Dictionary

Enter a word or phrase below to search our online dictionary of over 1,300 general medical terms, or click on a letter of the alphabet to view all terms beginning with that letter:

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Phrase Definition
eardrum The tympanic membrane that's visible in the ear. It vibrates in response to sound waves.
ecchymosis A collection of blood in the tissues causing a black and blue, or yellow, area.
ECG Electrocardiogram.
eclampsia An attack of convulsions. Particularly used to describe toxemia (toxins in the blood) of pregnancy.
ectopic pregnancy When the fertilized egg is implanted and develops outside of the uterus.
ectropion An outward turning of the eyelid.
eczema A rash characterized by itching, scaling, swelling and oozing. A common allergic reaction.
edema Buildup of excessive fluid around the cells in the body.
EEG Electroencephalogram.
effacement Thinning of the cervix during labor.
effusion Buildup of fluid in a part of the body, particularly a joint.
ejaculation The sudden ejection of semen from the male body. Climax.
EKG Electrocardiogram.
electroconvulsive A type of therapy used to treat severe, unresponsive depression by passing electrical current through the brain.
electrolysis Destruction of tissue through the use of electricity; often used to permanently remove unwanted hair from the body.
electrolytes Compounds that separate into charged particles in water. The main electrolytes in the human body are sodium, potassium, bicarbonate, chloride, magnesium, calcium and phosphate.
elephantiasis A chronic disease characterized by the enlargement of certain parts of the body and by the hardening and ulceration of the surrounding skin. It is often caused by an infestation of a worm called a filarial worm.
embolism The obstruction of a blood vessel by a clot or mass of foreign material.
emesis See vomiting.
emphysema Chronic lung disease characterized by loss of elasticity of lung tissue and resulting in trapped air in the lung.
empyema Buildup of pus in a cavity of the body.
encephalitis A serious infection resulting in inflammation of the brain.
encopresis Fecal incontinence. Inability to hold feces.
endocarditis Inflammation or infection of the inside of the heart, often including the heart valves.
endocrine glands Glands that are ductless and release their secretions directly into the bloodstream.
endometriosis A condition in which cells from the lining of the uterus are found in other locations within the pelvic cavity. This condition frequently causes pelvic pain and menstrual difficulties.
enema 1. Introduction of fluid into the rectum to bring about a bowel movement. 2. The solution introduced into the rectum to bring about a bowel movement.
ENT The medical specialty of the ear, nose and throat.
enteritis An inflammation of the intestines that usually causes cramps and diarrhea.
enuresis Bedwetting.
eosinophil A type of white blood cell that becomes more abundant in the bloodstream in certain parasitic and allergic conditions.
epidemiology The study of the causes and control of diseases in human populations.
epidermis The outermost layer of skin.
epididymis The elongated structure behind each testicle where sperm are stored.
epiglottis The flap of cartilage at the base of the tongue that closes the trachea during swallowing to keep food or liquids from entering the airway.
epilepsy A disorder of the central nervous system that causes convulsions, or seizures.
epinephrine Adrenaline, a hormone produced in the core of the adrenal glands that's sometimes used to treat asthma and allergic reactions.
episiotomy An incision of the perineum (the area between the vagina and anus in women), often performed during labor to minimize trauma to the perineum during the delivery of a baby.
epistaxis Nosebleed.
epithelium The layer of cells covering internal and external surfaces of the body.
erysipelas A febrile (fever-associated) skin infection caused by a group A hemolytic streptococci.
erythema Redness of the skin.
erythema infectiosum A viral infection most common in children that begins with a red, warm rash on the face, along with some paleness around the mouth. Also called Fifth disease.
erythema multiforme An eruption of flat or raised spots of skin as a result of hypersensitivity to certain drugs or allergies.
erythema nodosum The sudden appearance of tender raised nodes on the lower limbs as a result of an infection, hypersensitivity to certain drugs or other conditions.
erythrocyte Red blood cell.
Escherichia coli A type of common bacteria normally found in the colon. Some strains that cause diarrhea are acquired during travel.
esophagitis Inflammation of the esophagus, often caused from a reflux of acid from the stomach.
esophagus The tube through which food passes from the pharynx to the stomach.
estrogen Female sex hormone.
eustachian tube The narrow tube connecting the nose and middle ear to allow air pressure in the middle ear to equalize with the outside environment.
exacerbate Cause something to increase in severity. To make more intense, irritate.
exanthem Skin rash.
excise To remove by cutting.
exocrine glands Glands that secrete chemicals externally, either through a tube or duct.
expectorant A substance that loosens mucus so it's more easily cleared from the respiratory passages.