  gland
aero-              His                   air, oxygen
Ag                 Enz                   silver
agglutin         Vir                    together stick
AIDS             Vir                   Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
alb-                Mtb                 white
-algia             Dis                   pain
aliquot           Plt                     measured subunit
allo-               Enz                   other
amphi-           Flg                    both
an-                 His                   without
ana-               Mtb                  upward
anthrax          Grm                  burning coal
anti-               Grm                  against
apo-               Enz                   detach
arbo-              Vir                    arthropod-borne
aria                His                   air
arthro-           Dis                   joint
asco-              Fng                   sack
-ase                Grm                  enzyme
ATP              Mtb                  adenosine triphosphate
attenuate        Grm                  toward thinness
aureus            Dis                   gold
auto-              Str                    self
axillary          Dis                   armpit
bacillus          His                   rod little
bacter-           His                   rod
basidio-         Fng                   little base, pedestal
bio-                His                   life
blast-             Abc                  immature, bud
-bol-              Mtb                  throw
buccal            Ana                  cheek
campylo-       Dis                   curved
capitis            Fng                   of the head
cata-              Mtb                  downward
cephalo-        Vir                    head
CFU              Plt                     colony forming unit
chemo-          Flg                    transmutation
chlamyd-       Dis                   mantle, cloak
chol-              Grm                  bile
-cide              Mtb                  kill
cis-                Gen                  cut
clappoir         Dis                   brothel
-clave            Str                    break
coccus           His                   grain
coli                Dis                   of the large intestine
coll-               Pth                    glue
con-               Flg                    together
conidia          Fng                   dust
corona           Vir                    crown
CPE               Pth                    cytopathic effects
-crates           His                   power
cruris             Fng                   of the groin
-cule              His                   diminutive
cuvette           Gth                   cup little
cyst-              Abc                  bladder
-cyte              Ana                  cell
de-                 Mtb                  remove from
demos            Grm                  people
dermato-        Fng                   skin
dessicate        Gth                   remove moisture
dextro-           His                   right
di-                  Mtb                  two
dia-                Scp                   through, across
dino-              Pst                    whirlpool
diplo-             Ana                  double
dis-                His                   reverse, undo
-drome           Epi                   run
dys-               Grm                  faulty
ECHO           Vir                    enteric cytopathogenic human orphan
edema            Dis                   swelling
-egar              His                   sour
-egre              Mtb                  sour
-ella               Flg                    diminutive
EMB             Gth                   Eosin Methylene Blue
-emia             Grm                  blood
en-                 Enz                   inside
endo-             Ana                  inner
enter-             Grm                  intestines
enzyme          Mtb                  inside yeast
epi-                Grm                  upon
EPS               Ana                  Extracellular Polymeric Substance
erythro-         Fng                   red
esthet-           Grm                  feeling
etio-               His                   cause
EtOH             Str                    ethyl alcohol
eu-                 Dis                   true, well
ex-                 Gen                  from
extra-             Ana                  outside
FAD              Mtb                  flavin adenine dinucleotide
fil-                 Fng                   hair
flag-               Flg                    beat, whip
flora               His                   plants
flu                  Pst                    flow
fract-             Scp                   break
fructo-           Mtb                  fruit
fusion            Scp                   melt, pour
galact-           Mtb                  milk
-genic            His                   produce
GI                  Dis                   gastrointestinal
glob-              Imn                   ball
glut-               Imn                   stick, adhere
glyc-              Ana                  sugar
-gnomic         Vir                    know
gono-             Gen                  offspring, genitals
-gram             Ana                  picture
GU                Dis                   genitourinary
H+                 Str                    acid
hal-                Grm                  salt
hapt-              Imn                   attach
HCG              Imn                   human chorionic gonadotropin
hemo-            Fng                   blood
Hemophilus   Dis                   blood loves
hepat-            Abc                  liver
herpes            Vir                    creep, crawl
hex-               Mtb                  six
HFR              Gen                  high frequency recombinant
Hg                 Grm                  mercury
hippo-            His                   horse
histo-             Ana                  tissueor story
HIV               Vir                    human immunodeficiency virus
holo-              Enz                   entire
homeo-          Pth                    same
HTST            Grm                  High Temperature Short Time
humor            His                   bodily fluid
hydro-           Str                    water
hygro-           Str                    moisture
hypha            Fng                   thread
iatro-             His                   doctor
idio-               His                   unknown
in vitro          Grm                  in glass
in vivo           Grm                  in life
in-                  Ana                  within
-ine                Mtb                  nitrogen containing
inguinal         Dis                   groin
inter-             Scp                   between
intra-             Dis                   within
iris                 Scp                   rainbow
iso-                Mtb                  same
-itis                Grm                  inflamation
juga-              Flg                    join
karyo-            Ana                  nucleus
kerat-             Epi                   horn
-kine              Imn                   activate, move
lact-               Gth                   milk
lactis              Plt                     milk
LD50             Pth                    lethal dose 50%
lepto-             Dis                   weak, fine
leuk-              Gen                  white
levo-              His                   left
lig-                 Ana                  tie
lip-                 Ana                  fat
-logy              His                   science, study, word
lopho-            Ana                  tuft
LPS               Ana                  lipopolysaccharide
lys-                Gth                   break, loosen
lysis               Enz                   break, process
macro-           Grm                  large
mal-               His                   bad
mastigo-        Pst                    whip
media            Dis                   medium
megaly          Pth                    large
melan-           His                   black
meninx          Dis                   membrane
meniscus       Plt                     moonlittle
-mer               Mtb                  unit
meta-             Mtb                  change, behind, later, beyond
miasma          His                   foul odor
micro-           His                   tiny,1/1,000,000
milli-             Scp                   1/1000
MMWR         Epi                   Mortality Morbidity Weekly Report
mnem-           Vir                    memory
-monas          Dis                   simple organism
mono-            Ana                  single
morbidity      Epi                   sickness
morph-          His                   change
mort-             His                   death
muco-            Ana                  slime
mumps          Vir                    grimace
mur-              Ana                  mouse
muta-             Gen                  change
my-                Dis                   muscle
myco-            Grm                  fungus
myxo-            Vir                    slime
NAD             Mtb                  nicotine adenine dinucleotide
nadir              His                   lowest point
NAG             Ana                  N acetylglucoseamine
NAM             Grm                  N acetylmuramic acid
nano-             Scp                   nine
necro-            Fng                   dead
-nema            Ana                  thread
nephri-           Dis                   kidney
NGU             Dis                   non-gonococcal urethritis
nigri-             Fng                   black
noc-               Ana                  poison
-nomy            Dis                   rule
nosocomial    His                   one who cares for the sick, work [hospital acquired]
nox-               Ana                  poison
ocul-              Scp                   eye
-oid                Flg                    like
-ol                  Gth                   alcohol
omnis            His                   all
ornitho-         Dis                   bird
ortho-            Vir                    straight
-ose               Mtb                  sugar
oto-                Dis                   ear
pallid             Flg                    faint
para-              Vir                    alongside
parenteral      Pth                    alongside intestine
pathos            His                   suffer, disease
pedis              Fng                   of the foot
penta-            Flg                    five
peps-             Grm                  digest
per-                Pth                    throughout
peri-               Ana                  around
phago-           Grm                  eat
pharynx         Dis                   throat
-philic            Str                    like
phlegm          His                   watery
-phobic          Str                    fear, hate
-phore            Pst                    to bear
-phragm         Scp                   membrane
-phtheria        Fng                   membrane
-phylaxis       Imn                   protect
-phytic           Fng                   plant
pico-              Scp                   tiny
pilus              Ana                  hair
placebo          Epi                   I will please
plast-             Ana                  form, shape
pleio              Ana                  many
pneumo-        Dis                   air
poie-              Abc                  to form
poly-              Ana                  many
portal             Epi                   gateway
pox                Grm                  mark, scar
PPNG            Dis                   penicillinase producing Neisseria gonorrhea
pro-               Ana                  first
pruritis           Dis                   itch inflamation
pseudo-         Dis                   false
psittaci           Dis                   parrot
psychro-        Mtb                  cold
ptom-             Fng                   fall
puerperal       His                   childbed
purul-            Dis                   pusy
-pus               Fng                   foot
putri-             His                   rotten
pyo-               Grm                  pus
pyogenes       Grm                  pus producing
pyr-               Mtb                  fire
q.s.                 Str                    quantum sufficit
retro-             Vir                    backward
rhabdo-          Vir                    stick, rod
rheo-              Scp                   flow
rheum-           Fng                   watery
rhino-            Vir                    nose
rhizo-             Dis                   root
RTF               Gen                  resistance transfer factor
Rubella          Vir                    red little
rxn                 Ana                  reaction
sacchar-         Ana                  sugar
sangui-          Grm                  blood
sapro-            Fng                   rotten
sarco-            Pst                    flesh
schiz-             Pst                    split
scope             His                   examine
-scopic           Str                    examine
-script            Gen                  write
septic             His                   rotten
septum           Gen                  partition
serum            Imn                   whey
spect-             Epi                   view
sphero-          Ana                  round
spir-               Mtb                  breath
spirillum        His                   coil little
squam-          Grm                  scale
staphyllo-      Grm                  bunch of grapes
-stat               Scp                   hold
STD              Dis                   sexually transmitted disease
-steric            Enz                   place
-strate            Enz                   layer
stratum          Enz                   layer
strepto-          Grm                  pliant
sub-               Enz                   under
sym-              Epi                   together, same
taxis               Flg                    move
terato-            Abc                  monster
tetra-              Flg                    four
thermo-         Mtb                  heat
thio-               Grm                  sulfur
tinea              Fng                   worm, moth
-tion               Grm                  process, condition
toga               Vir                    cloak
-tomes           Pst                    cut
TORCH        Vir                    Toxoplasma, other, rubella, cytomegalovirus, herpes
tox-                Ana                  poison
trachoma       Dis                   rough tumor
trans-             Gen                  across
trepo-             Ana                  bore
trich-             Flg                    hair
-trophic         Gen                  nourish
tubercle         Fng                   lump little
turbid             His                   muddy
-tussis            Dis                   cough
typhi-             Dis                   storm
ubiquitous     Ana                  everywhere
ultra-             Gen                  beyond
vache             Grm                  cow
venereal         Dis                   goddess of love
Vibrio            Dis                   shake
vin-                His                   wine
vinegar          Grm                  wine sour
vint-               His                   vineyard
vir-                Grm                  poison
visco-            Flg                    sticky
vulgaris         Ana                  common
xyls               His                   crystals
zygo-             Fng                   join
-zym-             His                   yeast

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