A Greek Word Root Checklist for Students in the Healthcare Professions

While I work in Lower Manhattan, I live way up in the the North Bronx. So, I have a long commute every day. Whether I take the 2 or the 5 train, I pass by 149th Street and the Grand Concourse in the Bronx. The post office at that intersection has a Ben Shahn Mural in it; across the street is Hostos Community College, named after legendary Puerto Rican educator Eugenia Maria de Hostos and a part of our City’s respected engine of social mobility, The City University of New York, or CUNY.

Often, I will see Hostos students on the train, and I am aware that many of them are nursing students by virtue of the fact that they are wearing scrubs. The other thing that gives them away is their attention to their Greek word root flashcards, or by the fact that pairs of young people are drilling each other on those same Greek word roots. Ever since Hippocrates, and certainly before that, given that ancient Greece is the birthplace of science, philosophy, and the language in which those disciplines are expressed, the language of medicine has been Greek.

So for those of you pursuing careers in health care or the allied professions, here is a list of Greek word roots that form the basis of many words you will use in your professional lives. I hope you find it useful.

If you find typos in this document, I would appreciate a notification. And, as always, if you find this material useful in your practice, I would be grateful to hear what you think of it. I seek your peer review.

2 responses to “A Greek Word Root Checklist for Students in the Healthcare Professions

  1. You’d be surprised (or maybe you wouldn’t) at how very many of these Greek words are still around and mean the same things in modern Greek.


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