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A Thesaurus of Medical Word Roots

A Thesaurus of Medical Word Roots

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Danner (independent scholar) offers a thesaurus that is neither medical dictionary nor textbook on medical terminology; rather, it defines and explains the expansive vocabulary of the profession from the roots of medical terms. The thesaurus lists word roots alphabetically and identifies for each the source language (primarily Greek or Latin), meaning, and words that use the root as an independent, prefixed, leading, or trailing element. Whereas the analysis in William Haubrich's well-regarded Medical Meanings: A Glossary of Word Origins (2nd ed., CH, Oct'97, 35-0667) proceeds from words to roots and offers concise essays, Danner's thesaurus moves from roots to words with glosses and occasional comments. His approach brings together words with common elements to aid in comparison, association, and memorization. The thesaurus would make an excellent companion to Dunmore and Fleischer's Medical Terminology, by C. Walker-Esbaugh, L. H. McCarthy, and R. A. Sparks (3rd ed., 2004), or other textbooks that employ word analysis and etymology to teach vocabulary. For those who love words and want to learn more, browsing the thesaurus is interesting and informative. Included are English-to-root, prefix, and suffix indexes. Summing Up: Recommended. Academic medical libraries and libraries supporting semantic programs; lower-level undergraduates and above, and general readers. ( CHOICE) New medical students, medical practitioners, and students of language will benefit from using this resource for their work. It can also be a source of fun for curious word lovers who will no doubt discover many surprises in the meanings of the roots, prefixes, and suffixes listed in the book. With the help of 17 medical dictionaries, encyclopedias, and several Internet resources, Danner compiled this reference of medical word roots. The presentation is clear and concise. As the author states, 'this thesaurus is designed for a user to refer to when an unknown medical word of mainly Greek or Latin origin is encountered. By seeing other words in the same family, users can better associate, and therefore better remember the meaning of the root.' . . . .This thesaurus would be a valuable addition to large public, community college, science, and medical library reference collections. In addition, medical practitioners would benefit by having a copy in their private offices. ( American Reference Books Annual) A Thesaurus of Medical Word Roots would fill a crucial role in supplying information on word origins for collections that lack an etymological medical dictionary like a Dictionary of Medical Derivations (Casselman, 1998), or Medical Meanings (Haubrich, 1997). Even for collections with such an etymological medical dictionary, A Thesaurus of Medical Word Roots may still be recommended by its exhaustive scope and singular purpose of defining medical word roots and placing them in context. . . .A Thesaurus of Medical Word Roots is recommended for collections supporting students studying to become medical practitioners: doctors, nurses, dentists, veterinarians and medical technicians. It may also find a place in collections for disciplines with clinical or academic interest in medical terminology such as social work, public health, psychology or anthropology. In addition, librarians selecting for general reference should not overlook the utility of this thesaurus for satisfying users seeking information about word origins that are not included in many medical dictionaries. ( Reference Reviews)

Originally from South Alabama, Horace Gerald Danner is a graduate of the University of the Philippines and holds a Ph.D. in educational psychology from American University in Washington, DC. He is the author of The English Tree of Roots (2004) and Discover It! The Ultimate Vocabulary Builder (2011).

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