Entry. All the information about a word in the dictionary is called an entry. An
entry contains a variety of information and may include all or part of the following
Entry word. The entry word is printed in dark type and is sometimes
divided into syllables.
Pronunciation. The pronunciation is given in parentheses following the
entry word. Different dictionaries use different pronunciation and accent symbols. The
introduction portion of each dictionary will provide a key to the symbols.
Plural forms. Frequently, the plural of a medical word is irregularly
formed or has alternate plurals. Many medical dictionaries will list these plurals.
Etymology. Etymology is the tracing of a word back to its origins.
Information on the origin of the word generally appears in square brackets. Most medical
words originated in Greek or Latin or a combination thereof.
Definition. Following the origin, you will find the definition or definitions
of the term.
Synonyms. SYN after the definition indicates synonyms. These are
words which have a similar meaning to the entry word.
Derived words. Following the SYN, often there is a group of additional
words printed in bold type. These words are closely related or derived from the entry
Cross reference. For additional information on the term or entry: "See"
or "See also," followed by an italicized word, is used.
Introductory Section to a Medical Dictionary:
All dictionaries contain an introductory section which provides information on "how to
use" the dictionary. The arrangement of this introduction varies but most medical
dictionaries will address the following:
Organization or Arrangement of Entries. This unit addresses how main entries are
made, the sequence of entries, and the use of punctuation and capitalization in entries and
Pronunciation. This unit provides assistance in pronouncing the word: the diacritical
markings (stress marks, long and short vowels, etc.) along with examples of common
words to illustrate sounds.
Etymology. A section on the abbreviations used to identify the language of origin
along with an explanation of the composition of medical vocabulary is generally included in