Saturday, April 11, 2009

Tomos III: a cut, cutting, slice, section, part of a book

Welcome back, aficionados of classical word origin as it relates to medical terminology, for my third and final discussion concerning the Greek root tomos: a cut, cutting, slice, section. You will recall that last week I began discussing numerous surgical operations/procedures that have their word origins in the Greek root word tomos, a discussion of which began with medical and SAT vocabulary from the Greek root word tomos. The acquisition of specialized medical vocabulary can take years, but a most expeditious way to learn our vast English and medical lexicon (which only gains more and more new words, or neologisms, on a daily basis) is understanding word origin, especially Greek and Latin roots that form the linguistic infrastructure or core of most medical vocabulary, and of most English vocabulary for that matter.
To view a beautiful word tree containing the words of this article and the previous two, please see the Greek root word tomos: a cut, cutting, slice, section, part of a book.
To review from last week's discussion, surgeons often perform operations that involve cutting into (incision) parts of the body, primarily for removal (excision); note that the words "incision" and "excision" from from the Latin root word caedo, caedere, a root which I discussed in a prior Latin root word caedo, caedere, cecidi, caesum post. Note that the suffix -tomy is involved in each of these words, which indicates an incision and/or excision of a designated area of the body (note also that the omnipresent "-ec-" prior to each -tomy comes from the Greek root word ec, ex—out of, from).

anthropotomy: Via the Greek root word anthropos: man or human, this is an anatomical word discussing the dissection of the human body in contradistinction to the anatomy of other animals; anthropos gives us such words as anthropology, anthropomorphic, misanthropist, and philanthropy. Androtomy is a synomyn (via the Greek root word aner, andros—man, husband {ander, andro-, -androus, -andry}, from which root we get such scientific vocabulary words as android, polyandrous, androgynous, and androgen.

salpingectomy: the surgical removal of one or both of the Fallopian tubes; this is also called a tubectomy. The primary root is the Greek noun salpinx, salping-, which means trumpet, since the anatomical structure of the fallopian (or Fallopian) tube itself suggests the shape of a trumpet (interestingly enough the Italian anatomist Gabriele Fallopio gave his name to this part of the female anatomy; an example of an eponym, which are legion in English vocabulary).

hepatectomy: The surgical excision of all of part of the liver, via the Greek root word hepar, hepatos—the liver {hepato-}, which has given the medical lexicon such gems as hepatitis (note that the suffix -itis means disease of or inflammation of), hepatolith (via the Greek root lithos: stone), hepatotoxicity, and hepatoflavin.

lipectomy: often used in plastic surgery, this involves the excision or removal of excess fatty tissue. The Greek word lipos: fat, gives us such words as lipid, lipoma, lipoprotein, and phospholipid. Cf. suction lipectomy.

pleurotomy: incision of the pleura, that serous membrane which envelops mammalian lungs, via the Greek root word pleura (Gr.)—side, rib (word origin of pleurisy, pleuropneumonia, and pleurodont). Also called a thoracotomy (the opening of and incision of the pleural cavity).

adenotomy: incision of or dissection of the glands. Via the Greek root word aden: gland, derivations of which include adenoid, adenovirus, and adenocarcinoma.

rumenotomy: a veterinary surgical procedure, this is the cutting into the rumen, via the Latin root word rumen, ruminis, source of such English vocabulary words as ruminate, ruminant, and rumenocentesis (cf. amniocentesis).

omphalotomy: the cutting of the umbilical cord at parturition. Via the Greek root word omphalos, navel, the English exonym "omphalos" comes from this word, which describes an ancient stone or artifact usually of a religious nature, the most famous of which resides in the Temple of Apollo at Delphi, the position of which is supposed to represent the exact center, or "navel," of the Greek world.

posthetomy: circumcision.

With that, I leave the Greek root word tomos. I shall focus next week of various sorts of pathologies that end in the Greek suffix -itis.

Interested in word origin? In the power of Greek and Latin roots as the core of English vocabulary? Want even more English vocabulary words that come from the Greek and Latin roots for tomos? Or more English vocabulary words that derive from the Greek roots anthropos: human, man or aner, andros, man, husband? How about medical terms from hepar, hepatos, liver, or the legion of words that come from the Greek root lithos, stone, or lipos, fat?
All of the word roots mentioned above are accessible via the etymology site, on which you may view the most comprehensive Greek and Latin roots dictionary available today; a Greek and Latin roots poster is also available, which beautifully illustrates not only the sheer power of Greek and Latin roots as they form the very semantic structure of the English language but also contains a prolific number of GRE and SAT vocabulary words, and includes a vast host of medical vocabulary.  Or, if you're looking to learn vocabulary for the SAT or GRE verbal section, check out, where vocabulary is taught to you via an Adaptive Reinforcement Engine in a fun and engaging way which at the same time enhances your memory.