-nym’s can be confusing.

That is not a spelling error or a typo. Words ending in -nym are used to describe different classes of words and the relationship between words. The –nym literally means name.  In medicine we have numerous examples of all types of –nyms, and since interpreting what your medical professional is saying is of great importance to you, I will give you a few examples.

We have a number of acronyms or abbreviation formed from the initial letters of words such as MRI (Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and AMI (Acute Myocardial Infarction).

We use a lot of Antonyms such as dangerous drugs and safe drugs.

Autoantonyms (words that can take two opposite meanings) are often used when looking at messages.  “The doctor scanned your message” (examined closely or glanced at hastily).

Heteronyms are words that have the same spelling, but are pronounced differently and have different meanings.  “That mole was so minute, it took me a minute before I found it”.

A homonym consists of one or more words that have the same pronunciation but different meaning.  “Mrs. Jones – you are not being vain worrying about that vein”.

A tautonym is a word composed of two identical parts such as “sugar is a no-no” or now that this short article intended to help you decipher medical lingo is over – bye-bye.

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