Medical Definition of Para- (prefix)

  • Medical Author:
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

Para- (prefix): A prefix with many meanings, including: alongside of, beside, near, resembling, beyond, apart from, and abnormal.

For example, the parathyroid glands are called "para-thyroid" because they are adjacent to the thyroid. For another example, paraumbilical means alongside the umbilicus (the belly button).

The prefix "para-" comes straight from the Greek.

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Reviewed on 12/27/2018

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