Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -osis, -otic

Atherosclerosis
Atherosclerosis is a hardening of the arteries. This image shows an artery with cutaway section to reveal deposits of plague narrowing the passage for blood flow, illustrating the condition atherosclerosis. Credit: Science Picture Co/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

Suffix: -osis

Definition:

The suffix (-osis) means to be affected with something or can refer to an increase. It also means a condition, state, abnormal process, or disease.

Examples:

Apoptosis (a-popt-osis) - the process of programmed cell death. This process occurs to remove diseased or damaged cell from the body without causing harm to other cells.

Atherosclerosis (athero-scler-osis) - disease of the arteries characterized by the build up of fatty substances and cholesterol on the artery walls.

Cirrhosis (cirrh-osis) - chronic disease affecting the liver.

Halitosis (halit-osis) - a condition of having bad breath.

Leukocytosis (leuko-cyt-osis) - the condition of having a raised white blood cell count. A leukocyte is a white blood cell. Leukocytosis are commonly caused by an infection, allergic reaction, or inflammation.

Metamorphosis (meta-morph-osis) - a transformation in the physical condition of an organism from an immature state to an adult state.

Osmosis (osm-osis) - spontaneous process of water diffusion across a membrane.

Phagocytosis (phago-cyt-osis) - a process that involves the engulfing of a cell or particle. Macrophages are examples of cells that engulf and destroy foreign substances and cell debris in the body.

Thrombosis (thromb-osis) - a condition that involves the formation of blood clots in blood vessels. The clots are formed from platelets and obstruct blood flow.

Toxoplasmosis (toxoplasm-osis) - a disease caused by the parasite Toxoplasma gondii.

Although commonly seen in domesticated cats, the parasite can be transmitted to humans. It can infect the human brain and influence behavior.

Tuberculosis (tubercul-osis) - an infectious disease of the lungs caused by Mycobacterium tuberculosis bacteria.

Related Suffix: -otic

Definition:

The suffix (-otic) means of or relating to a condition, state, abnormal process, or disease.

It can also mean an increase of a certain kind.

Examples:

Antibiotic (anti-bi-otic) - of or relating to a class of chemicals that are capable of killing bacteria and other microbes.

Aphotic (aph-otic) - of or relating a certain zone in a body of water where photosynthesis does not occur due to the lack of light.

Eukaryotic (eu-kary-otic) - of or relating to cells that are characterized by having a truly defined nucleus.

Mitotic (mit-otic) - related to the cell division process of mitosis.

Narcotic (narc-otic) - of or related to a class of addictive drugs that induce a state of stupor or euphoria.

Neurotic (neur-otic) - related to nerves or a nerve disorder. It can also refer to a number of mental disorders that are characterized by anxiety, phobias, depression, and obsessive compulsive activity (neurosis).

Prokaryotic (pro-kary-otic) - relating to single-celled organisms without a true nucleus. These organisms include bacteria and archaeans.

Symbiotic (sym-bi-otic) - of or relating to relationships where organisms live together (symbiosis). This relationship may be beneficial to only one party or to both parties.

More Biology Terms

For additional information on biology terms and prefixes and suffixes, see: Biology Prefixes and Suffixes, Biology Word Dissections, Understanding Difficult Biology Words, and Glossary of Cell Biology Terms.