Gain a better understanding of medical terminology by searching our dictionary of more than 1,300 terms.

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  • Abdomen

    The part of the body between the chest and pelvis.

  • Abortion

    1. Induced abortion is a procedure done to end pregnancy. 2. Spontaneous abortion is a naturally occurring abortion (also called miscarriage). 3. Therapeutic abortion is an induced abortion required to save the life or health of the mother.

  • Abrasion

    A wound caused by scraping the skin. A "skinned knee" is a common example.

  • abscess

    A swollen, inflamed area where pus gathers.

  • Absorption

    To take in substances through the skin or mucous membranes.

  • Abstinence

    To hold back or restrain. For example, to refrain from the use of drugs or alcohol, or from having sexual intercourse.

  • Acclimation

    The process of getting used to a new climate or altitude.

  • Achilles' tendon

    The strong tendon at the back of the ankle that attaches the calf muscle to the heel.

  • Acidosis

    An abnormal condition in the body in which excessive acid lowers the pH of the blood and body tissues.

  • Acne

    A skin disorder usually found in adolescents and young adults.

  • Acoustic

    Having to do with sound and hearing.

  • Acromegaly

    A condition that occurs when the pituitary gland produces too much growth hormone. In adults, this can cause overgrowth of bones that occurs in smaller bones, such as those in the jaw, hands and feet. In children or teenagers, this can cause giantism.

  • actinic keratosis

    Scaly, pink, gray or tan patches or bumps on the face or scalp, or on the back of the hands. Occur mostly on people who have light skin that has been damaged by the sun.

  • acupuncture

    An ancient Chinese method to relieve pain or treat disease by inserting needles into various parts of the body.

  • Acute

    1. Of short course. 2. Severe, but of a short duration. Not chronic.

  • Addiction

    Strong dependence or habitual use of a substance or practice, despite the negative consequences of its use.

  • Addison's disease

    An ailment characterized by underfunctioning of the adrenal glands. Characterized by anemia, weakness, low blood pressure and brownish discoloration of the skin.

  • adenitis

    Swelling of a gland.

  • adenoids

    Glandular tissue in the back of the throat that may swell, especially during childhood, obstruct breathing and speaking, and lead to ear infections.

  • adenoma

    A noncancerous tumor of glandular tissue.

  • adenovirus

    One of the viruses that cause the common cold.