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variant of -emia after p, t, k: leucocythemia.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does -hemia mean?

The combining form -hemia is used like a suffix to denote an abnormal blood condition, especially the presence of a certain kind of substance in the blood that causes disease. It is used in many medical terms, especially in pathology.

The form -hemia ultimately comes from the Greek haîma, meaning “blood.” The form -hemia is a variant of –emia combined words or word elements ending with -p, -t, or -k.

Want to know more? Read our Words That Use –emia article.

The spelling haemia, as in polycythaemia, is a chiefly British English variant of -hemia.

The Greek root haîma is the same Greek root that gives us the combining form hemo- meaning “blood,” as in hemoblast. Variants of hemo- (and closely related to -hemia) are haem-, haema-, haemo-, haemat-, haemato-, hem-, hema-, hemat-, and hemato-. Learn more about their specific applications at our Words That Use articles for the forms.

Examples of -hemia

One example of a medical term that features the combining form -hemia is erythrocythemia, “a condition characterized by an abnormal increase in the number of red blood cells in the blood.”

The first part of the word, erythrocyt- refers to “red blood cells” (it’s based on the combining forms erythro- and -cyte). The second part of the word, -hemia, denotes an abnormal blood condition, as we know. Erythrocythemia has a literal sense of “a blood condition concerning red blood cells.”

What are some words that use the combining form -hemia?

What are some other forms that -hemia may be commonly confused with?

Other words may end in the letters -hemia, such as aphemia and Bohemia, but are not using it as a combining form to denote a blood condition. Learn their meanings and origins at our entries for the words.

Break it down!

A thrombocyte is also known as a platelet, a type of blood cell that is important for clotting blood.

Based on the meaning of thrombocyte and -hemia, what does the medical condition thrombocythemia involve?

British Dictionary definitions for -hemia


n combining form
US variant of -aemia
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012