Keywords: medical terminology, origin, etymology, Greek terms, Latin terms, termformation, internationa


The article is dedicated to the description of the origins of medical terminology. A brief historical note on the earliest written sources that have come down to us starting with Egyptian medical treatises written in hieroglyphs on papyrus is given. The contribution to the development of medical terminology of such great scientists and philosophers of antiquity as Alcmaeon of Croton, Homer, Aristotle, Hippocrates and the followers of his school, the Hippocratics, is considered. The Hippocratics were the first to describe diseases based on observation, and the names given by them to many conditions are still used today. The etymology of the terms introduced by these scientists is given in the article. With the Hellenistic era the names of Herophilus, Erisistratatus are associated. The emergence of the Alexandria Medical school predetermined the development of Medicine for many centuries to come. The article also highlights the processes of term formation that took place in Latin from the 2nd century BC, namely, the borrowing of Greek terms with their subsequent latinization. The mutual influence of Greek and Latin in the process of term formation is considered. The names of Lucretius Kara, Hippocrates, Celsus, Rufus of Ephesus are associated with the Roman period in the history of medical terminology. Throughout the subsequent development of medical science, medical terms of Greek-Latin etymology penetrated into the term systems of national languages, assimilating into them and turning into internationalisms.


1. Zabludovskij P.E., Kryuchok G.R., Kuzmin M.K., Levit M.M. (1981) Istoriya mediсini [History of Medicine]. Moscow: Mediсina, 352 p.
2. Zakalyuzhnij M.M., Andreichin M.F. (1993) Posibnik z anatomichnoj i klinichnoj terminologii [Manual on anatomical and clinical terminology]. Kyiv: Zdorov’ya, 224 p.
3. Yu.F.Shulc (2012) Medicina v pam’yatnikakh latinskoj I grecheskoj literatury / Teksti I kommentarii. [Medicine in the monuments of the Latin and Greek literature/ Texts and commentaries]. Moscow, 271 p.
4. Multanovskij M.P. (1967) Istorija medicini. [History of Medicine]. Moscow: Medicina, 345 p.
5. Tronskiy I.M. (2014) Voprosi yazikovogo razvitija v antichnom obtscestve. [Questions of language development in Ancient society]. Moscow: Lobrokon, 207 p.
6. Cels Avl Kornellij (1959). O medicine. Perevod s Latinskogo. / Pod redakciej V.N.Ternovskogo I Yu.F.Shulca. [About Medicine. Translation from Latin]. M.: Prosveschenie. 407 с.
7. Chernyavskij M.N. (1997) Latinskij yazik I osnovy meditsinskoy terminologii. [The Latin language and basics of medical terminology]. Moscow: Medicina, 336 p.
8. Chikin S.Ya. (1990). Vrachi-filosophi [Doctors-philosophers]. Мoscow: Medicina, 383 p.
9. Encyklopedicheskij slovar medicinskikh terminov: v 3-kh tomakh. /Gl. redaktor B.V. Petrovskij.(1982) [Encyclopedia of medical terms in three volumes]. Moscow: Medicina.
10. Dorland’s illustrated medical dictionary. /Ed 28. London, W.B. Saunders Comp., 1994. – 1940 p.

Abstract views: 32
PDF Downloads: 21
How to Cite
Vit, Y. (2023). THE ORIGINS OF MEDICAL TERMINOLOGY. Scientific Journal of Polonia University, 55(6), 102-108.